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Thursday, September 18, 2014

LAFAZA All-Natural Vanilla Sugar Highly Recommended by Whom You Know

Rave reviews for Lafaza Vanilla Sugar. I just knew it would be delicious from the moment I removed the cap and smelled the delicious, rich vanilla aroma. I sprinkled it on my Greek yogurt and wow! The yogurt popped with delicious vanilla flavoring. The texture of this sugar is smooth, not grainy. The fresh vanilla bean specks are visible. This product pleases the palate, eyes and nose. The flavor is robust enough so that it does not get lost in my morning coffee. Lafaza’s unique gourmet taste is due to the infusing Organic Cane Sugar with gourmet Vanilla Beans and Pure Ground Vanilla Powder. This is a true taste sensation!
How many of you have been wondering about this ingredient in all of your French cookbooks? Not so well known in the US, vanilla sugar is a commodity usually smuggled back in my suitcase on trips to Europe. It seems such a simple thing. But it’s a delightful ingredient in baking that will change your level of taste and bring your cooking up several notches. Brought to us and now available by the friendly vanilla farmers in Madagascar, at LaFaza, vanilla sugar will be insidious in a good way. Use it in recipes, in your tea, coffee, summer beverages. Made with organic cane sugar, and now a staple in my US kitchen pantry, LaFaza vanilla sugar is special, with a delightful aroma of natural vanilla infused into a pot of sugar. Let it sweeten your life, your soul, and your table, with a sense of right, and comfort. I added just a bit to my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, and it elevated the flavors in quite a unique way. I can’t wait to turn on all my chef friends to this little jar of magic.
Who doesn't love sugar? Well, then you are going to really love Lafaza Vanilla Sugar. This yummy organic cane sugar is infused with gourmet vanilla beans and ground vanilla powder. It is truly delicious! I used it in my latte and couldn't get enough. It is also great in oatmeal and yogurt.


LAFAZA all-natural vanilla sugar is made from organic-certified cane sugar and a healthy dose of pure ground vanilla and whole vanilla beans to infuse the mix. This vanilla sugar brings a smooth and intense vanilla flavor to baking as an ingredient or as a topper for pies, cookies, or bars. Try LAFAZA vanilla sugar as a simple indulgence by mixing a spoonful into a cup of your favorite coffee or tea. This pure, all-natural product puts great vanilla flavor at your fingertips – a great additional to any kitchen pantry.

The LAFAZA Story 

It started innocently enough about 8 years ago when two company co-founders, Nathaniel Delafield and Sarah Osterhoudt, joined the Peace Corps after completing grad school and spending several years in the U.S. workforce. At the time, they were looking for a new direction. They offered up a simple proposition to the world: “World, put us where you will. We are ready to get to work!” They had no idea where they would end up or what was in store for them. A leap of faith is just that, so they leapt. 

As it turns out, almost halfway around the world a small group of vanilla and clove growers in Madagascar were making a similar leap of faith about a much more serious matter. Their rural farming communities were suffering from a lack of basic resources such as medicine, educational materials, and market access for their products. With the help of a local non-profit organization, the farmers contacted Peace Corps to request volunteer assistance. They did not know what to expect and had no idea who, if anyone, would show up. There wasn’t even phone service within 200 miles. But a leap of faith is just that, so they leapt. 

The vanilla market had recently crashed, and prices were down over 90 percent from previous years. Farmers in the region were unable to connect with international markets, and even Madagascar export markets had to be accessed through multiple intermediaries offering below-market prices. The local cultivation and curing skills were exceptional, the agroforestry systems used by farmers in the region almost unbelievably lush and complex. The vanilla beans were intoxicating in their flavor and aroma. How could local growers be receiving such low prices? There had to be a better model, but surprisingly, there wasn’t. Yet. 

After many long conversations with farmers, a business concept was formed to create a direct-trade model based on fair trade principles that would bridge between local cooperatives in Madagascar and gourmet markets in the U.S. A small vanilla bean sample made its way to Oakland, California to LAFAZA co-founder James Delafield, who had been working for years in the specialty food industry. He entered it into a blind test by a major Bay Area chocolate maker that had formed a panel of experts to review ingredients. The sample was selected as their top choice among vanillas from around the world, and they asked how to get more. LAFAZA was born. 

Our company has grown from its original village-level roots, but we remain grounded in three founding principles: to create sustainable, direct supply chains that protect the environment; to follow fair trade practices that support farmer livelihoods; and to only offer the highest-quality natural products to our customers. We call it our “Triple-F” bottom line – to support Forests, Farmers, and of course, deliver great Flavors! LAFAZA’s team is proud of its work on both continents as a leader and innovator in this field, and we have many more delicious projects in store for the future.

Nathaniel Delafield, CEO and Co-Founder 
Nathaniel has extensive experience in nonprofit and business organizational development and management. He has been working as CEO of LAFAZA since helping to found it in 2005 while serving as a Peace Corp Environment Volunteer living with vanilla and clove growers. Nathaniel has a passion for gourmet food and food systems, and for the rural culture of Northeastern Madagascar. He spends his time in Oakland, CA, Madagascar, New Haven, CT, and rural Madagascar. He speaks the northeastern Malagasy dialect, and helped to organize a large farmers’ cooperative for rural growers in the Mananara region. Nathaniel holds two master’s degrees from the University of Michigan in Macro-Social Work and Urban and Regional Planning. He has a BA degree in Sociology from Wesleyan University. 

James Delafield, President and Co-Founder 
A certified food manager, James has over twelve years experience working in the gourmet food industry. After studying Resource Ecology at the University of Vermont, he relocated to the Bay Area of California – a center of food culture. Focusing on vanilla for the past eight years, James now oversees product development, warehousing, and operations for LAFAZA from Oakland. After extended trips to Madagascar for project research, purchasing, and export, James has developed a passion for the island’s rich offering of tastes and smells, as well as a keen concern for its unique flora and fauna. 

Danny Hervol, CFO and Madagascar Director 
Danny fell in love with Madagascar after first arriving in 2005 as a US Peace Corps volunteer in Community Health. After his Peace Corps service, Danny served as Project Director for a 435,000€ landscaping contract and also manages the consulting company, MAD Consulting. He holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Puget Sound and his MBA degree from The University of Phoenix. Danny has directed LAFAZA’s Madagascar operations since 2010, and is an expert in Malagasy exporting and rural agricultural project management. Danny is fluent in Malagasy and lives in the port city of Toamasina, Madagascar where he can sometimes be found hanging upside-down with lemurs at local parks.

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