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Favorite vanilla beans


fanny_the_fairy
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Hi there,

it seems i'm fond of vanilla at the moment.

And I am willing to discover more about this spice (first question - is it a spice?).

What are your favourite vanilla species? Why?

And what's your favourite use for each type of vanilla?

Here are my answers:

La vanille du Mexique – Vanilla planifolia

It seems logical to start with mexican vanilla as it’s considered to be the ‘mother of all vanillas’.

Indeed, the first vanilla crops were found in Mexico where the Aztec would call it tlixochtitl - black flower.

Back to the kitchen, Mexican vanilla is creamy and sweet with woody undertones and has lots of seeds; which makes it perfect for uncooked puddings: from blanc-manger to ice creams.

La vanille de Madagascar – Vanilla bourbon (though, scientifically Vanilla bourbon is the same specie as Vanilla planifolia)

This one is perhaps the most sold over the world.

I guess its strong and rich vanilla flavour and its fat pod are the reasons for this success.

I am myself a self-proclaimed addict of bourbon vanilla – I throw it in nearly everything and the results are always lovely. Especially with baked goods; while with other vanillas the flavours can be altered by high temperatures, the strength of bourbon beans makes for a beautifully perfumed cake/bread...

La vanille de Tahiti - Vanilla tahitensis

I have a strange relationship with Tahitian vanilla – although it’s very different from the two species mentioned above I really like it.

Do you think the fact that my mother was born in Papeete has got something to do with it?

The pods are short and very plump (due to high water content – almost 35%) and have a pleasing floral and fruity fragrance. In few words: perfect with fruits – as part of a glaze brushed over the juicy berries of a tart or in syrup poured over a freshly-baked baba to serve with a dollop of whipped cream and caramelised pineapple slices.

To round up this, I thought it would be nice to add a little picture of my favourites bourbon beans from madagascar:

gallery_48830_4010_24042.png

Thanks to all of you who will take some time to answer all my questions.

- fanny

fanny loves foodbeam

pâtisserie & sweetness

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Hi there,

it seems i'm fond of vanilla at the moment.

And I am willing to discover more about this spice (first question - is it a spice?).

What are your favourite vanilla species? Why?

And what's your favourite use for each type of vanilla?

Here are my answers:

La vanille du Mexique – Vanilla planifolia

It seems logical to start with mexican vanilla as it’s considered to be the ‘mother of all vanillas’.

Indeed, the first vanilla crops were found in Mexico where the Aztec would call it tlixochtitl - black flower.

Back to the kitchen, Mexican vanilla is creamy and sweet with woody undertones and has lots of seeds; which makes it perfect for uncooked puddings: from blanc-manger to ice creams.

La vanille de Madagascar – Vanilla bourbon (though, scientifically Vanilla bourbon is the same specie as Vanilla planifolia)

This one is perhaps the most sold over the world.

I guess its strong and rich vanilla flavour and its fat pod are the reasons for this success.

I am myself a self-proclaimed addict of bourbon vanilla – I throw it in nearly everything and the results are always lovely. Especially with baked goods; while with other vanillas the flavours can be altered by high temperatures, the strength of bourbon beans makes for a beautifully perfumed cake/bread...

La vanille de Tahiti - Vanilla tahitensis

I have a strange relationship with Tahitian vanilla – although it’s very different from the two species mentioned above I really like it.

Do you think the fact that my mother was born in Papeete has got something to do with it?

The pods are short and very plump (due to high water content – almost 35%) and have a pleasing floral and fruity fragrance. In few words: perfect with fruits – as part of a glaze brushed over the juicy berries of a tart or in syrup poured over a freshly-baked baba to serve with a dollop of whipped cream and caramelised pineapple slices.

To round up this, I thought it would be nice to add a little picture of my favourites bourbon beans from madagascar:

gallery_48830_4010_24042.png

Thanks to all of you who will take some time to answer all my questions.

- fanny

i've not tried mexican vanilla yet, but have to get around to it.

My favorite is tahitian vanilla. I took a tour in moorea where we were shown vanilla beans growing.

I've not had good luck with vanilla from madagascar, i've tried it in chocolate and it came out tasting like coffee.

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I've bought tahitiensis beans off of Ebay that were moist, plump and smelled wonderful -- but had an incredibly mild flavor, and seemed to have almost no vanillin. I don't know if this is typical of tahitiensis beans or not. The Nielsen Massey beans (the planifolia variety) you see in many stores in the US are crazy overpriced, but they have always been good.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I've bought tahitiensis beans off of Ebay that were moist, plump and smelled wonderful -- but had an incredibly mild flavor, and seemed to have almost no vanillin. I don't know if this is typical of tahitiensis beans or not.  The Nielsen Massey beans (the planifolia variety) you see in many stores in the US are crazy overpriced, but they have always been good.

I've never came across strongly flavoured tahitian beans.

It's true that they have robust flower smell but definitely not a strong vanilla flavour.

It's funny to see how two species from one genus can be so different.

- fanny

fanny loves foodbeam

pâtisserie & sweetness

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I haven't used Vanilla a lot, but will have to since I got a bunch at home. I got 4 oz (about 20+ beans) of bourbon vanilla for $22 to make truffles and caramels with. So far, I think I've only gone through about 5. The ones I got have a nice flavor that stands out in the caramels.

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I received half a pound of Organic Tahitians that I've gifted out to friends this holiday season.: 15 beans or so in a jar filled with coffee beans or sugar.

I've enjoyed grinding the whole bean and adding to my cookies or waffles.

Have noticed that steeping a split bean produces a sticky mucilage like property. First noticed this property when making hot buttered rum batter. Very similar to when one heats up flax seeds in water: gel producing.

flavor floozy

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I used to work at a homemade ice cream store, where we took our vanilla pretty seriously. We made it in quantities that were too large to make using the beans practical, but we used expensive, single origin extracts.

We had been told that vanilla lovers usually prefer mexican vanilla. but in side by side taste tests of the ice cream, the owner and I consistently liked the big, round flavor of the madagascar vanilla better. The tahitian vanilla was at the bottom of our list.

I don't know if you can generalize anything about this (we were only tasting ice cream, and only comparing a handful of diifferent extracts) but i thought it was interesting.

Notes from the underbelly

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Madagascar are definitely my favourite. I've tried Tahitian beans and extract and really wasn't fond of them. A pastry chef I took a short course with said they were good to use with chocolate though.

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

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Alton Brown (in the vanilla bean episode) says that Tahitian vanilla is fragrant, and he describes them as very "vanilla"; he prefers the Mexican vanilla, but most of the vanilla comes from Madagascar. The tahitian bean is a different variety from the Mexican bean, more commonly grown.

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