Friday, 23 November 2007 10:09 AM

Home Grown Ice-cream - Taste the Difference

Solomon Islands could soon be producing delicious tasting ice-cream with real homegrown vanilla.

A RAMSI workshop held this week for vanilla buyers and processors showed how to take vanilla out of vanilla beans.

Local ice-cream manufacturer, Frangipani Ice, then tested the vanilla extract in its own ice-cream - with delicious results.

Frangipani Ice owner, Teae Bartlett, said the premium quality ice-cream had great potential for people wanting to get the real taste of Solomon Islands.

Vanilla is not new to the Solomon Islands. It was imported from Hawaii in 1965 but never grown commercially. Government, farmers, exporters and experts have now joined forces to develop a high quality vanilla export industry in Solomon Islands with the support of RAMSI.

RAMSI Development Coordinator, Paul Kelly, says RAMSI understands the need to support economic growth across the Solomon Islands to improve people's livelihoods.

"The vanilla project is supporting economic growth in Solomon Islands by giving people the skills to produce, process and sell high value agricultural produce such as vanilla," Mr Kelly said.

Vanuatu vanilla expert, Piero Bianchessi, said it is important that the project trains buyers and exporters about vanilla quality and processing.

"The main idea is to strongly link the farmers with the curers, the buyers and the processors, to make sure all the vanilla produced can be used. This is the best way for the whole vanilla industry to come up strong is by sharing knowledge and working together", Mr Bianchessi said.

Other workshop activities were the preparation of vanilla powder, and a demonstration of attractive packaging for local market retail sales.