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Vanilla syrup is a sweet-tasting liquid that is created using sugar and boiling water. All syrups are made using the same basic process. The flavor of a syrup is what gives each type of syrup a distinct taste. The vanilla flavor used in syrup comes from orchid plants, which produce pods containing vanilla beans. Food scientists extract the vanilla flavor from the plant so that vanilla-flavored syrup can be created and enjoyed.
Dessert and sweet aficionados might take a liking to vanilla syrup. Vanilla syrup is sold in grocery stores in bottles, usually next to the chocolate and strawberry syrup. People who are not big fans of chocolate might choose to pour vanilla syrup on top of ice cream or use the substance to add flavor to a glass of milk.
Coffee shops use vanilla sugar syrup to provide customers with flavored hot and cold beverages. Many of these specialty drinks are not made with vanilla-flavored coffee beans but rather by adding squirts of syrup into already brewed cups of coffee. Vanilla lovers can purchase their own pump of vanilla sugar syrup to enjoy flavored cappuccinos at home.
In the 1950s, many soda shops offered patrons vanilla cola. Soda shop employees would pour a shot glass full of vanilla syrup directly into the glass of cola to create this drink. In the early 21st century, some novelty restaurants still offered this type of beverage. It is more common, however, to find modern vanilla-flavored cola in a bottle or can.
Vanilla extract is used by bakers to make cakes and other sweets. The extract is less powerful than vanilla syrup, allowing bakers to give their desserts a hint of flavor. One popular treat to make with vanilla extract is vanilla cheesecake. The right amount of extract gives this dessert a mild vanilla flavor without taking away from the classic cheesecake taste. Vanilla extract should be kept in a cabinet and should never be refrigerated.
Although chocolate is considered tasty by many people, it is very acidic. People who have bad acid reflux or individuals who have bladder conditions such as interstitial cystitis might be advised by a doctor to eliminate chocolate from their diet. Vanilla, on the other hand, is good for the digestive system, is a natural inflammation reducer and is not harmful to the bladder. People who have any of a variety of medical conditions can turn to vanilla when they want to indulge their sweet tooth without breaking the doctor's orders.
A majority of plants containing vanilla grow in tropical climates. Mexico, Tahiti and Fiji are all known for growing vanilla. As of 2011, the island nation of Madagascar led the world in vanilla production.