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Camilla And Chat Nielsen Honored By The Specialty Food Association

Posted on Wednesday 15 June 2016

Camilla & Chatfield Nielsen

We are thrilled to announce that our parents, Camilla and Chat Nielsen, second-generation owners of Nielsen-Massey, have been selected for induction into the Specialty Food Association’s Hall of Fame, which “honors individuals whose accomplishments, impact, contributions, innovations and successes within the specialty food industry deserve praise and recognition.”

Chatfield Nielsen, Jr. joined his father at Nielsen-Massey in 1958 and took over as president in the 70’s. At that time, he had the incredible foresight to see the potential for natural foods and focussed Nielsen-Massey on becoming the Pure Vanilla Specialists, producing only natural, pure vanilla products. In the early 80’s, Chat oversaw another important milestone: our first product for the mass retail market (up to this point, we had been strictly working with food manufacturers and some restaurants). Soon after, he exhibited at the Specialty Food Association’s Fancy Food Show for the first time. So the story goes, since he hadn’t brought anyone else with him to man the booth, he survived on the meats (and camaraderie) of the sausage company in the next booth over. In 1992, Chat moved the company to our current facility in Waukegan, Illinois and then, unfortunately, passed away later that year.

Camilla Nielsen started working at the company in 1979 and took over management duties after the passing of Chat. Under her leadership, the company made many incredible innovations that would have a great impact on our business as well as the specialty food industry. This includes the creation of several revolutionary culinary products (Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Powder, Organic Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract and Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste) and the opening of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas International, our manufacturing facility in Leeuwarden, Netherlands that improved our ability to cost-effectively distribute our pure vanilla products to Europe. In 2005, Camilla passed the company on to the third generation (Craig Nielsen as CEO, Matt Nielsen as COO and Beth Nielsen would join a year later as Chief Culinary Officer, Director-International) staying on as chairman of the board for several years. In 2009, Camilla helped found The Nielsen-Massey Foundation whose goal is to assist disadvantaged children and adults with education and leadership development, especially in the field of culinary arts.

Chat and Camilla will be honored, along with 47 other specialty food pioneers (many of whom are friends and customers) at a ceremony on Monday, June 27, 2016, 5:00 – 6:30pm conducted at the Summer Fancy Food Show in Special Events Hall, 1D, at New York’s Javits Center.

We couldn’t be more proud of our parents and their legacy. If you are planning to attend the Fancy Food Show, we hope to see you at the event or our booth (#1559).

– Craig, Beth & Matt Nielsen

Nielsen-Massey @ 11:35 am  
Filed under: Awards & Honors andIn Tribute

Remembering Chef Phila Hach, Cookbook Author & TV Personality

Posted on Wednesday 16 December 2015

We’d like to take a moment to remember the legendary Chef Phila Hach, the “Grande Dame of Southern cooking”, who sadly passed away earlier this month at the grand age of 89.

She hosted the first television cooking show in the South and went on to become a cookbook author, restaurateur, innkeeper and catering chef to politicians & military flights.

In addition to being a friend, we had the opportunity to interview her as our Featured Chef. You can read that story here. Or, take a peek into Phila’s inspiring life in this beautiful video by Southern Foodways Alliance on NPR.

We’ll miss our dear friend, Phila.
– Beth, Craig and Matt Nielsen
3rd-generation family owners of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas


Photo of a 2008 chef dinner in Phila Hach’s honor. From left to right: (second row) Joseph Settepani of Pasticceria Bruno, Matt Nielsen, Scott Ewing of the International Sugar Art Collection, Chef Anil Rohira of Felchlin – World’s best chocolate, Biagio Settepani of Pasticceria Bruno, two unidentified chefs, En-Ming Hsu of The French Pastry School, Ashley Brauze of Boutique & cafe, Chef Nicholas Lodge behind Ashley, Ebow Dadzie of New York Marriott Marquis. (front row) Robert Ellinger, Franz Ziegler, Phila Hach, unidentified chef, Ewald Notter and Beth Nielsen.

A:BRA @ 10:21 am  
Filed under: In Tribute

A Tribute To Our Friend, Chuck Williams, Founder of Williams-Sonoma

Posted on Tuesday 8 December 2015

We’re sad to note the passing of Chuck Williams. He was a culinary innovator who built a lasting legacy on a simple idea: provide top quality cooking and ingredient essentials to chefs and home cooks.

Over the last year, we’ve had the privilege to work with the Williams-Sonoma team in celebrating Chucks’ 100th birthday. It has been a fun look back at his life and achievements as well as how he has affected our own lives and company.

Our company has been crafting fine vanillas and flavors since 1907. But, up until 1980, we focused on working with bakeries, chefs and food manufacturers. After discovering our vanilla at a cooking school, Chuck Williams had the insight that discerning home cooks would love our pure vanilla extract. We can actually remember the dinner conversation in which our dad, second-generation owner, Chat Nielsen, Jr. announced that “some guy” called and wanted to put our vanilla in his stores.

That phone call was the beginning of a successful business relationship (we’re a Williams-Sonoma Heritage brand and have been their exclusive vanilla ever since), but it also began our long-lasting friendship with Chuck. We’ll greatly miss him. And yet, while he may no longer be with us, his influence will live on in our hearts and our kitchens.

Craig, Beth & Matt Nielsen
3rd-generation family owners of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas



Nielsen-Massey @ 4:54 pm  
Filed under: In Tribute

ChicagonistaLIVE In Our Demo Kitchen

Posted on Monday 23 December 2013

In December 2013, ChicagonistaLIVE filmed a Holiday episode in our demo kitchen featuring Bent Fork Bakery, Capannari Ice Cream, North Shore Distillery and The French Pastry School. Check out the episode which features seasonal tips and holiday fun!

nmvsite @ 10:55 am  
Filed under: Uncategorized

Our Thoughts On The Passing Of Charlie Trotter…

Posted on Friday 8 November 2013

We honor the memory of our friend, Charlie Trotter, and his impact on the culinary world. He passed too soon, but his legacy will live on in the long list of esteemed chefs he mentored, many of whom are now, in turn, mentoring those who will become the esteemed chefs of tomorrow. Even more, we respect and greatly appreciate the philosophies he advocated: paying close attention to every detail, using the best ingredients, and elevating food to its highest level. We’ve seen how these ideas have changed food over the last few decades and thank him for his part in bringing these concepts to the table.

Read (and/or hear) more about his legacy in this NPR report:

nmvsite @ 11:29 am  
Filed under: Uncategorized

Video: Eric Lanlard Demos Two Recipes For French Pastry School Students

Posted on Thursday 14 March 2013

In November 2012, Chef Eric Lanlard (a.k.a Cake Boy), a UK Chef, TV host, Master Pâtissier and cookbook author, performed demos of two recipes from his newest cookbook, Tart It Up! for students of Chicago’s French Pastry School. The two dishes, a Salmon, Whole-Grain Mustard And Dill Tartlet and a Pecan Pie showed off the savory and sweet side of our vanillas.

Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract Receives Bon Appétit’s “Approval!”

Posted on Monday 18 February 2013

In the December issue of Bon Appétit, the publication listed 50 products in four categories that “will upgrade every aspect of your culinary life, guaranteed” and awarded them the Bon Appétit Seal of Approval. We’re both honored and excited to have had them choose our Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract as the recipient of the Bon Appétit Seal of Approval for Best Vanilla Extract.

The complementary write up cites our vanilla’s “aromatic” nature and points out that we source our beans from Madagascar before going on to say that “even with only a few drops at stake, there’s no cookie, confection, or whipped cream you should make without it.”

We could not agree more.

Click here to see the article on Bon Appétit’s website, complete with the full list of “approved” products.

Or, now that you know which vanilla is the approved choice of one of the premier epicurean publications, maybe you just need some recipe ideas:

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pecan Pie
Not So Blonde Brownies

What are you baking this time of year? We’d love to hear your ideas.

nmvsite @ 9:34 pm  
Filed under: Awards & Honors andBaking andHoliday Foods andMadagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract

Baking For The Holidays? A Checklist Of Pantry Must-Haves

Posted on Wednesday 12 December 2012

This article featuring holiday baking tips has appeared online and in newspapers throughout the US. We thought it was worth placing on our own website as well. Enjoy!

(BPT) – A holiday season without baked goodies would be like a movie without popcorn, burgers without fries or a sundae sans cherry: good but not quite perfect. If you enjoy baking traditional holiday favorites, you may also like trying new recipes. Experimenting with new recipes is easier if you start out with a well-stocked pantry.

While some holiday recipes might call for unusual ingredients that require a trip to the gourmet food store, some ingredients are ubiquitous. Keep those ingredients in your pantry year-round and you’ll be on track to bake up a storm this holiday season.

The baking gurus at Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, a more than 100-year-old family-run flavoring company, offer this checklist of must-have items to help ensure your pantry is well-stocked for holiday baking:

• Flour – Some type of flour is the foundation of most baking. Your pantry should always have a supply of all-purpose white baking flour, but don’t forget to add some other common, useful varieties like whole wheat, unbleached or semolina.

• Sweeteners – Refined white sugar, of course, is a reliable stand-by for sweetening any recipe. But many holiday recipes may call for alternative sweeteners like confectioner’s sugar, maple syrup, brown sugar or honey. And, if you’re baking for folks with dietary restrictions, you’ll need artificial sweeteners. Many brands of artificial sweeteners now offer varieties specifically designed for use in baking.

• Extracts – Holiday baking cries out for certain flavors, like peppermint, almond, chocolate and vanilla. You can find an extract for virtually every flavor under the sun, but keeping an ample supply of the staples, like Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, will ensure you have the perfect flavoring on hand for a variety of dishes – from holiday baked goods to main courses and side dishes. The family-run company uses a proprietary cold extraction process that slowly and gently draws the delicate and distinctive flavor from the vanilla beans.

• Spices – Certain spices just speak to the holiday season, but they’re also useful throughout the year. Keep your pantry stocked with holiday-appropriate spices like cinnamon, allspice, ground ginger, nutmeg and cloves.

• Fruits and nuts – While some recipes may call for fresh fruits and nuts, others will require dried varieties. Walnuts, almonds, pecans, raisins, candied ginger and even dried apricots and cranberries are all good starting points for a well-stocked holiday pantry.

• Grains – What would oatmeal raisin cookies be without the oatmeal? Holiday recipes often call for grains and cereals, including oatmeal, cornmeal and bran.

• Leavening – Many cookies don’t require a leavening agent or stabilizer, but cakes and breads may, so include yeast, baking soda and baking powder in your pantry.

• Shortening – Vegetable oil, shortening and lard are staples of baking. To lighten a recipe without sacrificing taste, try naturally lighter oils like canola.

• Milk – You may not use it at any other time of year, but holiday baking often calls for evaporated milk. Sweetened condensed milk is also incorporated in many recipes. A can or two of each, purchased ahead of the holidays, will ensure you don’t have to make a special trip to the grocery store for this less-used ingredient.

Now that your pantry is prepped for the holidays, try this festive recipe from Nielsen-Massey: Crisp Vanilla Butter Cookies

This article is presented by Brandpoint.

nmvsite @ 10:09 am  
Filed under: Baking andHoliday Foods

Ready To Get Inspired?

Posted on Wednesday 21 March 2012

We love to talk about food so we’ve devoted this section of our site to discussing the delicious results that can occur from different flavor, cuisine or ingredient combinations.

We’ll be posting prompts, such as “How would you combine Pure Orange Extract and Pure Almond Extract. We’ll be sharing some of our ideas (mmm, how about Biscotti?) and hopefully, you’ll share some of yours as well. It’ll be a way for us all to discover new recipes and push ourselves to try new techniques and flavor combos.

So that said, how would you combine Orange and Almond? We’d love to hear your ideas.


Nielsen-Massey @ 4:52 pm  
Filed under: About andPure Almond Extract andPure Orange Extract