Home >> Main Index >> Mexican Recipes >> Mexican Vanilla

Mexican Vanilla

Vainilla Mexicana

Main Index
A Taste of Oaxaca, Mexico in Toronto
Seven Moles of Oaxaca
Food of the Gods
Recipes from Pilar Cabrera
La Casa de los Sabores B&B
Casa de los Sabores Cooking School
Chef Pilar Cabrera in Toronto
More recipe links
Food Vocabulary
Mexican vanilla is something tourists often buy when visiting Mexico. This is because you can find it cheaper in Mexico than in many other parts of the world and because pure Mexican vanilla is prized for its flavor. But did you know that most of what is labeled as "pure vanilla" actually is not.

Pure vanilla is expensive because it is difficult to grow commercially and is tedious to process. Actually, Mexico is no longer a significant producer of vanilla--most of it now comes from Madagascar where it can be produced more economically.

Is it real?   So how do you know if it's real vanilla. If it's inexpensive, it is not real vanilla. If it's expensive it is either real vanilla or it's a tourist ripoff. Since it is expensive, it is more likely to be sold in smaller bottles. Real vanilla has an amber color. Synthetic vanilla is often darker in color. Pure Mexican vanilla, though rare, is still some of the best vanilla there is. Whole vanilla beans may also be purchased. The Mexican vanilla bean is thicker and darker than the Madagasgar bean. Look for beans that are moist, plump and tender, not shriveled and hard.

Courmarin is a product used to make a flavoring similar to vanilla. It is widely used for synthetic vanilla in Mexico. It was originally used as a rat and mouse poisin. It is toxic and can cause liver damage and cancer.

Do you have something to add? Email tom@tomzap.com.

Posa brand "pure natural" vanilla didn't even smell like vanilla. Don't buy it.

This L'Postre brand vanilla we thought was pretty good. This is an old bottle from around 1980.

We bought this La Vencedora brand vanilla at our local Mexican grocery in Leander, Texas. While the label clearly says that it's natural vanilla and lists no artificial ingredients, there is another label added to the side that lists the ingredients including artificial vanilla. I think this additional label may have been a requirement to market the product in the U.S. The label does say that it contains no courmarin.

Molina brand vanilla. I haven't opened this one yet. It also states that it contains no courmarin (an artificial vanilla/rat poison).

This page has been visited times since November 13, 2010.

| Top of page | Main index | Search | What's new |
The Pacific Coast of Mexico www.tomzap.com Tom Penick:  tom@tomzap.com