What is the difference between "vanilla" and "Mexican vanilla"

  • What is the difference between "vanilla" and "Mexican vanilla" Sobachatina

    Some ice cream around here is marketed as the flavor "Mexican vanilla".

    It seems sweeter and has obvious vanilla seeds (or something that looks similar). Is there a type of vanilla pod that is uniquely Mexican? Or does the flavor mean "vanilla in a Mexican style" and refer to some technique?

  • According to my favorite source of spices, Penzeys, there is a difference between Madagascar Vanilla

    Regarded as the world's best, Madagascar beans set the standard for prime vanilla flavor.

    and Mexican Vanilla

    Mexican beans, while similar to Madagascar, have a darker flavor that is perfect for vanilla liqueur and coffee drinks.

  • There are several distinct species of the vanilla orchid used for food flavouring, the most common being vanilla planifolia, vanilla tahitiensis and vanilla pompona (in that order).

    Vanilla planifolia is usually marketed as "Bourbon vanilla", most of which is grown in Indonesia and Madagascar. The same species is also grown in Mexico, but they have decided to call it "Mexican vanilla", which is purely a marketing designation. At least the Mexicans claim their vanilla to be of superior quality, but the vanilla extracts sold in Mexico are often stretched with tonka bean extract, which has a similar taste and aroma to vanilla, but contains coumarin, which is banned as a food additive by the US Food & Drug Administration. Other countries have less strict regulations, often only regulating a maximum coumarin content.

  • Vanilla "beans" or pods go through an extensive process to give the flavor you know. One of the main differences in vanilla produced in various regions is the tweaking of this process.

    First, vanilla is heated to kill the pod to prevent sugar from turning to starch, and to break down cell walls. After this is a repeated process of exposure to sun and wrapping in cloth--this stage develops vanillin, the main flavor component. Lastly, the pods are straightened and dried to further develop flavor. It is in this last stage that mexican vanilla differs most significantly--whereas vanilla from Madagascar may take about 5 weeks, Mexican vanilla will cure for several months.

Related questions and answers
  • that does this (enhance the flavour of other spices/foods). Is this true? If so, by what mechanism does it do this? Here are some places online that mention this alleged property of vanilla without explaining how it works: "Vanilla is used for its sweetness and its ability to enhance other flavors." (eHow) "Vanilla delivers characteristic and complex flavor notes to hundreds of types of food. With fruit- and dairy-based products, it enhances flavor by cutting acid notes, bringing out creamy notes and rounding out flavor systems." (preparedfoods.com) "Add vanilla to give new 'life

  • I'm trying to make a vanilla syrup for some flavored coffees, and the recipe I have calls for: 2 1/2 cups water 2 cups white sugar 3/4 cup brown sugar 1 moist vanilla bean, preferably Mexican or Bourbon (Madagascar) What does it mean by a moist vanilla bean? Do I soak the bean in water or something before use?

  • In Belize, Peru, and the Dominican Republic I absolutely loved the perfectly moist and delicious arroz con pollo. Always flavorful and simple, it was my fall back anywhere I was anytime I was too tired to try something new. Can anybody here share with me the way to make this simple delicious style, my wife knows how to make it with a tomato base mexican style the way she grew up with it, but as we've had it without the tomato base she's not sure what to do to get that same moist light delicious flavor. We searched for recipes, but all of them were the mexican tomato base kind. Please help

  • I am extremely bad at getting the seeds out of my vanilla beans. So I started putting the "used" beans (which still have at least 1/3 of their seeds) in a small jar with some vodka, and using the liquid as "neverending vanilla extract". There are recipes for vanilla extract out there, but they assume that one would put an exact amount of vanilla beans and vodka together once, then wait, so they give a single ratio. I can't meet this ratio always, but I want to know what the acceptable range is. So: what is the lower bound of vanilla per ml of vodka so that below that bound, the extract

  • Today I made creme brulee, which I'm not very familiar with but have done once or twice. The consistancy was fine, aswell as the caramelized sugar, but it had a very low taste of vanilla, even though I used 4x the amount specified in the recipe. (I used 2 whole vanilla beans for 2 cups). I cut, scraped and put everything in cream/sugar, heated to about 80-90c (almost a boil), mixed with the yellow of the egg(yolk?) and cooked it in a pan half-full of water. Is there anything I can do to facilitate more vanilla flavor? Is it somehow volatile and doesn't survive.. cooking? Maybe I should

  • I would like to start using Vanilla bean paste in some of my recipes. I usually use Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extract and wondered if the measurement was the same i.e. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract = 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste. I thought I heard somewhere that the paste is a lot stronger. Would appreciate any feedback.

  • This is a continuation of my last question. the recipe I have is: 2 1/2 cups water 2 cups white sugar 3/4 cup brown sugar 1 moist vanilla bean, preferably Mexican or Bourbon (Madagascar) Combine the sugars and water in a saucepan. Boil for at least 10 minutes. Let cool. When solution has cooled, add the extract and stir well. After I make my syrup, how long of a shelf life does it have? Do I need to refrigerate it, or can I keep it on my countertop?

  • There's another question about the difference between artificial and real vanilla extract, saying people can tell the difference, but perhaps not in baked goods. The labeling can also be confusing. So I am curious, I would like to know when to save some money and use imitation; What are use cases for using imitation vanilla without it being apparent to the taster, especially in restaurants and the food industry? What type of use cases will imitation vanilla be apparent? Are there specific types of applications where the quality of real vanilla is utterly necessary?

  • This question has answers which explain the difference between vanilla essence and vanilla extract, and which tell you when you may want one over the other - if I am correct in thinking that "vanilla essence" is the same as "vanilla flavouring"? My question is - in baking where colour is not an issue, how do I substitute one for the other? For example in a recipe that asked for 1tsp of extract, how much essence would I use in it's place?

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