Sometimes a person just wants to eat something sweet, either to finish a big meal or between meals to quell a rumbling stomach. Or, frankly, sometimes because dulces, as the Mexicans call them, are just so delicious. No visit to Mazatlan and its environs would be complete without a sampling of their sweets. I could not refuse, nor did I wish to.
First, our group visited Jamoncillos de Dona Delia in the tiny town of Puerta de Canoas. (Puerta de Canoas got its name because the village originally made canoes, despite being well away from the sea or any other water.) A Willy Wonka factory this is not – she hand makes every candy whether plain or nut-encrusted. Delicious either way, though it took me several pieces of each kind of Jamoncillo to decide that I liked the way the nuts offset the sweetness and texture of this fudge-like candy.
The next day, venturing into the charming village of El Quelite, we visited a bakery (panaderia in Spanish) where all manner of freshly baked Mexican pastries filled the small retail area. Despite having already had two breakfasts that morning (oh, the sacrifices of a food writer!!), the smell alone persuaded us to buy a bag full of doughy treats for the ride back to Mazatlan. No dis to the pastries, as delicious as they looked and smelled, but the highlight of this visit for me was our trip to the kitchen to see the stone furnace and worktable from whence these delights had sprung.
Our sweet treats overload tour continued that day with a visit to the fifty-year-old Suaves marshmallow factory. The founder, Senora Maria Clara Garcia, now well into senior citizenry, watched telenovelas as her granddaughter showed us the simplicity with which their marshmallows are created. A molten bowl of melted sugar and other ingredients is poured onto a long table with a raised border, smoothed with a board and left to cool. Toasted coconut is sprinkled on top before the giant marshmallow is cut into inch square pieces. The light and airy results melted in my mouth, and I found myself, as did the other writers, carrying an armful of marshmallow bags to take back home.
Our final stop that evening was Medrano’s ice cream cart, parked at the same street corner in downtown Mazatlan since 1938 – Angel Flores and 5 de Mayo just behind City Hall. These ice cream peddlers converted me to fandom just by virtue of their crisp, crunch homemade waffle cones, but what makes this cart a perennial favorite are its range of tropically flavored ice creams, often made from fruits you may never have heard of but will nevertheless enjoy. People get the choice of six rotating flavors such as guava, plum, lichi, avocado, peanut butter, caramel milk and the aforementioned mystery fruits. These ice creams are icier and lighter than American varieties, a difference I think enhanced their delicate flavor. Though the vanilla I tried rocked, at Medrano’s you will want to let your taste buds venture into uncharted territory.
Here are links to my other posts about my trip to Mazatlan: Amazing Mazatlan, Hotels in Mazatlan, Spirits of Mazatlan, Meals Beyond Mazatlan, Fun Facts About Mazatlan, and Mazatlan: Seafood and Eat It.