Monday, December 14, 2009

Menu for Hope 6 - The Most Vanilla Bid Item There Is

Yes, it's time again for Menu for Hope, the biggest and most important food blogger event that's held every year and spearheaded by the truly delightful, and even quite noble, Pim Techamuanvivit. This campaign raises money, almost a quarter of a million dollars over the last few years, to support the good work of the UN World Food Programme (WFP). WFP is the world’s largest food aid agency, working with over 1,000 other organizations in over 75 countries. In addition to providing food, the World Food Program helps hungry people to become self-reliant so that they escape hunger for good.

This year, we are supporting a new initiative at the WFP called Purchase for Progress (P4P). P4P enables smallholder and low-income farmers to supply food to WFP’s global operation. P4P helps farmers improves farming practices and puts more cash directly into their pockets in return for their crops. This will also help buoy local economies by creating jobs and incomes locally. We food bloggers understand the importance of buying locally and supporting our local farms, P4P helps do the same for farmers in low income countries around the world. More on P4P can be found at

What food bloggers do is offer up a dazzling and delectable array of food-related bid items for the Menu for Hope raffle. People (this means you) buy raffle tickets to win them. They can range from signed cookbooks to meals at the most prestigious and famous resturants, to rare food and cooking equipment. For every $10 donated, you earn one virtual raffle ticket to bid on a bid item of your choice. A pretty sweet deal considering the worth of the items you're bidding for. At the end of the two-week campaign, the raffle tickets are drawn and the results announced on Chez Pim.

The campaign takes place from December 14 through Christmas. A perfect amount of time for you to drool over the various bid items we're offering and make your bids (maybe a Christmas gift for yourself?).

Now, We know our readers trust us, but we also want to be completely transparent in our fundraising. So, we use a very good online fundraising company called FirstGiving, who has worked with us since the first Menu for Hope years ago. FirstGiving collects and processes the payments and, at the end of the campaign, transfers the donations in one lump sum to the WFP. The bloggers don't touch the money and WFP benefits from the money raised getting one huge lump sum that they can distribute amongst farmers in need.

By now you're probably wondering what sort of bid item Vanilla Garlic is hosting. If you're a regular reader then you know by now that when I describe something as "vanilla" I don't mean it to be boring. Vanilla is no Plain Jane playing some game alone in the corner. No, here "Vanilla" refers to the fantastic, flavorful, and intriguing. If I describe something as vanilla, it deserves all of your attention because, damn it, it's vanilla!

Thus, I present what I consider to be one, if not the, most vanilla bid item during this year's Menu for Hope. I dropped a line over to my buddies at Beanilla, one of the top vanilla bean companies in the world, and they were all over the idea of donating something for Menu for Hope. Together we've put together a vanilla package of the likes you've never seen.

A basket containing:
1 x 25 - Madagascar Vanilla Beans
1 x 25 - Tahitian Vanilla Beans
1 x 25 - Bourbon Vanilla Beans
1 x 25 - Mexican Vanilla Beans
1 x 25 - Organic Indonesian Vanilla Beans
1 x 25 - Indian Vanilla Beans
1 x 25 - Tongan Vanilla Beans
1 x Bourbon-Madagascar 3-Fold Vanilla Paste, 1 oz.
1 x Tahtian 3-Fold Vanilla Paste, 1 oz.
1 x Tahitian Vanilla Fleur de Sel, 2 oz.
1 x Tahitian Vanilla Organic Cane Sugar, 6 oz.
1 x Organic Indonesian Ground Vanilla, 1/2 oz.
1 x 2-Fold Madagascar Vanilla Extract, 4 oz.

Oh yes, that's 175 vanilla beans of 7 different varieties. Some super intense vanilla pastes which are, in my opinion, wonderful in baking where you need vanilla to really kick any other flavor's butt. Vanilla Fleur de Sel is a sea salt scraped from rocks off the coast of Brittany, France and combined with premium ground vanilla beans. Sprinkle this onto some brownies or rub into meats for an intriguing new savory vanilla taste. Vanilla sugar makes for perfect cookies imbuing them with intense aromatic vanilla tastes. You can use ground vanilla for spice rubs, teas, or any other creative culinary concoction that needs that sweet orchid scent.

Enough vanilla to last you a lifetime. Can I get a "Hell, yes,"?

You know you want your vanilla fix. If you're here, you're a bean junky like me. So do yourself a favor and bid. You'll have a shot at the ultimate vanilla package, plus many other awesome items hosted by the many other phenomenal food blogs. But, more importantly, you'll be encouraging local procurement and help low-income farmers produce food for the people who need it most. This is your chance to help feed others, improve local economies that need it most, encourage agricultural productivity in striving regions, and help solve the root causes of hunger in the world. Take a moment this holiday season and give back to those in the food world who need a little extra help.

The bid item code for the Vanilla Garlic vanilla package donated by Beanilla is UW13. There are no shipping restrictions, so you can bid no matter where you are.

To Donate and Enter the Menu for Hope Raffle

Here's what you need to do:

1. Choose a bid item or bid items of your choice from our Menu for Hope main bid item list.

2. Go to the donation site at Firstgiving and make a donation.

3. Please specify which bid item you'd like in the 'Personal Message' section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per bid item, and please use the bid item code.
Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a bid item of your choice. For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02 - 2xEU01, 3xEU02.

4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

5. Please check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we can contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

You can see a complete list of hosts for the many different bid items and other bits of info about Menu for Hope at Chez Pim. Check back on Chez Pim and here on Monday, January 18 for the results of the raffle.

Happy holidays everyone!


  1. This is an amazing prize Garrett. Big thanks to Beanilla!

  2. Drastic awesome, Garrett. That's a whole forest of orchids there.

  3. This basket rocks with vanilla goodness. I just bid on it. Also, I have to tell you that you inspired me to buy a sample of each of the vanilla beans to try and compare. Now it's time to make the shortbread. Thanks so much for turning me on to Beanilla. Here's a tip to turn you on to more vanilla goodness... have you tried Dry Soda's vanilla soda? Great vanilla flavor but not so sweet. Lovely. Happy holidays and happy baking!


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