Trips to Mexico are filled with visits to beautiful cenotes and ancient UNESCO World Heritage sites. But while you’re exploring the beauty that is Mexico, don’t forget to spend some time enjoying the local food culture. Apart from delicious cheese and spicy dishes, there are also exotic Mexican fruits, and not to forget their uniquely salty Mexican candy.
Why is Mexican candy salty? The salt is used to balance out the sweetness of the candy. But not just that. Research has shown that adding salt to candy makes it taste sweeter. But the Mexicans knew this before science did! Most Mexican candies balance the sweetness with sour and salty flavors that take the candy to another level.
Here are fifteen sweet, salty and regular Mexican candies to eat on your next trip to Mexico.
Chocolate exists thanks to the Mayans and Aztecs, and chocolate drinks were so favored, that chocolate was also used as currency. Once the Spanish overlords were introduced to chocolate, the wonders of chocolate soon took over Europe and the world.
And since Mexico gave the world chocolate, it’s only natural that Mexican chocolate is popular. Mexican cacao beans are harvested in Chiapas, Tabasco, and Guerrera on a large scale, with Oaxaca and Veracruz also increasing production in recent years.
From the all-too-popular hot chocolate tablets from Abuelita to the infamous Oxacanita artisanal chocolate, so there’s a lot of chocolate to try in Mexico.
Since Mexico is also famous for chiles, it’s only natural that some of their chiles end up in their chocolate.
If you’re not sure whether you’d like spicy chocolate or not, grab some Taza chocolate samples. These stone ground chocolate discs are available in eight flavors – Super Dark, Cinnamon, Coffee, Vanilla, Salted Almond, Guajillo Chili, Cacao Puro, and Chipotle Chili. Taste all and settle on the one you love best!
A drink that’s famous at Mexican celebrations, rompope is thought to have originated in the Convento de Santa Clara in Puebla, Mexico during the 17th century. Made of milk, egg yolks, alcohol and sugar, it’s similar to egg nog.
While most locals make rompope at home, you’ll also find commercial versions to try. Santa Clara Rompope Liqueur made by by Casa Cuervo is the most popular.
Cajeta is a version of dulce de leche made with goat’s milk. Similar to caramel sauce, it takes hours of preparation to reduce the milk to the right thickness.
Perfect for topping cakes, puddings, churros, and ice creams, using in tres leches cakes, or simply eating as is, the cajeta takes the name of the wooden box it’s sold in.
Some versions of cajeta have nuts or liquor added to them. Cajeta de Celaya from the city of Celaya is one version made using a mix of goat milk and cow milk. Obleas con cajeta consists of cajeta sandwiched between two delicious wafers and are found in stick-finger or disc shapes.
A candy that is shaped like a small round disc, this is one dish that was inherited from the Spanish conquerors and popularly sold by the De La Rosa brand. Mazapan or dulce de cacahuate estilo mazapán is a candy made of crushed peanuts and sugar and sometimes covered with chocolate.
Very sweet and very fragile, mazapanes melt in the mouth, and can be quite addictive!
5. Chamoy candy
If you love sweet, salty, tangy and spicy all at the same time, you’ll love the chamoy candy. They’re made by dipping candy (gummy bears or dried fruit) in a chamoy sauce and then sprinkling them with a lime and chili seasoning.
A chamoy sauce adds layers of flavor since it’s a versatile sauce made from dried fruits such as plums, apricot, and mango with chili powder, lime juice, salt, and sugar. The addition of the lime and chili seasoning reinforces this flavor.
6. Dulces Enchilados
Dulces enchilados are the most common way to make chamoy candy using gummy bears. The name literally translates to candy covered with chili.
Tamborines enchilados are tamarind and chili flavored dulces enchilados.
Sweet potatoes never tasted so good. This popular candy called camote or camohtli in Nauhatl supposedly originated as the result of a prank played in the convents of Puebla.
The results of the prank were the creation of the caramel sweet potato poblano which is sold at many mercados and local food stalls, though you might not find it commercialized yet.
The Camote Poblano Santa Clara Dulce can be found in different flavors – plain, strawberry, or pineapple.
8. Calaveritas sugar skulls
Calaveras are skulls made from clay or sugar to celebrate the Mexican Day of the Dead. They represent the souls of beloved departed family members.
Calaveritas are smaller sugar-based skull candies that are sometimes edible and sometimes not. Ranging in size from one inch to the size of a human skull, you need to be able to distinguish between the purely decorative sugar calaveritas that are made for offrendas and the edible version.
If in doubt, as the street vendor that you’re buying sugar skulls from.
In Mexico, paletas can refer to both ice lollies or lollipops. Both are very popular, ice lollies for hot summer days and lollipops for any time you want.
Paletas are available in all flavors, from sweet and spicy to salty and tangy. Some popular Mexican paletas to try include the Slaps paletas that come in watermelon, mango or tamarind flavors, and the Manita de la Suerta (hand lollipop) from Vero Dulces.
10. Pelon Pelo Rico
This unique Mexican candy is liquid in form and sold in little plastic push-down bottles. You push down on the bottle and hair-shaped or noodle-shaped strands of candy come out the top.
Made of tamarind pulp and a bit of chili powder, the taste grows on you. And pushing down on the bottle keeps both kids and adults entertained. Pelon Pelo Rico is the perfect Mexican treat!
Very popular in Mexico, Skwinkles are a brand of Lucas that features hot candy strips with tamarind-flavored sauce.
12. Ricolino Paleta Payaso & Bubu Lubu
Paletas or lollipops are available in all flavors and tastes, but there is one special type of paleta that’s loved by everyone. The Paleta Payaso or Clown Lollipop from Ricolino has been sold since 1972 and hasn’t changed much since it was invented.
It consists of a chocolate-face lollipop with gummy bears for eyes and mouth. But once you get past how cute it is and dig in, you’re met with a delicious marshmallow that’s perfectly soft and squishy.
For those who want the sweet taste of this lollipop without having to hold it in your hand, Ricolino offers Bubu Lubus. They consist of a wonderful marshmallow and strawberry jelly filling inside a delicious chocolate shell.
Another popular Ricolino product, Duvalin may be to Mexico what Nutella is to the rest of the world. The spreadable chocolate comes with mini spoons and can be eaten plain or spread on toasted bread.
Duvalin is available in four different flavors mixes – hazelnut and strawberry, hazelnut and vanilla, vanilla and strawberry, and the best one – all three – hazelnut, vanilla, and strawberry together.
Another favorite from De La Rosa, Pulparindo is a chewy candy made from tamarind flavored with salt and hot chili powder. Originally sold plain, you now also get watermelon, mango, and extra spicy flavors.
If you’re used to sweet candies, this one might require leveling up a bit, but the mix of tangy, salty and spicy is just perfect!
Considered the ‘king of Mexican candies’, Rebanaditas are watermelon-flavored lollipops coated with a salt and guajillo chili powder mixture.
Sold by the Dulces Vero brand, rebanaditas are tangy, spicy and sweet at the same time. Another version of the candy, the Vero Mango consists of mango covered with chili powder.
That’s the list of must-try Mexican candy. Sweet, salty, tangy and sour, whatever you like, you’ll find a candy created especially for you!