The Sa Pa - Gourmet Whole Star Anise from Vietnam - 4oz (Retail)



VanillaPura is pleased to introduce The Sa Pa. Gourmet Vietnamese whole star anise for baking and extract making. Due to the dry, brittle nature of this and other spices, they are sealed in pouches but often not vacuum sealed as the sharp edges of some spices can puncture a vacuumed pouch. 

Spice Family Whole, Vietnamese Star Anise. Gourmet. 
Origin: Vietnam
Quality: Whole but dry and brittle. Will include broken pieces. 
Aroma: Spicy, licorice, clove, fennel seed
Extract Taste: Soft spice, hints of licorice and cloves and subtle anise seed
Minimum Order 4oz ($3.75/oz) 


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From beautiful Vietnam, we are excited to introduce you to a spice that has been used and documented for more than 3,000 years. Star anise is the fruit of a plant called Illicium verum, a Magnolia. In fact, it's actually the seed pod of that plant (before it is a mature fruit) which is typically shaped like a star, which is where the name is derived. Within the point of each star, you will find a small, pea-sized seed. Both the seed and the pod include flavor compounds that can be used in extract making and in cooking. 

People often confuse the seeds in Star Anise with regular anise seeds, but there is a difference. Star anise comes from the Magnolia, while anise seeds are in the parsley family. We should also note that Japanese Star Anise that is often used in incense is toxic and should never be consumed. 

The flavor of star anise originates from its inherent oils called anethol which tastes and smells like anise and black licorice. The flavor is exposed through the drying process, just like vanilla beans. The fruit is left in the sun to dry and then to sweat which releases the oils and the familiar aroma and taste. 

Do the varying origins of this spice contribute to a different taste? Yes, but given the potency of star anise, the difference may be somewhat difficult to notice. Our goal at VanillaPura is to make flavors available to you from regions all around the world so you can experiences the differences yourself. 

The origin of this spice goes back to China, Russia and Europe. Like all popular spices today, as its notoriety spread, cultivation began to occur in countries all around the world. And, much like coffee beans, vanilla beans, cocoa beans and other spices, its origin played a roll in its taste. 

We decided to name this Vietnamese grown spice after the beautiful mountain village of Sa Pa, Vietnam. 

Sa Pa Vietnam

(Sa Pa, Vietnam)

Star anise is potent. It can be used in ground or used in whole form, but remember that once ground their pungency begins to deteriorate much more quickly. Breaking into smaller pieces will also release its unique aroma, but will not lose pungency as quickly as when turned into a powdered form. 

If you place a small amount of ground star anise on your tongue, you will notice a war spiciness at first, then a sweet taste fading into a mellow absinthe and licorice taste.  

Added to your vanilla extract, this amazing spice will added additional sweetness with a soft kick of absinth that results in an entirely new extract experience.