Whole Vanilla Beans
Estate beans from Mexico.
Thanks to the help of Maricel Presilla (one of Latin America's most knowledgeable food writers), we've been able to get dibs on Mexico's only estate harvest of vanilla. Grown using essentially organic methods, the beans are wonderfully thick, moist, lusciously loaded with seeds. Great vanilla like this is probably the most sensuously aromatic food in the world.
Baking with vanilla beans instead of the more commonly used extracts may be a tad bit more work, but it adds immeasureably to the flavor of your food.