Curse you, chef John Crow. You introduced me to your devilish vanilla sugar, and now I need a daily fix of its tropical bean-flecked sweetness. Lately I’ve been sprinkling it into a titration of ginger ale and fresh lemon juice, and I’ve substituted it for plain sugar in everything from whipped cream to mojitos.
Recently, I ran out of my stash and went to buy some vanilla beans to scrape into the plain sugar to make a new batch. For the love of Madagascar, man. Those things are expensive. I’ve been pricing beans at Whole Foods and online, and it’s not uncommon to find a single bean for $5. Next time, just give me a bag of crack if you want to seed an addiction I can’t afford. I’m going to have to get a night job at McCormick’s.
There does appear to be some relief on the Internet, where bulk beans are available. For example, the Bourbon vanilla from Papua New Guinea at Beanilla.com, where I swiped the above photo, is currently on sale for about a dollar a pod. That sounds pretty good, but I was curious if anyone had a trusted spice source they could recommend.