Vanilla Beans Vanilla is the second costliest spice in the world, after saffron. Photo of vanilla beans by Joan Vicent Canto | IST.



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November 2008

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Salts & Seasonings

Vanilla: The World’s Favorite Flavor

Page 5: Taste Test Results ~ Vanilla Extract


This is Page 5 of a nine-page article. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.

Vanilla Extract Taste Test

We baked pastry chef Larissa Raphael’s shortbread cookie recipe with five fine vanillas. The corresponding results.

You’ll note that the vanilla extracts came from different areas of the world. While “terroir,” which includes the soil and microclimate in which something is grown, does effect the flavor, the curing process has a greater impact.

All of the cookies were delicious, but the choice of vanilla extract did make a difference—as much as if, say, you added a pinch of another spice (cinnamon, e.g.) to the recipe. It’s subtle, but it’s there, and the sophisticated palate can appreciate the difference.

The next time you bake cookies, make two batches and test your current vanilla against one of these products.

Shortbread Cookies
Larissa Raphael’s shortbread recipe was used to
test the vanilla extracts. Here’s the recipe for
these elegant cookies.


Vanilla Extract Brand Origin Aroma Taste
Aust & Hachmann
(Runner Up)
Tahiti Refined - Bright flavor enhances richness and sweetness
Hawaiian Vanilla Co. Hawaii Pleasant - Light, soft vanilla flavor
(The Winner)
Madagascar Floral

- Subtle, infused floral flavor
- Universal, “classic vanilla”

Nielsen-Massey Vanillas Madagascar

- Strong vanilla flavor with distinctive, “unique” vanilla aftertaste
- Wonderful baked aroma

Rain’s Choice Mexico - Indistinct vanilla flavor
- Overwhelming taste of butter

Continue To Page 6: Taste Test ~ Vanilla Beans

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