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tonka bean

The Diner’s Dictionary

John Ayto

tonka bean 

The black seed of a South American leguminous tree which has a vanilla-like fragrance. It is dried and cured in rum or other alcohol before being used. In former times it was much in demand for flavouring liqueurs and confectionery, but now it is mainly used in perfumery. Tonka is a local word in Guyana.