Vanilla is an ingredient that is used in lots of different ways whether directy as vanilla pods or as Vanilla Extract that you can find from places like www.foodieflavours.com/shop/flavours/natural-flavouring/gorilla-organic-vanilla-extract/. It is a flavouring that has been used for centuries and its origins might surprise you.
Vanilla is in fact a part of the Orchid family which consists of over 25,000 different subspecies. It is native to the Caribbean and Central and South America. It is thought that the Totonacs of Mexico were amongst the first people to use vanilla as an ingredient. From here it was used by the Aztecs after they conquered the Totonacs as far back as the 15th Century.
The Aztecs were invaded by the Spanish and their use of vanilla amongst other things was then adopted by the Spanish. This then led to it being distributed throughout mainland Europe and on to the rest of the world.
Vanilla was used by the Aztecs as a way to add some flavour to the bitter chocolate drink that they drank. It was used this way for many centuries even in Europe and it wasn;t until the 17th Century when vanilla started to be used on its own away from chocolate. Just a century later it was being used in ice-cream that was created by the French. From here vanilla started to be used in more and more dishes and it paved the way for it to become a mainstream ingredient.