Vanilla is a natural flavoring derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla, primarily from the Mexican species, Vanilla Planifolia. Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes is credited with introducing both vanilla and chocolate to Europe in the 1520s. Vanilla is the second-most expensive spice, after saffron, because growing the vanilla seed pods is labor-intensive. Despite the expense, vanilla is highly valued for its flavor and aroma. Thus, vanilla is widely used in both commercial and domestic food production, perfume manufacturing, and aromatherapy.

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