Boasting an exotic, fragrant and complex flavor, vanilla is an incredibly versatile spice that can bring a rich, sweet touch to a broad range of applications ranging from dessert and baking recipes to savory dishes, sauces, beverages and even alcohol flavors. Over 150 different varieties of vanilla exist worldwide, but the vast majority of food and beverage products are developed using four main vanilla varieties, each offering a distinct flavor and aroma to suit different applications:
Commonly known as “Madagascan Vanilla,” and named after the Île Bourbon (a small island off the coast of Madagascar), bourbon vanilla is known for a sweet, rum-like ﬂavor. Bourbon vanilla accounts for around 75 percent of all vanilla on the market today and provides the sweet classic vanilla found in desserts and ice cream.
Harvested in the South Pacific island of Tahiti, this variety unveils ﬂoral qualities with a strong fragrance that make it particularly well-suited for beverage applications. A sweet chocolate-like top-note makes Tahitian vanilla a versatile option
As the dominant variety grown in Asia, Indonesian vanilla often displays smoky characteristics that make popular in sauces and caramels, plus as a compliment to chocolate in many products.
Considered the ‘original’ vanilla since the flavor was first harvested and consumed in what is present-day Mexico, this variety has a very distinct taste that reveals spicy and woody notes which are particularly suited for savory dishes.