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Vanilla Bean Purveyor?

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I've looked at all the prior thread on Chowhound related to vanilla beans and it looks like the 2 most recommended online purveyors are Vanilla Products USA http://stores.ebay.com/Vanilla-Produc... and Saffron-Vanilla Imports http://www.theposter.com/vanilla2.html

I'm looking to get a pound of Grade A Bourbon (Planifolia) beans for baking, general cooking, extract making and gift giving.

Vanilla Beans USA lists both the grade and region grown. Saffron-Vanilla Imports, doesn't specifically list it, so I corresponded with the owner, and the Gourmet Planifolia beans are Grade A and are grown in Papua, New Guinea. In my research, I read that Bourbon beans from PNG, are slightly sweeter tasting - don't know if that's true or not.

Has anyone purchased beans from both of these vendors? If so, do you have a decided preference of vendor? Is the quality/price factor about the same? Or is there another vendor altogether that you'd like to recommend?

Thanks for your help.

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  1. Hi Molly, I've bought beans from both and remain a very satisfied Saffron-Vanilla Imports customer. I buy 100 or more beans at a time and soak most of them in dark rum for use all year long.

    3 Replies
    1. re: HillJ

      Thanks, HillJ. That's good to know. Which variety of beans did you get from Saffron Vanilla Imports?

      I love the idea of storing them in rum to keep them moist!

      1. re: Molly James

        All but the organic actually. Here's the CHOW video that inspired me to keep even fresh pods in rum: http://www.chow.com/videos/show/all/6...

        I keep the pods in rum all the time; not just a few weeks and when I exhaust the seeds out of each pod I dry them on the counter, whirl them in my grinder and use them in baked goods, coffee, sugar, etc. No waste!!

        1. re: HillJ

          Thanks for both the advice and link!

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