Mexico´s sweets range from fruits, fresh or preserved, to a great legacy of baked goods that the French helped build, to unusual and delicious candies.
Cajeta - sweet, sickly and hopelessly calorific
Cajeta is a delectable, utterly addictive, caramelised goat´s milk concoction, as Mexican as you can get, and while it may not benefit the waistline, its intensely deep, comforting sweetness is undoubtedly soothing to the soul!
Capirotada - a pudding for Easter
Semana Santa, Holy Week, and Pascua, Easter, are marked by widespread celebrations, festivities and rejoicing in Mexico and while this period is in essence a religious festival, it is also tremendous fun, with a decidedly carnival atmosphere. Capirotada is a traditional Lent and Easter dish.
Christmas in Mexico - Alegrías Recipe
The season of the traditional posadas is in full swing, the Ponche Navideño is being stirred and the piñatas are being broken open; out of them pour Mexican sweets which date back to pre-Hispanic times, including the delightfully named “alegrías”.
Christmas in Mexico – Buñuelos Recipe
The Mexican "posada" season is tremendous fun, raucous and jolly, and the street cooks and vendors do a roaring trade. Mugs of hot chocolate are downed and “buñuelos”, a fabulously crisp sweet fritter, are one of the most popular treats during the Christmas festivities.
Christmas in Mexico – Posadas and piñatas
The run-up to Christmas in Mexico is one long series of parties – in fact a very specific type of party which takes place over the nine days prior to Christmas, and goes by the name of “posada". It involves much singing and a piñata filled with fruit, nuts, chocolate and delicious "polvorones".
Cookbook Review - Tacos, Tortas and Tamales
In his latest book, Roberto Santibañez spotlights three of Mexico’s most popular street foods: tacos, tortas and tamales. These quintessentially Mexican dishes are part of everyday life throughout the country, and the variations are literally infinite.
Easter in Mexico - Torrejas Recipe
The sweet, sickly and very moreish Torrejas are a great favourite during the Easter season in Mexico and are served in one form or another all over Latin America, as well as in their country of origin, Spain. They are reminiscent of Pain Perdu, French Toast or Eggy Bread.
Epiphany in Mexico - Bread of the Kings
Christmas in Mexico begins on 16 December with the traditional parties called “las posadas”, and ends with Epiphany or El Día de los Reyes, the Day of the Kings, which is celebrated with a sweet yeasted bread known as Rosca de Reyes or Bread of the Kings.
Epiphany in Mexico – Pastel de Tres Leches Recipe
The traditional Epiphany treat is the delicious fruity yeasted “Cake of the Kings” or “Rosca de Reyes”, baked with a tiny figurine of the baby Jesus inside it. However, the Pastel de Tres Leches or Three Milk Cake is a popular alternative, lighter but much richer.
New Year in Mexico - Churros and Hot Chocolate
A darkened room and a bottle of mineral water may be the best, if not the most rousing, cure for the first hangover of the year, but a cup of hot chocolate and a freshly cooked churro are an infinitely more appealing antidote to the excesses of New Year's Eve.
Sweet Mexico - Easter Piglets
The “panaderías” of Mexico are absolute Aladdin’s caves. While the name translates simply as “bread shop”, this does not even begin to illustrate the wealth of baked goodies which are piled up on aluminium trays and displayed in the windows and on the counters.
Sweet Mexico - Apricot Paletas Recipe
When I was a child, paleteros or iced lolly vendors roamed the streets, pushing a little insulated container cart which was packed with ice and delectable, wonderfully fresh paletas. They were made daily, probably by a member of the paletero´s family, from natural, unadulterated ingredients.
Sweet Mexico - Big Ears Cookie Recipe
The panaderías of Mexico are real treasure troves and as a child, a shopping excursion to the local bread shop with our cook was a great treat, allowing me to roam the aisles of what for me at that age was no less than a living breathing Aladdin’s cave.
Sweet Mexico - Frozen Things
In every Mexican city, town, or even village, there is bound to be a shop selling a bewildering variety of icecreams and sorbets – from the predictable chocolate and vanilla to the less familiar mamey, zapote and guanabana, or even the downright bizarre such as cheese, rose petal and sweetcorn.
Sweet Mexico - Hibiscus Blossom Sorbet Recipe
The exotic and flamboyant blossoms of the hibiscus plant are a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine and luridly coloured iced lollies – paletas - made from an infusion of the flowers are a stand-by of every icecream shop and street vendor throughout the country.
Sweet Mexico - Mexican Rice Pudding Recipe
The sweet course in Mexico is known as “postre” or pudding and is normally a very unknown quantity as desserts are not the stars of the Mexican gastronomic firmament. Sometimes however a Mexican version of a British nursery favourite will make an appearance: arroz con leche or rice with milk.
Sweet Mexico - Piloncillo
“Little pylon” or piloncillo is rich and dark, with a deep, seductive, almost chocolatey aroma of caramel which is utterly addictive. Inhale for longer and you pick up a faint smokiness as well as a floral syrupiness - it might also remind you of white sand beaches and brawny Caribbean rum!
Sweet Mexico - The Day of the Dead
For the past week, the market stalls in Taxco have been decorated with brightly coloured tissue paper cut-outs of pumpkins and skeletons and some very seasonal goods have made their annual appearance.
Tamales are among the oldest and most authentic of Mexican dishes, dating back millennia and served to the conquering Spaniards in Moctezuma’s splendid banqueting hall. The Náhuatl name itself means wrapped food, which is an excellent description of this very historical and traditional creation.
The Day of the Dead – Candied Pumpkin Recipe
1st and 2nd November are known as “Los Días de los Muertos” or the Days of the Dead which are an important pre-Conquest celebration in Mexico, and surprisingly enough, cheerful and festive occasions when Mexican families honour their deceased relatives.
The Drinks of Mexico - Fruit Cooler Recipes
On a hot day, Mexico’s aguas frescas or fresh waters are a taste of heaven. They are not as dense and rich as an actual juice, as water is often added to give the required lightness and breezy zest and there are countless varieties on offer.
The Spices of Mexico - Cinnamon
Researching cinnamon in a Mexican cookbook is a perplexing experience, as it can be referred to as Mexican cinnamon, true cinnamon, soft cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon or simply by its Spanish name, canela. The purpose is perhaps to avoid confusion with the bark of the cassia tree.
The spices of Mexico - Vanilla
Vanilla is a shy and gentle spice. There is nothing brash or flamboyant about it, and yet its power is great, with a delicately warm, sweet flavour and scent which are deeply evocative, almost hypnotic.
Veracruz - Sweet Potato and Pineapple Pudding
Vast pineapple plantations are a common sight in the state of Veracruz as are the stalls which line the main roads: whole fruits are piled up in spiky pyramids and the vendors ply a roaring trade in pineapple juice and plastic cups full of fresh, glistening pineapple chunks sprinkled with chilli.
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The smooth, velvety, sophisticated chocolate we know today bears no resemblance whatsoever to its Latin American ancestor.
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