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How do different vanilla beans taste?

It's not only the taste and aroma of vanilla we love so much but also the vivid memories the spice evokes that takes us back to childhood days of eating soft-serve ice cream on hot summer days and baking homemade cookies in grandma’s kitchen.

Most of us are in the habit of buying the long, thin Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans, but why restrict yourself to one flavor profile when you have the choice of beans from far-flung tropical regions like Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Uganda, Tahiti, India and Tonga?

Whoever coined the phrase ‘plain vanilla’ hasn’t discovered the complex taste and aroma of beans from these exotic destinations.

Madagascar vanilla

Rich, creamy flavor with a sweet, buttery aroma. It pairs best with cakes, custards, cookies, ice cream and desserts, and adds a delicious twist to savory sauces for poultry, seafood and pork.

Mexican vanilla

Classic deep, creamy vanilla flavor with woody, spicy-sweet undertones and a hint of clove and nutmeg. It pairs well with chocolate, citrus fruits, ice cream, custard, spicy savory dishes, salsas and barbeque sauces.

Tahitian vanilla

Intense floral, stone fruit aroma with cherry chocolate, caramel and liquorice undertones. It pairs well with fruity, no- or short-bake desserts, ice cream, custard, and delicate sauces for seafood and pork.

Papua New Guinea vanilla

Sweet, smooth, mellow flavor with floral, buttery aroma and hints of cherries, chocolate and caramel. Perfect for homemade vanilla extract, sugar and powder and pairs well with ice cream, cakes, cookies, custard, crème Brulé and savory sauces for seafood and pork.

Indonesia vanilla

Smoky, woody, earthy flavor with notes of prunes, dried figs and raisins. It pairs well with chocolate, caramel, cookies, cakes, rich desserts and warm stews.

Sri Lanka vanilla

Bold, earthy flavor with notes of dried fruit, dates and cocoa. It pairs well with sweet and spicy South Asia dishes.

Uganda vanilla

Bold, full-bodied, earthy flavor with notes of milk chocolate, raisins and figs. It pairs well with chocolate, ice cream, custard and crème Brulé.

Ecuador vanilla

Floral, fruity flavor with hearty bursts of apricots, plums, pears and sour cherries. It pairs well with creamy frostings, fruity pastries and puddings, homemade ice cream and delicate savoury sauces. 

Did you know?

There are only three species of flowering orchids that are farmed for the production of commercial vanilla products.

Vanilla Planifolia is the most common species, contributing to two-thirds of the world’s vanilla production. This flowering orchid species is grown on the tropical islands in the Indian Ocean, including Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius, Réunion, Indonesia and Seychelles. The pods are thin and long, and give up the classic vanilla flavour we love so much; sweet, rich and deliciously creamy.

Vanilla Tahitensis is cultivated in French Polynesia, a collection of islands in the South Pacific. The pods are shorter, plumper and have a higher oil and water content. They give up a more intense floral, fruity aroma with cherry, wine and liquorice undertones.

Vanilla Pompona is native to Mexico and grown in the West Indies, Caribbean, and Central and South America. This rare variety has a higher vanilla content than the other two species, and the beans give up a more potent classic vanilla taste and aroma.
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