Vanilla. One of the finest of the flavors. Ironically also a term used on occasion to describe a lack of style, creativity, or taste. I think vanilla is similar to a fine wine - complex and fantastic. Sure, imitation vanilla has its place and can get the job done, but when you want authentic vanilla highlights you have a wide variety of options.
- Vanilla bean -- Best used to add flavor to desserts and drinks. The bean has a stronger flavor than the liquid.
- Vanilla liquid -- Vanilla extract is usually blended and mixed into a dish and then baked. This has a strong flavor and is used in small amounts.
- Vanilla paste -- A concentrated and convenient form of the bean, used to add vanilla flavor.
Yep, there is more than one vanilla flavor. Vanilla beans come from four regions:
Can be the stand alone flavor for many recipes such as ice cream, custard and creme brulee. When that is the case using pure vanilla, in any of its forms is highly recommended.
A baking essential. Vanilla supports, balances, mellows and gives depth to dishes.
A flavor enhancer for chocolate, coffee, nuts and fruit. Can be used to cut the acid bite in citrus fruits.