SMALL HISTORICAL REVIEW OF SWEETS IN MEXICO
The traditional Mexican candy is a phenomenon that begins to manifest to the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century; where the production and consumption of sugar increased substantially among the upper classes, the settlers of New Spain now Mexico felt special inclination by eating sugary foods, which when combined with fruit, cinnamon, milk and painted with bright colors; with the help of heat and mingled in the most beautiful ways, it is the main ingredient of our homemade desserts, breads and our regional sweets; they are too many and varied and colloquial names that just hearing them makes us salivate .
“ In Mexico when you say “SWEET” a universe of sensations and products are covered and refers to a wide range of phenomena ranging from nature to culture, from fruits to desserts, passing through: works of literature, musicals, popular sayings, stories and legends which encourage us to eat a delicious traditional candy” (translation from Reyes, 1990)
It is important to note that the appearance of the candy’s culture in Mexico is historically momentous, to strengthen national and regional identities.
The candies were already known in Mexico even before the coming of the Spanish conquers. For the elaboration of those ancestral candies was use: wild honey, honey from cane corn and agave nectar. As well was use mesquite, and pear cactus. But honey has been one of the prehispanic sweeteners that today are preserved and we know it was used from ancient times.
When the Spaniards arrived to Mexico, indigenous honey became to a lower use than cane sugar which was brought by them. However wild honey it never stopped of been consumed even by the Spaniards who had to adapt to it and to other type of indigenous honeys. They got used to other native products from Mexico as well.
Over the time the Spaniards brought new crops of fruit, among which stood out: peaches, plums, apples, pears, figs, quinces, pomegranates and wheat. From then Mexican sweets will be the result of a culinary mix that comes from the union of the European culture brought to Mexico by nuns and mulatto slaves who settle in Mexico during Colonial time.
Mexican Sweets were mainly born in the convent’s kitchens and eventually went out to artisan factories own by families until it became an attribute of the cuisine of each entity.