When in Mexico, there’s no better way of satisfying a sweet tooth than with some traditional locally-made artisan candy. Mexico offers a great variety of traditional sweets, many of which are handmade. Their ingredients, flavors, texture, and preparation processes vary greatly by region, making each of them unique. Many of these traditional candies originated as a result of the fusion of indigenous and Spanish heritage that characterizes Mexican cuisine. For this reason, traditional Mexican sweets are an emblematic symbol of Mexican culture. Here are some of our favorite traditional Mexican candies:
Spanish for “happiness,” alegrías are probably the most representative candy of Mexico. Alegrías are made from amaranth seeds, which was a staple food of the Aztecs. Its recipe has been passed down from generation to generation and remains largely unchanged. Alegrías are made with amaranth seeds, honey, and raisins; they are high in protein and very nutritious.
Glorias originated in the city of Linares, in the northern state of Nuevo León. Glorias make great gifts and are easy to spot due to their bright red cellophane wrapper. These delicious sweets are made from goat’s milk and pecans.
Palanquetas, or peanut brittle, are also one of the most popular traditional Mexican candies. Palanquetas have a caramel base that is made by cooking sugar or piloncillo until it thickens, and then adding peanuts, pumpkin seeds, or other nuts. The mixture is then placed on greased paper to harden before it is cut into rectangles with a knife.
Borrachitos, whose name means “a little drunk”, are traditional Mexican candy from the state of Puebla. These sweet jelly candies are sprinkled with sugar and come in a variety of different flavors; they also contain a touch of liquor, usually tequila or eggnog. These unique sweets were created by nuns during the Colonial Period as a way to thank monastery benefactors.
Cocadas are distinguished by their unique flavor and distinctive yellow color. Cocadas are made with shredded coconut, sugar, and egg yolks. When baked, cocadas acquire a crunchy texture and a delicious flavor.
Next time you are in Mexico, make sure to visit the town’s plaza, or town square –the heart of any traditional Mexican town. This is the best place to get a taste of local artisan candy. Traditional candy stands are hard to miss; they are beautiful, colorful, and full of life. Go and see them for yourself!