I came across this article in The Eagle Newspaper and I thought it was really interesting. I had never heard of vanilla paste but think that I need to order some and test it out!
Here is the article, its a Q&A with Chef Lisa:
Vanilla paste adds rich flavor without liquid
Dear Lisa: I am an avid Southern Living magazine follower and really enjoy the recipes. Lately, several recipes have called for vanilla paste. I have called several craft stores and whole foods markets in the area and have not located it. Is it possible to make it at home? -- Sheila B.
Dear Sheila: Vanilla bean paste is a sweet concentrated vanilla extract that also contains vanilla seeds. Cooks prefer to use it when they want an intense vanilla flavor but not the additional liquid that extract would add. For instance, when making frostings, even a few extra drops of liquid can compromise the consistency.
Vanilla paste is used measure for measure with vanilla extract. In other words, 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste equals 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean.
The seeds in vanilla paste are a bonus. They add the gourmet appearance -- without the expense -- in dishes that require splitting a vanilla bean and scraping out the pulp and seeds. Homemade ice cream, custards and crème brulee are just some of the foods made sublime with vanilla paste.
I haven't found a local source, either, and it would be cost prohibitive to make vanilla paste at home. You can find it at Williams-Sonoma and there are several online stores that carry it, including Amazon.com.