20080626-vanilla.jpgWith the dust still not settled on the strawberry ice cream issue, another ice cream controversy is a-brewing here at Serious Eats World HQ. This time it's a vanilla ice cream question that has us vexed.

Do the little black vanilla bean dots in certain brands of vanilla ice cream necessarily connote quality? In other words, are the vanilla ice creams with the black specks better than ones that are just plain vanilla (ha, ha)?

I think the answer is no. There are plenty of high-end vanilla extracts around that probably provide as much or more pure vanilla flavor than those little black specks. Certain serious eaters, who will remain nameless, swear by those little black specks. Once again I am calling upon serious eaters everywhere to settle this internecine dispute. What do you think: Do the specks make a difference?


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