Your Choices of Vanilla
This is at the top of everyone’s list and a choice of most pastry chefs. Start out with this. Expect to pay $4 to $10 per ounce for a good Madagascar. It’s dark and full bodied with a strong taste of rum. It stands up well to heat. It’s a powerful flavor and is a good choice in fruity baked goods and with chocolate—strong flavors to compete with.
This tends to be very sweet and fruity. It is often pleasant to taste alone where Madagascar needs the sweetness and dilution of the baked good to be palatable. It does not hold up as well in baking. Mexican vanilla works well with dairy products.
We don’t sell a Tahiti vanilla but I have some in my cupboard. It’s very sweet and fruity. But not strong and I rarely use it.
This bourbon vanilla is a close cousin to Madagascar. It has a thick, robust flavor that holds up well to baking. (I think baking improves the flavor.) For me it’s perfect in baking but is too overpowering in whipped cream.
Usually an imitation vanilla, the “birthday cake” flavor you sometimes find in cakes and ice cream.
This is another imitation vanilla designed in use for cakes and frostings where a pure white color is important.
This is a strong flavored vanilla with deep taste of alcohol and is reminiscent of bourbon.