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The epic tale begins in the 15th century, in the mountainous regions of Mexico, where a tribe known as the Totonacs were the first civilization known to grow and cultivate vanilla pods. They mainly used them for medicinal or religious purposes, instead of culinary ones. But even without sampling much of vanilla’s glorious taste, the Totonacs believed it was a gift from the gods. Literally. In Totonac lore, vanilla orchids sprouted from the blood of a runaway deity and her forbidden mortal lover, both of whom were captured and slain

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