Vanilla is an essential cooking ingredient for which there is no true substitute. The flavor of real vanilla is made up of over 250 organic components, which gives it great depth and complexity, compared to only one flavor component in artificial vanilla. There are three main types of vanilla: Madagascar Bourbon (named after the Bourbon islands not the liquor), Tahitian (fruity),and Mexican (spicy). Here is a list of premium vanilla extracts that I consider to be the very best.
Check out the Top Ten Vanilla Extract Brands
Photo courtesy of the Blue Cattle Truck Trading Company.