A bulk source for vanilla beans
I have recently taken up baking and would like to know if anyone has a mail order source for vanilla beans in bulk. I am currently paying $6-7 for single beans and using about 1 per weekend. Are they just that expensive or can money be saved by buying in bulk.
The best source that I know of for vanilla beans is on the web. It's the Vanilla.COMpany. I belong to a group in San Francisco called The Bakers Dozen whose membership includes lots of pastry chefs and cookbook writers. This company is the favorite supplier for many members of the group -- at our last meeting David Lebovitz, cookbook writer and former pastry chef at Chez Panisse, gave them his highest recommendation.
These folks have both retail and wholesale (bulk) sales divisions.
Here's the link:
That price seems expensive even for Nielsen Massey beans at Williams Sonoma, which I think are 2 beans for $6.95. You can also get them from
thebakerscatalogue.com on line for the same price. Be careful about product quality-you need to get moist plump beans. I have found some cheaper beans to be dried out and not worth the savings.
Ask and ye shall receive (link below). I've ordered other things from Penzey's, and they've been uniformly high quality. At 15 beans for $25.49 + shipping, they're a considerable savings from what you're paying now.
Also, my sweetheart the baker tells me Trader Joe's has started carrying vanilla beans. Don't know the price, but I'm sure it's less than you're paying now.