When it comes to candy, you’ve never seen it all. Standing in the doorway of a candy store, eyes bugging out like you’ve stumbled across the treasure of the Sierra Madre: this happened when I discovered new Candylandia on a sleepy street in New Rochelle. Creepy, zombie-eyed piñatas stand guard over a windfall of Mexican sweets, from the loose items in the center (many about 20 cents each) to their bulk-packaged brethren around the periphery.
Mini-basket at the ready? Let’s go.
Little Tamal Tamalitos: How cute is this? Tamarind candies packaged in miniature tamale wrappers! They should be in a bowl by the cash register of some hip new Mexican restaurant. But look out—the soft sweet (a tarugo) holds a hefty helping of red-hot guajillo chili powder. Hey, it’s right there in the ingredient list (along with “artificial tamarind flavor”).
Cajeta: You’ve not tried caramel until you’ve tasted it with a tangy hint of goat cheese. Cajeta, made with goat’s milk or goat’s plus cow’s, is packaged in little round wooden cheese boxes (like Camembert) and is a traditional topping for Mexican crêpes (I ate it right out of the container).
Marzapan: It looks like European marzipan (made with almonds), but this tasty peanut-based confection crumbles into dust in your hands (or worse yet, all over your car).
Tejocote in syrup: This crab-apple-like fruit was smuggled here (along with invasive insects) until US farmers started growing it 15 years ago. It’s a key ingredient in Mexican Christmas punch and is typically eaten preserved in syrup.
Cachetadas (“slaps”): Fold these feathery lollipops into whatever shape you please (the instructions suggest a rose); if you’re looking for any nutritionally redeeming qualities, keep walking.
More Imported Candy: Mint Premium Foods Brings Scandinavian Sweets To Westchester
Pepitoria: The Mexican version of peanut brittle is full of nuts, seeds, and in this case, dried grapes. Yum!
Jamoncillo: Could squash seeds be the next big flavor profile in dessert? Fudge-like jamoncillo can be made in any flavor, but this squash-seed-flavored San Miguel bar suggests so.
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