Once you have your baker’s hat on, colossal questions come to mind before commencing your first steps in the the art of baking. What brand of flour to use? Baking soda or baking powder? Chocolate chips or chocolate nibs?
Here, although we cannot answer all the baking predicaments you may have, we can clarify a couple of things. For starters; what are the differences between flavourings and extracts? And, how are these different from oils and essences?
Flavouring vs. Extracts
At the core, this choice boils down to (not literally) ‘artificial’ versus ‘natural’.
Flavourings, or “imitation extracts”, although are cheaper and have a longer shelf life, are produced with artificial food-safe additives to be used in products such as bubblegum or candies.
Natural extracts, on the other hand, are produced solely from natural ingredients. Extracts are made by literally extracting the flavor of the source ingredient into a liquid base, usually alcohol. Pure vanilla extract, for example, is made by processing many ounces of vanilla beans (after a process of blanching, sweating, drying and curing them) through the intricate extracting machine assuring that the product is composed of at least 35% alcohol.
Oils (or essences) are a little different, as they are actually the base of the pure extracts – containing no water, alcohol or any artificial ingredients. This is why, in the case of our orange extract, for example, we receive pure, natural orange oil from the region of Tanga then take it one step further to make orange extract. (Oils are used primarily for soaps, candle, natural remedies, etc).
Currently the Epicurious Hedgehog line offers orange, cinnamon, cocoa, coffee and vanilla extracts as well as gourmet vanilla pods (for ICE CREAM!) and cacao solids (powder and nibs). As our stock varies due to normal seasonalities!