Why Herbie’s Vanilla Bean Paste?

For many years Herbie has been frustrated with the inability to source a really good Vanilla Bean Paste.

Why is this so?

Most vanilla bean pastes are made up of:

  • spent vanilla (that’s the organic material left over after the process of making vanilla extract)
  • sugar syrup
  • various thickeners
  • vanilla extract in alcohol added back in for flavour.

These products contain a very small percentage of vanilla, as this image of an unnamed brand shows:

Common extenders in these pastes are alcohol, water and thickeners such as Xanthan Gum and/or Gum Tragacanth.

Notice how gummy the paste looks!

What really cracks Herbie up is that nearly all these products are labelled as “Pure Vanilla Bean Paste”!


So, what did Herbie do?

Due to his concerns about vanilla bean pastes, Herbie visited the Papua New Guinea Highlands in late 2016, where a number of spices are produced. As well as sourcing beautiful Bird’s Eye Chillies, Wild Sogeri Ginger and Green Chilli Powder, Herbie assisted his supplier to develop a truly rich, thick, unadulterated Vanilla Bean Paste.

The result!

A true vanilla bean paste made simply from ground up vanilla beans, sugar, water and a very small amount of lemon juice to help stabilise the paste.

As you can see, this thick paste may not pour easily, but it delivers a real vanilla hit, undiluted by other ingredients.


VANILLA BEAN PASTE - NATURAL 140gHerbie’s Spices Vanilla Bean Paste only contains sugar, water, vanilla beans and lemon juice.
Each 130g jar is the equivalent of over 20 large, plump, premium grade whole vanilla beans. One 5mL teaspoonful of Herbie’s Spices vanilla bean paste is the flavour equivalent of the seeds scraped from one whole premium grade vanilla bean.
Use in desserts and with cream, and in any sweet recipes calling for vanilla.

For more information about vanilla and many other herbs and spices, see the 800 page Spice and Herb Bible by Ian “Herbie” Hemphill with recipes by daughter Kate Hemphill.