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Vanilla

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.


Originally used as a medicine, perfume and in sacred rituals of a long ago tribe of  Totonac Indians in Mexico, vanilla only came into its own as a flavoring in 1602.  After the Aztec’s conquered the Totonac Indians, they controlled  the wild orchid that had been so jealously guarded by the conquered Indians where it grew on the edge of the forest. Legend tells us that when Hernando Cortez came to Central America in the 16th century, he was given the drink chocolatl by Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, which consisted of ground cocoa beans and vanilla.  Cortez took both the cocoa beans and the vanilla beans back to Spain where they were to be enjoyed only by the rich and famous for many years to come.  The Spaniards set up factories to manufacture vanilla flavored chocolate.  Not chocolate as we know it, but a start. Continue reading