Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No Substitute for Real Vanilla

While making oatmeal raisin cookies for a friend, I reached for the bottle of vanilla. Not a single drop was left. Uh oh. Time for a day trip to Charles H. Baldwin and Sons in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where they have been making the best quality vanilla extract for the past 150 years!

Once a person uses pure vanilla from this quaint New England store, supermarket vanilla goes right out the window forever.

West Stockbridge is a great little town to visit, even if no vanilla is needed. Going into Baldwin's store is like stepping into yesterday. It seems not much has changed there over the decades.

Candies and cards, childrens' gifts, note cards, and a huge array of other items jam the store from floor to ceiling.

The extracts are the best! The pistachio extract tastes luscious in a glass of milk. Maple is divine in frosting. And numerous other flavors such as anise, almond, orange, lemon, and so on are available. They also have mail order so you can check out their online store!

Get ready to enjoy rich, yummy vanilla extract that will tickle your taste buds for all the cookies, cakes, and candies to come.

P.S. By the way, I substituted some of the maple extract in those oatmeal raisin cookies and they came out great! My friend loved them.



Bookie said...

I use Double Strength Vanilla from Penzy's but your post makes me want to try some of your brand! :)

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Real Vanilla! No substitute for the real thing!

Susan (Between Naps on the Porch) said...

Hey Susan!
Well, I thought I was using the real stuff...but this sounds way better! I'm gonna check them out online. Thanks for sharing this neat store...wish I could see it in person. Love places like this! :)

Andrea said...

Hi Susan!
I know, it's been a long time, but I'm still around. I know that I'll be on here a lot more when the weather gets chilly again.
I'm afraid that I use imitation, only because I'm always too cheap to go the extra mile and buy the real stuff. Those flavors that you mentioned sound yummy. Never heard of pistachio flavoring before. The store sounds neat!
I bet you're a great cook!

T's Daily Treasures said...

Hi Susan, it is sometimes hard to find any kind of vanilla around here except the powdered kind and I don't even know how to use that. I tried substituting it one time for the extract and the results were awful.

I have an Australian friend who used to live in Ghana and loved it. She talks about going back one day. I think her dad may still be there. Of course, she talks every year about going back to Australia too, but she's still here in Kuwait.

Oma was from Germany and in the last year, she would revert to German when speaking to us, forgetting that not everyone could understand the language. We would just nod and smile and she was content with that.

Best wishes to you and yours, Tammy

Susan said...

Hi Susan,
What a totally great post! I want to go to Stockbridge and visit Charles Baldwin and Son's store. It's wonderful! I love old stores like this and they are getting more and more rare where I come from. My husband and I are hoping to make a trip to New England for our honeymoon, and I hope we will be around that area so we can stop in for a an hour or two and I can load up on the extracts.

Oh, and I always use real vanilla extract. However, I really want to try the Charles Baldwin and Son's stuff. I bet it tops them all.

Oh, and the Sweet Annie. You wanted to know where I got it. Here are two places:


The Pioneer Heritage Shoppe

I've found it here and there around the web, but I'll tell you, so far, The Flower Patch has had the best Sweet Annie so far. It's lovely.

I hope you have a super great week!

Leann said...

Oh I'm in love with this store just by looking at your photos. and yes, I only use real vanilla. So they have a website, I'd love to buy some.


My Cottage Charm said...

Hey Susan
Thought I'd drop in and check out your chandelier posts. :) I love all the "jewelry" on the one from June 4th. :)
Don't be offended that I don't love brass's just that I LOVED it for so long, I got tired of it. I had a LONG time love affair with it and I needed a change. :)
Thanks for commenting on my chandy, glad you liked it! :)
Have a blessed day!

Claus said...

What a great place! Another one I'm sure I would have a great time at. Unfortunately, I cannot cook or bake! :-( so I can't say I use any extracts. I started to make my little experiments with baking last year, but other than some cookies and muffins, I haven't tried anything new. Maybe I should!
Have a great day!

Linda O'Connell said...

As any good grandma would, I gave my bottle of real vanilla to my granddaughter who was moving out and setting up housekeeping, and I bought imitation.

Rebecca said...

Amber isn't the only thing you can buy in the Dominican Republic! Each time I went and every time someone I know is going, I stock my shelf with another bottle! Once you use the real thing, you don't go back to imitation.

I'd like to buy it just once (in person) at Baldwins & Sons. What a quaint place.

Dayle said...

I use something that says, "Pure Vanilla Extract" on the bottle. I guess it is. :)

Chatty Crone said...

Oh my goodness I would love to have a shop like that around me. I use the real thing! sandie

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