Mexican Artisanal Foods

Gaya Mexican Vanilla Extract

Mexican vanilla is subtle and floral, yet rich. More than 400 families throughout Veracruz grow beans for Gaya--the largest pods are sold whole, the mid-sized are made into beautiful aromatherapy trinkets, and the smallest are used for extract. We add it to many things, like pastel des tres leches, flans, and smoothies. It's humans who do the pollination. Some say it's a spice of passion. Mexico's a pretty passionate place. -Susana Trilling, chef, director, Seasons of My Heart, Aurora, Mexico Mexican Vanilla Extract, $9.95 for 4 ounces at melissaguerra.comMaxime Iattoni

When we were reporting Saveur's very first issue devoted to the foods of Mexico, we were utterly impressed by the delicious dishes made by regional home cooks and professional chefs alike. But the quality of the ingredients, and the dedicated producers behind them, were just as glorious. Luckily for us, artisanal Mexican foods have become increasingly available in the United States in recent years. Here are some of the finest Mexican (and Mexican-style) products you can order straight to your home, with recommendations from some of the top authorities of the country's cuisine.