Vanilla in Cozumel?

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#1
Alabama
80 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
I've noticed several people mentioned buying vanilla in Cozumel. Being a fairly avid baker (especially around the holidays), I would love to pick some up when I sail there on the Legend in May 2012. Is there a particular store that is best to go to? What size bottles are typically sold? Average price?
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#2
4,299 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
You can get it anywhere, even gift shops. I know nothing of the average size. We bought 4.2 oz bottles. Don't recall the price, other then it wasn't a killer.

I saw some much larger bottles also.
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#3
Tallahassee , FL
14,344 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by into_the_myst88
I've noticed several people mentioned buying vanilla in Cozumel. Being a fairly avid baker (especially around the holidays), I would love to pick some up when I sail there on the Legend in May 2012. Is there a particular store that is best to go to? What size bottles are typically sold? Average price?
You can buy it in the DUFRY shop you have to pass through to get on or off the pier into the shopping area. Los Conco Soles has a branch in Puerta Maya just beyond the gateway to the taxis. Prices are similar and not any different than any downtown shop. Several sizes are available.
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#4
nashua, n.h.
99 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
vanilla is fabulous, I was there a few years back and had hired a local for a tour, he brought me to a grocery store and I paid 1/2 of what they wanted in the gift shops
#5
833 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by tarjudy
vanilla is fabulous, I was there a few years back and had hired a local for a tour, he brought me to a grocery store and I paid 1/2 of what they wanted in the gift shops
Chedraui:
The downtown core has many small tourist shops, as well as several large grocery/variety chain stores. Of these, Chedraui was Cozumel's largest -- before the Mega opened in 2008. Chedraui stocks food, beer, liquor, prescription and OTC medicines, household and personal care products, clothing, and most anything else you may have forgotten to bring on vacation, and at reasonable prices considering how far many of the items travelled to be on the shelves.

Besides the Chedraui there is a small shopping mall behind the store which contains shops and Cinepolis cinemas with 6 very modern cinemas.(some in English with sub-titles and some in Spanish).

The store is located about 15 minutes walk south of the town center along the waterfront street, Melgar. It is right across from the Cozumel Palace and about 3 blocks north of the Hotel Cozumel and Scuba Club Cozumel.


MEGA:

Cozumel ’s newest grocery store (11/08), Mega, opened to rave reviews. It's larger the older Chedraui supermarket and is owned by the largest supermarket/variety store chain in Mexico. One nice feature here is that they have a cashier lane where English is spoken -- almost impossible to find in Chedraui.

You will also find a large selection of famous-brand shampoos, soap, razors, etc. It has almost anything you will need. The produce is fresh and the selection is good. They have a good selection of meat. They even have frozen bagels and pizza from the USA . There are independent retailers, such as GNC, Telcel and an ice cream shop on the first floor and MEGA occupies the second floor.

ATM machines are located near the check outs. There is a cab stand out front so a rental car isn't needed and you don't need to flag a cab.

Located on Melgar south of Punta Longosta Mall; across the street from Jeannie's Waffle House.
#8
3,035 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
I also bake alot. I bought a huge bottle (33.2 oz) in a shop right by the pier for $9. It also says on the bottle that it does not contain coumarin.
#9
Michigan
92 Posts
Joined Jun 2007
Originally posted by AmdanaB
Mexican vanilla can contain an extract called courmarin. This can be toxic to the liver. Here is a little more information on it and tips when buying vanilla in Mexico.

http://www.snopes.com/food/ingredient/vanilla.asp

I buy mine on globalgoods.com. The bottle says that it does not contain courmarin.
Wow! That was a great article~ thanks for sharing. I've bought lots of Mexican vanilla in the past and had never heard of this. I will for sure be reading the labels in the future.
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#10
Acton, Ma
209 Posts
Joined Apr 2001
Remember that you need to pack it in your suitcases on your return trip since you can only bring in liquids up to 3oz in a carryon....bring many ziplock bags , of all sizes to be assured no leakage occurs!!
#13
448 Posts
Joined Aug 2007
I use to buy my vanilla in Cozumel everytime I went because I have a baking biz. But the last company I bought from had an email address on the bottle and so now all I have to do is order it from them and they ship it to me . They have a warehouse in the US now
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#14
Collinsville
366 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Thanks for the info....was planning to pick up a couple of bottles, now I will make certain I read the label!
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#16
3,035 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Originally posted by notsurewhatmynameshouldbe
Any idea what the name of the shop is?
No, but most of the shops by the pier had vanilla and they were all pretty much the same brand and price.
#17
San Diego, CA
9,225 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
My apologies for dusting off an old post, but I thought I would share some information on Vanilla for those who are searching for this information.

Most vanilla that you buy in the US (or anywhere else) is synthetic. By "most" I mean in excess of 95%. The reason is because natural vanilla isn't plentiful, and a massive amount of vanilla flavoring is needed by industry for all kinds of things (soda, candy, baking, etc.). Vanilla extract is synthetic. Dark colored "vanilla", and clear "vanilla" are also synthetic. "Pure" vanilla is created by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol for several days, and will be amber in color. Pure vanilla is also required to contain at least 35% alcohol. Any vanilla labeled low alcohol or alcohol free (which some people like) is not real vanilla.

Coumarin is a the bad guy of the vanilla industry. It is derived from the tonka bean, which can be used to make flavoring very similar to vanilla. This chemical is toxic and has been banned in the US. Unfortunately, you will still find this in Mexican vanilla if you're not careful. Make sure the bottle says "Coumarin Free"

So, now that we know that most vanilla is synthetic (including everything you've seen in your local grocery store), where do you find the good stuff? Well, you need to know what to look for. I have discovered several brands and purchase options, unfortunately most of them you will not find when in tourist areas of Mexico. All that stuff you see selling for $8 a bottle in the t-shirt shop? Not pure vanilla. Expect to pay $15 or more for a 500ml bottle of good vanilla.

The best vanilla in Mexico, in my opinion, is made by the Orlando family (http://www.orlandomx.com/homeing.html). I don't often see Orlando brand vanilla in ports, but there are two other brands made in the same production facility, both of which I see frequently.

Reyna
Los Cinco Soles

http://www.orlandomx.com/products.html

The nice thing about the Los Cinco Soles brand is that they sell it at the Los Cinco Soles stores which dot the tourist areas of Mexico. There is one such store upstairs in the outdoor mall at the Punta Langosta (downtown) cruise ship terminal in Cozumel. We found Reyna in a local store down the street.

Does it matter? YES! You will immediately tell the difference between this and synthetic vanilla. Luckily, you can buy the Los Cinco Soles brand online at http://www.loscincosoles.com/products/vanilla. The price you see listed includes shipping to the US as well. If you do an online search for "pure mexican vanilla" you will find other sellers of high quality vanilla in the US. Again, the pure stuff needs to at least 35% alcohol, Coumarin free, and called PURE in the title. mexicanvanilla.com and vanilla.com are two online sellers with the good stuff.

Hope that helped.
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#18
Alvin Tx right down the road from Galveston!
1,512 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
I have been using the Cinco Soles vanilla and it just maskes my baking taste so much better! I love it! I go again in March and will pick up soem more even though I have alot left. I do like the little bottles so much. So I plan to get more of those.
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#19
S. E. Texas
364 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Originally posted by sdmike
My apologies for dusting off an old post, but I thought I would share some information on Vanilla for those who are searching for this information.

Most vanilla that you buy in the US (or anywhere else) is synthetic. By "most" I mean in excess of 95%. The reason is because natural vanilla isn't plentiful, and a massive amount of vanilla flavoring is needed by industry for all kinds of things (soda, candy, baking, etc.). Vanilla extract is synthetic. Dark colored "vanilla", and clear "vanilla" are also synthetic. "Pure" vanilla is created by soaking vanilla beans in alcohol for several days, and will be amber in color. Pure vanilla is also required to contain at least 35% alcohol. Any vanilla labeled low alcohol or alcohol free (which some people like) is not real vanilla.

Coumarin is a the bad guy of the vanilla industry. It is derived from the tonka bean, which can be used to make flavoring very similar to vanilla. This chemical is toxic and has been banned in the US. Unfortunately, you will still find this in Mexican vanilla if you're not careful. Make sure the bottle says "Coumarin Free"

So, now that we know that most vanilla is synthetic (including everything you've seen in your local grocery store), where do you find the good stuff? Well, you need to know what to look for. I have discovered several brands and purchase options, unfortunately most of them you will not find when in tourist areas of Mexico. All that stuff you see selling for $8 a bottle in the t-shirt shop? Not pure vanilla. Expect to pay $15 or more for a 500ml bottle of good vanilla.

The best vanilla in Mexico, in my opinion, is made by the Orlando family (http://www.orlandomx.com/homeing.html). I don't often see Orlando brand vanilla in ports, but there are two other brands made in the same production facility, both of which I see frequently.

Reyna
Los Cinco Soles

http://www.orlandomx.com/products.html

The nice thing about the Los Cinco Soles brand is that they sell it at the Los Cinco Soles stores which dot the tourist areas of Mexico. There is one such store upstairs in the outdoor mall at the Punta Langosta (downtown) cruise ship terminal in Cozumel. We found Reyna in a local store down the street.

Does it matter? YES! You will immediately tell the difference between this and synthetic vanilla. Luckily, you can buy the Los Cinco Soles brand online at http://www.loscincosoles.com/products/vanilla. The price you see listed includes shipping to the US as well. If you do an online search for "pure mexican vanilla" you will find other sellers of high quality vanilla in the US. Again, the pure stuff needs to at least 35% alcohol, Coumarin free, and called PURE in the title. mexicanvanilla.com and vanilla.com are two online sellers with the good stuff.

Hope that helped.
Thanks for all the interesting info! I can't wait to get some when I go in May! Now I know what to look for!
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