We often receive questions about how to use our cacao extract because it seems like it does the same thing as cocoa powder. But it doesn’t! It can be used to lightly flavour other recipes or enhance already chocolate recipes! It is great to add to chocolate cakes, brownies, chocolate drinks and other chocolatey foods! You can really tell the difference between a plain chocolate recipe and an Epicurious Hedgehog Cacao Extract recipe!

Here at the Natural Extracts Industries Ltd office, we decided this was a very important science experiment that needed to be conducted. We sacrificed part of our day to eat warm, chocolatey brownies, all for you!

We had 3 types of brownies to try:

  • A basic brownie recipe with Epicurious Hedgehog Vanilla Extract
  • Brownies with Epicurious Hedgehog Vanilla Extract and Orange Extract
  • Brownies with Epicurious Hedgehog Vanilla Extract and Cacao Extract

The basic brownie recipe was, of course, delicious! The vanilla extract is necessary to round out the chocolate, add a naturally sweet flavour and cover any possible “eggy” flavours that you wouldn’t want in a dessert.

The brownies with orange extract were very unique! The vanilla extract is there for the same purposes as before and to help cut the bitterness that citrus can cause. The orange extract resulted in a bright flavour that pleasantly surprised us in our blind taste test! If you are a fan of chocolate and orange pairings, then you definitely need to try adding 1/2 teaspoon of Epicurious Hedgehog Orange Extract to your next batch of brownies.

The last brownie was unanimously voted as the office’s favourite brownie in the blind taste test. In this brownie, the vanilla was once again there for the same purposes, but the Epicurious Cocoa Extract took the brownie to a whole new level of deliciousness! The cacao extract made the chocolate flavour extra strong and gave it a rich, dark flavour!

This is a must try in your next batch of brownies or any other chocolate recipe!

Check out our website, to learn where you can pick up Epicurious Hedgehog Extracts.

Announcing the NEI Scholarship Winner!

Natural Extracts Industries, Ltd is proud to announce the recipient of our scholarship prize this year. Mama Lwise Ndosa is a 62-year-old farmer of Uswaa village in Machame just east of the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania. Mama Ndosa who is part of our farmer network was our top producing farmer in the last harvest.

NEI’s commitment to its farmers means the company invests in and contributes to improving the lives of farmers in our network. By awarding a scholarship to a dependent of the most successful vanilla farmer we believe we can empower the next generation with additional skills. The scholarship provides a schoolgirl of the best farmer a 1-year scholarship to primary or secondary education. Being a grandparent with no school aged children, Mama Ndosa has chosen to support a child of her late sister through this program.

In the picture above, Mama Lwise Ndosa’s local Farmer Champion accepts her prize for her at a NEI meeting.

It was her husband who first registered with NEI, having grown vanilla since 2011. However, he stopped tending to the vines and Mama Ndosa took over from him having seen the benefits of vanilla farming. Mama Ndosa is committed to NEI because of the support of the Farmer Champions, subsidised vanilla vines and continuous training in vanilla husbandry. 

Her successful harvest of last year means she feels motivated to carry on and expects another great harvest this year, despite the drought in the region. We will be watching to see if she can match her harvest last year and win another scholarship!

Watch this video of Mama Ndosa talking about her experience selling her vanilla to NEI: