Tahitian vanilla beans. Got beans? Make your
own vanilla extract. Photo by Claire Freierman
| THE NIBBLE.
THE FLAVOR OF DIFFERENT VANILLA BEANS
Here are the differences from Nielsen-Massey, a family business that has been devoted to vanilla for three generations:
Bourbon Or Madagascar Vanilla
Character: sweet, creamy and mellow with velvety after-tones. The vanilla of choice with chocolate and cream.
Use in: anything requiring vanilla. It’s the benchmark.
Character: sweet and creamy with a deep, spicy character. Often selected by chefs for an added level of finesse to chili, barbecue sauce, tomato sauce, salsa and other spicy foods.
Use in: cakes, frozen desserts, ginger snaps and other spiced cookies, hot chocolate.
Character: fruity, anise-like flavor with floral notes. Use in cold or quickly-heated dishes; Tahitian vanilla’s delicate flavors don’t hold up well under extensive heating like baking.
Use in: frozen and refrigerated desserts, fruit sauce, pastry creams, puddings and custards, shakes, smoothies.
MORE ABOUT VANILLA
Vanilla beans are also grown in Guatemala, Hawaii and the West Indies. Vanilla is a tropical plant, and can only grow 10 to 20 degrees north and south of the equator.
Here’s everything you need to know about vanilla, including types of vanilla products, how to buy vanilla and the best vanilla extracts and beans.