Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Product Review and FREE Giveaway: Nielsen Massey Vanilla
And one of the most common ingredients, for sweets, is vanilla. I never use the imitation stuff, but I'm never sure about whether one brand of extract is better than another. So recently, I gladly accepted a 2 oz. review bottle of Nielsen Massey Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract.
Now what does that name mean? Is that just a fancy way of saying, "pricey"?
No, it isn't, although it is a little redundant. The island of Madagascar used to be called, by the French at least, l'Ile Bourbon. And Madagascar is the source of what is reputed to be some of the best vanilla in the world.
So - to quote from Nielsen Massey, their vanilla extract is made from "premium, hand-selected beans cultivated on the Bourbon Island of Madagascar," using their "proprietary cold extraction process to gently draw out and preserve the vanilla's over 300 flavor compounds. The result is a sweet, creamy, mellow flavor with velvety after-tones, perfect for cooking and baking both sweet and savory dishes. An exceptional 'all-purpose' vanilla."
In point of fact, this stuff's not that expensive, even if it does cost a little more than the cheap stuff. A 32-ounce bottle contains 192 teaspoons. That's enough for a lot of baking, and at around $31 a bottle, that works out to about 17 cents a teaspoon. (It does come in smaller sizes, at a somewhat higher per-unit price.) But for a given cake or batch of cookies, we're talking about a few pennies extra over imitation vanilla.
Is it worth it? Only you can answer that. But why not find out for yourself? I have a 2-oz. bottle to give away to a reader. It will be shipped to you directly from Nielsen Massey. Just leave a comment, however brief, after this post and you'll be entered to win. Sure, it's just a bottle of vanilla extract, but hey, it's free, and next time you bake for a crowd, you can tell your guests, "This was made from some of the finest vanilla on earth."
If you're not sure what you'd bake with it, check out Nielsen Massey's website for recipe ideas. If you are lucky enough to have an ice cream maker, be sure to try this recipe and celebrate National Ice Cream Month.
I'll pick a winner this Friday. Check back Friday afternoon to see if you've won.