“Merengue, merengue…dulces y merengues” is a phrase you will often hear when you are at any of the beaches on the Yucatecan shore; whether Progreso, Chibxulub, Chelem, Telchac, or others. This invitation, pronounced loudly with an unmistakable intonation, announces the presence of the candy vendor at the beach, so get ready to choose and enjoy one (or many) of these sweet and salty treats.

The vendors walk along the beach, the boardwalk, the streets and sometimes to the doors of the restaurants to offer their delicacies. They carry a wooden tray loaded with candy on their heads. They show off their agility when they lower the tray to the stand they also carry with them. In less than a minute you’ll have in front of you a candy paradise: the traditional ones made of coconut, peanuts, or seeds; salty or spicy ones made of tamarind, and the sugary meringues filled with cream. This gastronomic and visual array will make you smile and whet your appetite.

They are part of the scenery at the beach in Yucatán; their joy and enthusiasm announcing their products is contagious. You’ll find them morning, noon, and afternoon; basically any time there are tourists at the beach. The treats are fresh, commonly prepared at the vendors’ own homes using the family recipe, so rest assured you’ll be consuming local, traditional, and fresh, at prices starting at $15 pesos each.

Whatever your weak spot is in the world of desserts, on the vendor’s tray you’ll probably find the ideal option to end your lunch with something sweet, as everyone does during the summer, or just for an “antojo” to get you through the hot part of the day while you enjoy your stay at the beach. It’s impossible to resist with all the variety coming your way.

In the end, you’ll end up delighted with the choice you’ve made, and these candy artisans will continue on their way, repeating the same phrase over and over throughout the day.

Editorial by Violeta H. Cantarell
Photos by Yucatán Today

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