Vanilla Beans at Santi’s

Fresh vanilla
One of my favorite specialty stores here in Manila is Santi’s. Though I have to say that I also love looking around Terry’s, the convenience of Santi’s being in Alabang is a very big bonus.
I have been going in Santi’s longer than I have been cooking. Mom always bought us the cold cuts we would eat on it’s own or between two breads. We get to choose what we want and off to a feeding frenzy. And the tiny chocolate pralines they have, wrapped only in a thin foil that comes in blue, green or red? One of my simplest pleasures. And I can’t even deny myself the freshly baked blueberry muffin (I’m assuming this is not out of the box) they sometimes offer. Yummy.
It’s been only a couple of years that I have gone inside the store to “hunt” for those ingredients that I want to buy like poppy seeds, semolina, etc. And browsing through their display, I learn so much from the ingredients I don’t even know about or just saw on TV.
Sometimes, I go there to just relax my mind. Though of course, Santi’s is far from being a spa, I sometimes get the same effect. I recently went there one time, with no hunt in my mind. I just wanted to seek inspiration. I was going across their shelves when I saw something that has been playing on my mind for some time now: fresh vanilla beans! I have never, in my life, used fresh vanilla.
Cut up

I have to say I’m not a fan of vanilla. For flavoring cookies and desserts, I never get the point since I don’t really taste or smell the vanillaness of the item afterwards. I don’t even like vanilla laced perfume. When it come to that, vanilla is one of the scents I would last choose in a line up. Of course, these are all based on imitation vanilla scents and extracts.

But fresh vanilla! It’s smells so good. It smells sweeter, none of the crazy scents I’ve been smelling all my life. It’s just so different. Buying them apiece at P86 ($1.72) wasn’t so bad for me. And the fact that I have now new inspirations wasn’t lost on me. After this, I don’t think the bottled flavorings in the supermarket would do me good.

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