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 Culture & Traditions

From Mexico to the World: Mexican Staple Ingredients

avocs

AVOCADO (Ahuacatl)  The avocado is one of the fruits of the pre-Hispanic world most appreciated worldwide. Fray Toribio de Benavente “Motolinia”, one of the great evangelists, called it “the best fruit in New Spain, both in taste and virtue”.  The buttery texture of its flesh has a mild flavor that makes it the perfect companion for spicy Mexican dishes. It’s the main ingredient in a delicious dressing, guacamole, which today often accompanies Mexican dishes, topped with tortillachips and crumbled bits of fresh farmer’s cheese.

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VANILLA (tlilxochitl) Beautiful and virtuous, vanilla is a black-colored orchid that, once discovered by the conquerors, became the star of desserts on the Old Continent. Its elegant and unmistakable aroma is the essence of perfumes, cakes, candies and liqueurs. Vanilla is the legacy of the Totonac civilization that lived in the humid highlands of Veracruz.

They discovered that you had to pollinate the orchid in order for it to yield its aromatic pods, so they entrusted that delicate task to the youngest and most virtuous women of the community. Up until a few years ago, the Totonac and their successors engaged in a large festival in honor of the vanilla plant, a festival which they named Xanat. Today, a high percentage of the vanilla consumed in the world is artificial, another portion is produced in Asia and only a small part comes from Mexico, although its quality is significantly superior.

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