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Mexico is the birthplace of vanilla and these deliciously fragrant orchids grow profusely in the humid and sunny soil of the state of Veracruz, in Mexico.
The city of Papantla is particularly famous for its vanilla production. Papantla is also known as the city of perfumes, as it is said the air is full of scents from the orchids. The vanilla orchid flowers once every day and the flower lasts only 24 hours, if it is not pollinated in that narrow window of opportunity, the flower is shed the following day.
For centuries, local bees had been pollinating the vanilla orchid in Mexico, however demand for this precious ingredient grew and the necessity to pollinate every flower to guarantee production, meant all pollination is now done by hand. Literary, a guy comes in with a wooden stick and pollinates every the flower as soon as it opens in the morning, which makes the process very labour intense and expensive.
These vanilla pods are fair trade and first class. They're delicious and moist and until you taste Mexican Vanilla, grown in Mexico, you haven't really taste vanilla at all. The complexity of flavour and aroma is second to none.