Mexico isn’t only famous for Tacos, Burritos, or other delicious food. What you might not know is that the country is renowned for its candies. Mexico has a rich history involving candies and sweets, and it’s here to stay for a long, long time. Mexico candies taste smooth and sweet, a taste to which all candy lovers can relate. They have quite a variety of flavors and aromas, so there’s something for every candy lover. These candies have different prep times and symbolism in Mexican culture, making them more appealing to people, especially non-Mexicans. Today, we will dive in deep to find out the history of Mexican candies and also learn some famous candy brands that you can buy these delish treats. You can easily find these candies in online grocery stores in Mexico.
Mexico & Candies - The History
Before European Colonization
Do you know that chocolate actually originated in Mexico? The Aztecs believed that the cacao plant was a gift from the tree of life given to them by the god Quetzalcoatl. The Aztecs brought the idea of hot chocolate, but instead of adding sugar, they used to add spices to provide the chocolate with a distinct taste. Mexican use chocolate for not only sole consumption but incorporated into their cuisine as well. They used to mix various spices and peppers for additional flavors.
Aztecs didn’t use sugar at that time and preferred using honey in sweets and delicacies. They mixed honey with seeds for food. Amaranth seeds and honey is an excellent example of Aztec’s cooking style. At that time, the mixture represented Aztec gods and was used in religious ceremonies.
Then comes chewing gum. Both Aztecs and Mayans used to make these chewing gums from trees and would use them to clean their teeth and give them fresh breath. The chewing gums were also used to make the members feel less hungry. They had a funny name for chewing gum too, it’s called Tziktli.
After European Colonization
After Europeans invaded Mexico, this opened up possibilities for Mexican people to export and import food. Thus sugar made an entry into Mexico, and it hasn’t left since. Sugar is now an integral part of traditional candy-making processes. Mexicans invented Mexican Mazapan, a candy made from peanuts and sugar. Another sugar candy with glue-like consistency was made by boiling down the entire sugarcane and creating a sweet syrup. Dulce de leche is a milky and caramelized candy made a debut with Mexican cuisines and slowly became popular in various countries.
But wait, the iconic Mexican candy is yet to be presented. It’s called Sugar Skull. The candies replicate the look of a skull made with sugarcane paste. The consistency is a little hard and can easily be passed as a type of hard candy. There is an interesting history behind Sugar Skull, which I am dying to tell you.
These little skull-like candies are made and used in celebrations of the Dia de Muertos. The Mexican locals believed that the spirits of deceased children and adults leave heaven for a while to visit their families. The candies are used as a means of celebration, as treats for these spirits. The candies are made from small to full-sized based on the age of the deceased people. Interestingly, Sugar Skulls are mostly meant for decoration rather than consumption.
A quick fact: Sugar art has been used for church decorations in Mexico since the 1700s.
Types of Mexican Candies
Some Mexican candies are so famous that it will be a miss if you don’t try. Here are 4 authentic Mexican candies you can buy at any local Mexican store.
- Cocada - Cocada is made using baked coconut, sugar, egg yolks, and flavors to give that syrupy sweetness and crisp taste. The baking time varies from soft to very crispy, so you can bake them however you want.
- Alegrías - Alegrias is the most recognized candy worldwide because of its delicious taste. It is made using amaranth seed, raisins, honey, or sugar. This is a prehistoric candy made from the Aztec era so, it has got a rich tradition along with the juicy, sweet taste.
- Tamarindos - One of the most popular and mainstream candies these days is Tamarindos. It’s made with tamarind pulp, sugar, chili, and salt. You have probably had those tamarind flavored candies at some point in your life. They taste so great, you can’t have just one!
- Palanqueta - The candy is made with dried fruits, nuts, and rice nuggets. The dried fruits are mixed with honey or sugar, and then margarine and sugar are added to enhance the sweet taste and give it a rigid structure.
Popular Mexican Candy Brands
- Chupa Chups - Undoubtedly, Chupa Chups is a lollipop brand that is well-known all over the world. Their lollipops and candies contain various flavors, including ice cream, vanilla, chocolate, etc.
- De La Rosa - De La Rosa is another famous Mexican lollipop brand. Their lollipops range from various pulp popsicles with flavors like tamarind to cherry. They also have La Vaquita and Coronado that make Dulce de Leche lollipops (milk caramel candy).
- Lorena - The brand consists of the famous Pelon Pelo Rico candies, a form of candy with a sweet and spicy taste with flavors like mango, tamarind, etc. You can find Lorena on various online healthy grocery stores in Mexico.
- Lucas - Lucas is yet another Mexican brand known for its tangy and spicy candies. The candies include Lucas seasoning, Lucas Muecas, Salsaghetti, and Lucas Pelucas.
- Canel’s - Canel’s is known for its multi-flavored gum candies and La Vaquita (milk caramel lollipops).
- Bolitochas - Another brand called Bolitochas offers caramel candies with a sweet, tangy, and spicy filling. They are available in plenty of flavors like pineapple, strawberry, watermelon, and tamarind.
Mexico’s candies are rich in tradition and historical details. Since the Aztec days, they have been there and are continuing to mesmerize us with their mouthwatering taste and lingering aroma. The history of Mexico candy making is so large, it’s not possible to cover everything in one article, but we tried our best.
Here’s how to enjoy the candies:
- Go to a candy shop or the best online grocery store.
- Grab these candies as much as you can get.
- Start reading about the rich history of these candies while enjoying their taste.