I have never added the entire bean to my chocolate. After asking this same question at the Chocolate Alchemy forum, I discovered that this is how some of the makers do it. Then I got to wondering if the people here do the same. I was really surprised to see that this is what seems to be the norm.
Why add the vanilla bark to the chocolate? When using whole vanilla beans in a pudding or a custard, for example, you soak the whole bean and scrape the marrow. This is what I do for chocolate. I preheat the cocoa butter and soak my vanilla in it, then scrape out the marrow and add the vanilla/cocoa butter to the liquor, I toss the bark.
It may be more work this way, but to me filling the chocolate full of bark is like adding the cocoa husk. We take care to winnow the cocoa beans, why not do the same for the vanilla? The bark of the vanilla bean is basically the husk, right (or maybe the pod shell)? I am not saying this way is right or wrong, I will continue to do it this way because it's my way, but I was curious to see how many others add the whole bean. Anyone care to comment?