Vanilla and chocolate, both ubiquitous in desserts the world over, are native to Mexico. These two ingredients are fascinating that they considered common given how labor intensive and rare they are. They were originally cultivated by the Mayans, brought to outside world after the Columbus incident, developed into tasty treats by the French, made widely available by the industrial revolution. The infamous Hernan Cortés is credited with bring both of these ingredients to the outside world. The legacy of these flavors lives on, surpassing the fame of this conquistador, being a lasting link to a long dead civilization.
The history of these ingredients are long and bloody. It begins with the Aztecs equating the shelling of the cacao seeds with the scarifying of the human heart, and escalating into civilizations of slavery, plantations of forced labor, generations of exploration, and now with child labor violations. Delicious.
We take these flavors for granted when in reality they have been consumed for thousands of years, have traveled the globe, and have extreme and laborious growing and production processes. Over the next two posts, Marigold is going to dive into detail about these amazing ingredients.