I will be the first to admit that until a year or so ago, I never gave much thought to what kind of vanilla extract I used. Then I met the attractive bottle pictured above. It was given as a sample from one of our food purveyors when I started asking about Tennessee products they carried. Of course, Madagascar vanilla beans are not being cultivated here locally, but it is produced and sold by Bell Buckle Company Store. They are, as you might guess, located in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, but have products available at several Nashville area stores and also online.
It only took a couple of recipes of substituting to know this would be the only vanilla we would use going forward. It adds such a rich, true vanilla flavor to anything you desire, but without overpowering. This is the real deal, no sugar added, no syrups, just vanilla beans, alcohol, and water. Do not let the "Bourbon" scare you; it will not make everything you bake taste like the bottom of a bottle of Kentucky's finest.
We are no longer using the small attractive bottles anymore, we have moved on to the half gallon size! If you love to bake, give this vanilla a try next time you run out. I think you will appreciate the difference, I sure did. Next time you give us a visit, see if you can taste that little something extra in our desserts, french toast, and whipped cream. Vanilla may be a small piece of the puzzle, but starting with only the best ingredients is key in how we create a meal you can remember until your next visit.