Unveiling Vanilla: A Bajan’s Guide to Extracts and Essences

Aromuh Vanilla Extract

As passionate home cooks and professional chefs alike know, the secret to a flavorful dessert often lies in a single, yet powerful ingredient – vanilla. However, in the world of baking, there is an ongoing debate between the use of vanilla extract and vanilla essence. Understanding their differences, from their production to their ingredients and usage, can elevate your cooking. Moreover, we’ll explore three top brands of vanilla extract found in Barbados.

Vanilla Extract vs Vanilla Essence:

Vanilla extract is derived from vanilla beans soaked in alcohol and water, usually over several months, leading to a natural and rich flavor. It’s the purer form of the two, made from real vanilla pods.

On the other hand, vanilla essence is a synthetic product, usually made from chemicals designed to mimic the flavor of vanilla. It’s more of a vanilla-flavored product, rather than a product made from actual vanilla.

The differences in production and ingredients lead to a stark contrast in flavor. The extract offers a complex, full-bodied vanilla taste, while the essence gives a simpler, more straightforward flavor. Because of its authentic flavor, professional bakers tend to prefer vanilla extract. However, the essence is often more affordable and has a longer shelf life, making it a popular choice for occasional home bakers.

Exploring Top Vanilla Extract Brands in Barbados:

Aromuh Vanilla Extract: Aromuh is a local brand that’s gained popularity for its robust flavor. It’s made locally, providing a powerful, smooth vanilla note to any baked good. The price of $15 is very reasonable, given that you’re getting a 60 ml bottle of high-quality extract. That’s double the amount of extract from competing brands! You can find Aromuh at Emerald City or Massy, however each stores’ price may vary.

McCormick Vanilla Extract: McCormick is a staple in many Barbadian homes. Its rich flavor is renowned, and it has become a crowd favorite, especially during the festive season. The 29 ml bottles are available in most island shops for about $17. Despite its size, the flavor it adds to any dish is significant.

Tesco Vanilla Extract: Tesco offers a vanilla extract option for those seeking a more affordable choice. Though it adds a great vanilla flavor to your baking, it has a slightly stronger ethanol scent than Aromuh and McCormick. It’s available island-wide, priced at $12 for a 60 ml bottle.

In conclusion, the choice between vanilla extract and essence depends on your personal preference, culinary needs, and budget. If you prefer a more natural and robust flavor and don’t mind the price, vanilla extract is the way to go. However, for casual baking or cost-efficiency, vanilla essence might serve you well. Among extracts, Aromuh, McCormick, and Tesco are excellent options in Barbados, each bringing its unique touch to your kitchen.

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