Help me find this Mexican Vanilla
April 7, 2006 10:13 AM   Subscribe

My mother has been using one particular brand of Mexican Vanilla for years and is almost out of it. She says she can't find it anymore and I'm kinda bummed because it made the best darned cookies. She says it is called La Puresa (Pureza?) and has a pale yellow label. She used to get it by the quart in liquor stores. Any clue as to where you can find the stuff now?
posted by slim to Food & Drink (13 answers total)
My Spanish is a bit rusty, but I think La Pureza Vanilla just means "pure vanilla". Can you inspect the bottle and see if that's really the brand name?
posted by ewagoner at 10:28 AM on April 7, 2006

Have you tried MexGrocer, or one of the other mail-order online gourmet sites?
posted by lilboo at 10:42 AM on April 7, 2006

Sounds like it could be Molino Real.
posted by Floydd at 10:49 AM on April 7, 2006

Pureza = purity

Pura = pure

Vainilla = vanilla
posted by kcm at 10:56 AM on April 7, 2006

If you are in a city with any decent Mexican population, you should be able to find a store that has all sorts of Mexican products. You can even find Coke without HFCS at most stores or restaurants. Short of that, you may head to a big city or take a trip to Mexico.
posted by JJ86 at 11:10 AM on April 7, 2006

I second mexgrocer!
posted by Pollomacho at 11:25 AM on April 7, 2006

slim: it looks like your mom is looking for a very specific brand but its not one I am familiar with. Perhaps you could post a photo of the bottle? or at least get a more accurate transcription, including perhaps the manufacturer.

There is a brand of milk-related products in Mexico called "La Pureza" but I dont think they make vanilla (I could be wrong) Conversely, the fact that she was picking up quarts of the stuff at a liquor store makes me wonder whether it was vanilla at all and not, say, Rompope (mexican egg-nogg) which typically comes in yellow bottles.

In other words, get more detail from her, especially since she still has the bottle!
posted by vacapinta at 11:37 AM on April 7, 2006

As long as we're talking about Mexican Vanilla, a follow-up question: why the heck is Mexican Vanilla SO much cheaper than its Gringo counterpart? Small bottle (2-4 oz) of real vanilla on an american brand at the store will cost $15-$17, whereas the big 32 oz. bottle of mexican real vanilla costs $7. That's like a 16x-32x difference! What's up with that?

FWIW, I detect no difference taste-wise between the two, and neither admits to using vanillin instead of vanilla (which, incidentally, is typically indistinguishable in taste tests as well).
posted by mcstayinskool at 11:53 AM on April 7, 2006

Mexican vanilla is cheap because most of it is synthectic and isn't reall vanilla. And, it may be toxic.
posted by Xurando at 12:03 PM on April 7, 2006

I don't have time to look it up, and anyway I'm pretty sure it's behind their subscription site, but Cook's Illustrated did a blind tasting which ratified mcstayinskool's statement: their not-inexperienced testers not only could not distinguish between bean and artificial vanilla extract, but often preferred the artificial one.
posted by smellycheese at 12:10 PM on April 7, 2006

Thanks, Xurando. Interesting that I can buy it at my local grocery store if it contains Coumarin, which your link states has been banned from all food products sold in the U.S. for more than 50 years. The FDA tends to be pretty diligent about that stuff, so I wonder if it's still there. My money is on synthetic, not Coumarin, being the difference, but even then they'd be violating FDA rules by stating it is real vanilla.
posted by mcstayinskool at 12:12 PM on April 7, 2006

not only could not distinguish between bean and artificial vanilla extract, but often preferred the artificial one.

Um, maybe "could not identify which was which". Evidently they could distinguish between them.

posted by Aknaton at 12:32 PM on April 7, 2006

I'm wondering if your mom is thinking of the brand called POSA available here or here or here. Check out the other brands too to see if they look familiar to her.

And there's also stuff over on Amazon but the brands look americanized.
posted by bim at 5:28 PM on April 7, 2006

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