Vanilla essence comes in such small bottles here in Switzerland. In South Africa we got something a little different, a bigger bottle, dark colour and really good vanilla smell. All I've found here are these tiny tiny bottles of clear liquid.
So my mom advised me to use vanilla sugar instead. Here's how to make your own:
2-3 cups sugar with one vanilla pod. Slice the vanilla pod open lengthwise using the back of a knife. Not all the way through and leave the ends in tact. Scrape out the seeds and mix with the sugar. It will smell divine instantly! Leave the whole vanilla pod in the sugar. Keep your vanilla sugar in an air tight container and leave for 2 weeks. Then it will be ready to use in anything that needs some vanilla flavouring. It's apparently also good in tea and coffee. I'll have to wait 2 weeks, then I'll try that.