Pablo Andres Calderon, Les Roches alumnus, brings us his sweet news from Mexico. Remember to brush your teeth afterwards, Pablo.
This time I am going to talk about five traditional sweets from Mexico that are very rich in flavor and history – my top five favorites.
Traditional sweets in Mexico range from mellow flavors to sugary. There is a rich history behind them – they were prepared in environments that were born out of the ‘pagan’ traditions, then fused with Catholic traditions. In pre-Hispanic times, the great cultures of Mesoamerica prepared mainly sweets made out of honey-ant, honey-bee, wasp honey, or maguey, as well as pinole, cocoa, brown sugar and cinnamon.
After the Conquest, the discovery of other ingredients such as dairy products, led to the evolution of sweets, many of which were made in the convents of New Spain, mostly made by nuns.
So here they are, my top five most ‘delicious’ sweets you can find in Mexico (and of course there are many more that you can try and ‘sweet’ yourself).
This is mainly a jelly prepared in the state of Michoacán with an Arabic origin. It is made by combining sugar and fruit pulp heated on copper pans (like when we prepare a marmalade). One of the tastiest ates is quince, but guava and peach, are also very common among the people. This one has a visual texture like a jelly but is more grainy and soft; eat it with cheese and it will be a delight.
Merengues & gaznates
Zacatecana sweets were originally some kind of medicinal remedy to help the cough in combination with lemon juice. Normally you can buy it from the people that sell it on the street. Gaznates are filled with merengue; they are like a very thin waffle/crepe cones that are very sweet, not heavy and delicious to the palate.
Glorias originate from the state of Nuevo Leon. They are recognized in the culinary landscape of Mexico for their smooth and rich flavors.
The gloria has a very ‘hard’ body that will soften after few chews, is made out primarily of milk and sugar.
Ms. Natalia Medina Núñez created this amazing sweet in the mid twentieth century.
Charamuscas are a traditional sweet from the
state of Guanajuato. They are mostly prepared from sugar, butter and piloncillo.
One of the most intriguing aspects of the charamuscas is that their shapes are trying to imitate the look of the Guanajuato’s mommies (although some people say they were created in the state of Aguascalientes).
They can be found in various regions of the country and are mixed with nuts or coconut.
And the last one I have chosen is one of Queretaro’s most delicious desserts that consists of ‘camotes en almibar’ which are sold in small wooden boxes.
It is a dish that people eat at breakfast accompanied by milk – but you can eat it any time. Most likely the origins of chingaditos can be found in the kitchens of the Clares nuns who served it with a lot of honey.
So here they are my top five sweets that you need to try when you visit Mexico and, like I said, there are many other sweets that you can try 😉