Vanilla Origins, Varieties, and Tasting Notes

Appears in
Pure Vanilla: Irresistible Recipes and Essential Techniques

By Shauna Sever

Published 2012

  • About
For most of us, our vanilla experiences are limited to the little brown bottle we buy in the supermarket. But that’s really just the beginning. I like to compare the world of vanilla to that of wine—there are several fascinating varieties and flavor profiles out there, and learning the basics will help you truly celebrate it and get the most for your money.
Continuing with the oenological analogy, imagine a row of glasses containing different red wines all lined up on a table. At first glance, without swirling the glasses or holding them up to the light, it’s hard to see much difference among the wines. But pick up a glass, take a whiff, and taste, and you’ll start to notice each wine’s nuances. That’s exactly the way different varieties (and forms) of vanilla show their true colors.