What do you have in your spice cabinet?
What do you have in your spice cabinet? Salt, Pepper, Cinnamon… is that all? Or do you have several spices, maybe some seasoning packets from the local store. So, why do we only have one vanilla? Because it’s what’s found on the grocery shelf? Because it’s a brand we’re familiar with its name? Because vanilla beans are the second most expensive spice in the world, next to saffron, most stores keep a cheep quality vanilla to keep the price down. Remember, you get what you pay for.
This is why Gourmet Vanilla ‘n’ Spice, offers our vanillas in smaller bottles, a lower price so home cooks can afford to have several types of vanilla for various uses. So, let’s explore what these 27 various vanillas have to offer.
Madagascar is the most common vanilla, producing about 60% of the world’s vanilla beans. This is also known as Bourbon vanilla, not as the alcohol Bourbon, but the island where it originated named Bourbon. This is a classic creamy butter-tasting vanilla. Usually, the vanilla found on the market. High quality vanilla used in ice cream, cakes, candies, cookies, flans, gelato, icings, drinks, Crème Brule. A regular choice of professional chefs and used in 5-star restaurants around the world. Remember, they usually choose a highest quality brand of vanilla.
Tongan is a unique and exquisite, bold and expensive vanilla with a floral aroma and notes of cherries and sweet fruits, earthy fig, raisins. Flavor bold fruity, use in fruit desserts, sweetness in breads and creams, pies, Danish, fruit tarts. One of the most sought-after vanillas in the world. Use in home cooking and all baking. A very special gift for someone who loves to bake and cook, a Bride to be, Wedding gift.
Peruvian vanilla is rare, one of a few pollinated by bees, with a floral and raisin flavor
Vanuatu vanilla is extremely rare with hints of cinnamon, sandalwood, cocoa and yellow fruits like Mango.
Samoan is a rare, fruity floral vanilla, and extremely hard to obtain. We’re still on a waiting list to get these vanilla beans.
Sumatra Indonesian is a rare strong vanilla, buttery with hints of mocha and floral. Difficult to get these vanilla beans. Higher in vanillin than other Indonesian vanilla beans. Use in ice cream, frosting, creams. A favorite among pastry chefs and ice cream lovers.
Popondetta Papua New Guiney is an exquisite vanilla of the highest quality and highest vanillin. A traditional simple elegant fruity vanilla. One of the sweetest vanillas. Use in any cooking and all baking.
Ecuadorian vanilla is one of the most exquisite vanillas unlike any other. Bold, rich with hints of plums and apricots. Floral and sweet. Gourmet vanilla lovers dream, flavor is sweet. A delicacy adored by chefs around the world. Use in ice cream, fruit-based pastries, creams and frostings, all baking.
French Polynesia, True Tahitian vanilla is a choice of professional chefs and used in 5-star restaurants around the world, some of the most sought-after vanilla. Very fragrant, sweet, floral. A rich cherry chocolate aroma with hints of floral and rip fruits. Flavor is rich cherry, chocolate, licorice, caramel. A bit more expensive. Use in sweet sauces, ice cream, chocolate, cakes, cookies, custards, crème Brulés, add to coffee grounds for vanilla flavored coffee
Sri Lankan is a rare and prized vanilla. Is a bold sweet elegant vanilla with hints of cocoa and dates. Use in cookies, brownies, in meaty stews, cream sauces, refined seafood dishes, ice cream, desserts, cakes, cookies, healthy drinks and cocktails. A choice of chefs for its rare complexity of flavors. Not for temps, use more for short baking or no baking recipes that don’t require intense heat.
Comoros vanilla is a little higher priced. Regarded as a superior quality Bourbon vanilla. It’s creamy vanilla with chocolate, marshmallow, brown butter flavor. Good in all baking and cooking.
Hawaiian is a most sweet and unique vanilla. It’s a bold vanilla with hints of tropical fruit. Exotic, floral, pollinated by the Melipona bees (few vanillas are pollinated by these bees, other bees can’t pollinate these orchids, most vanillas are hand pollinated). This vanilla is difficult to obtain and expensive. Use in ice cream, summer fruity pastries, tarts, fruit-based desserts. Holiday pie baking. Add to salmon or mahimahi glaze on the grill
Costa Rican Pompona is used in baked goods, perfumery, medicinal. Rare and elusive flavor of chocolate, raisin and dates.
Mexican Yucatan is an incredible blend of bold vanilla with hints of caramel, cocoa and mocha. In limited supply, one of the most expensive vanillas. Use in home cooking and all baking.
Ugandan is a bold vanilla with hints of figs and dried fruits. Higher than average vanillin, used in rich desserts, chocolate truffles, sugars, gelatos, pastries, cinnamon rolls, banana breads, orange rolls, sweet breads, fruit based and strong vanilla desserts, tarts, pies, custards, creams, ice cream, pastries, beverages. The flavor is earthy, bold, extremely flavorful, aroma of figs, milk chocolate, and raisings, is buttery. Exotic choice by chocolatiers and coffee brewers around the world.
Tanzanian is a creamy sweet vanilla with buttery, spicy aroma. Used in baked goods, enhances smokey sauces, tangy vinaigrette, spicy curries, rich stews, creamy seafood dishes, savory dishes, healthy drinks, coffee, cocktails, ice cream, cakes, pastries, sauces and stews.
Mexican Veracruz is a rich vanilla with dark chocolate aroma and a spicy kick. A mocha vanilla with a hint of caramel and toffee. One of the most elegant vanillas. Good for all baking or home cooking. .
Indonesian is a dark, smokey vanilla for dark and rich chocolates and desserts. Flavor smokiness, woody yet mild and well balanced. Use in heated cooking, ice creams, sweet treats, chocolate and BBQ sauce, with caramel and star anise, in richer desserts.
Papua Indonesian is a dark sweet, smokey, rich vanilla for rich dark chocolates, desserts, frosting, brownies.
Sambava Madagascar is a buttery, caramel with a hint of chocolate and spice flavor. Use for anything sweet.
Mexican is a bold, dark, smokey spicy vanilla. Flavor of cocoa and mocha, chocolate, caramel, sweet. Use in baking, sauces, on salmon or chicken. This is NOT the Mexican vanilla you may have bought while visiting Mexico. I’ll explain that later.
Mexican Mayan cross with planifolia, tahitensis, pompona cross that has a spicy like cayenne pepper.
Cook Islands vanilla is very sweet like ice cream and cotton candy.
Democratic Republic of the Congo vanilla is deep fragrance of dried fruit and prunes
Tahitian – Indonesian vanilla is a subtle fruity with cherry chocolate, licorice, sweet vanilla taste. A crisp sweetness not presents in traditional vanillas. Use in pastries, sauces, gelato, sweet and savory treats, ice cream, cupcakes and cookies. Flavor of red wine, cherry, peach.
Papua New Guiney, Tahitensis is used in baked goods and high heat like crème Brule. The flavor of cherry, oak.
Papua New Guiney, Planifolia is used in pastries, ice cream, fruit based, Mexican Mole and vanilla flavored coffee. Flavor of chocolate, sweet cream, butter and caramel.
Only 27 vanillas have been introduced here, and others are coming. Each has a unique individual flavor. I hope you find several that you will try with your special recipes. Please, share with us your recipe and a photo of the finished dish or baked goods, drinks or ice cream. I’d love to highlight you on our website. Another point to consider, each of these vanillas are introduced first with Vodka, but will be coming in other spirits, which will add another dimension to their flavor profile. It’s been fun and exciting to discover each vanilla. GourmetVanillaSpice.com