I've very slowly come to the realization that I don't really care for vanilla, especially the more floral Tahitian vanilla, which I actively dislike. The realization has been slow, because vanilla is in so many things that we we tend to think of it as a "background" or "neutral" flavor, if we think about it at all. While I know many chowhounds are very vanilla savvy, in the wider culture, "vanilla" has come to be synonymous with "bland," even though it's actually a rather strong and distinctive flavor.
In the last couple of years I've done a lot of chocolate tasting -- not just eating and enjoying, but actually thinking about the flavor components. And I began to realize that it was chocolate that didn't have vanilla that really made me go "wow"!
I went into my local chocolate pusher ... uh, purveyor today and asked the head guy there which of his chocolates didn't have vanilla. I stumped him! I knew about my favorite Vintage Plantations, but close examination revealed that one of my favorite new lines -- Coppeneur -- also doesn't include vanilla in most of their bars, nor does Domori. Close inspection revealed that the Rococo Artisan bars (the dark chocolate ones) also were vanilla-free.
Does anyone know of any other chocolate makers that don't use vanilla?