The black wrinkled seeds of Brazilian teak trees, Tonka beans have a haunting flavour described as a mix of vanilla, almond, clove, cinnamon, and amaretto, but are also reminiscent of the smell of sweetgrass. Something of an obsession in France, and frequently used as an ingredient in fragrances, tonka beans are used to infuse cocktail syrups, pastries, ice creams and custards, but can also add a subtle and interesting note to seafood dishes.
Tonka beans are currently banned in the United States, because one the bean's natural compounds, coumarin, is considered to have potential health risks when consumed in large quantities. This has made them a rare and sought-after ingredient for those in the culinary know. Despite this, the allure of tonka beans remains undiminished for chefs and food enthusiasts seeking to explore and push the boundaries of flavour.
Grate the bean as you would a whole nutmeg, and start small - a little bit goes a long way. 60 g jar