Happy Cinco De Mayo!
I have to admit that Mexican candy isn’t something I’m terribly familiar with, so I’ve always been very curious about them. I was given the opportunity to try some back last July when I went to Mercado Chocolate Loco with Cybele at Universal City Walk in Los Angeles. Inside the store was filled to the brim with candy and souvenirs, a majority of them from Mexico. There were large barrels filled with loose pieces that I paws through, looking for as many different kinds to try. I found many standard varieties: tamarind hard candy, chili powder, sour watermelon candy, and dulce de la lech lollipops just to name a few.
What ended up being the treasure of my time in the Mercado was what was sitting in a beautiful glass display case in the back of the store. In there was the real authentic stuff. Blocks of solid dulce de la leche, balls of tamarind pulp, candied root vegetables and citrus fruits. I wish I could remember everything in the display, but it’s sadly been so long. I do remember being quite transfixed with all the options and just stood there drooling at all the delicious possibilities.
I ended up limiting myself to four pieces:
Ducle De La Leche: It came in a rectangular log, with a nice light creamy brown color. The flavor is very rich ad sweet: notes of caramel, cream and sugar and a yogurty tang. The texture is so smooth, dense and rich with no hint of grain at all. I’m reminded of a really good penuche fudge.
Tamarind Ball: Just a ball of tamarind paste with granulated sugar. At a quick glance, it looks like a large doughnut ball. The texture is moist, dense and chewy with a grain from the sugar. It’s like eating cookie dough that isn’t finished yet. The flavor is awesome: it tastes of tart raisins and develops this steady sourness that I can only relate to Sour Patch Kids. It’s a sharp sourness, but it’s not to strong so it’s easily handled, and has notes of lemons and tart cherries. It’s lovely, I really like it.
Sweet Potato: Texture is soft with bits of crunch on the edges where the sugar has crystallized. It tastes of Thanksgiving: sweet potato with that roasted starchy flavor with a lot of sweetness to it.
Candied Pumpkin: Yellower in color than the sweet potato. I looked forward to this one the most as I am a pumpkin fiend! The texture of this is much softer and more wet, and has the same crunchy sugar edges which are a little harder. The flavor doesn’t remind me of pumpkin at all, but more of dried papaya with strong fruity notes and slight juiciness.
I was impressed. It just goes to show that unusual and simple are a tasty combination. I only wish I had a place around me here in New Jersey where I could continue to sample more Mexican confectionery. If you are just as interested as I am, I recommend reading this post on Mexican candy from Malena at the Candy From Strangers blog. Drool!
Rating: Will Buy Again