Delight yourself with the Traditional Sweets from Yucatán
When you eat in Yucatán, there is a very important moment that requires making a choice with your eyes…and of course with your stomach: the dessert. Whether it’s “dulce de papaya,” a plate of nances in syrup, a coconut candy, or squash seeds, there are plenty of options for every taste.
The tradition of having dessert after eating comes from the Maya. They used elements of the harvest, such as the sweet potato and squash, or seasonal fruits like papaya, plum, sapote and cocoyol, in the preparation of sweets with honey, served after lunch. This was customary on special occasions, celebrating with the community, or with the family, and we can still see this today during Hanal Pixán (Day of the Dead).
This tradition persisted through the passing of time. With the introduction of sugar and cinnamon by the Spaniards, more techniques, ingredients, and recipes were added, still used today and delighting Yucatecans and visitors. The processes evolved from preparing everything over a fire to modern-day ovens. A mixture of Spanish, Maya and French flavors that reflect the richness of the Mexican culture.
Dulce de Papaya: the favorite
A traditional dessert that has become a local favorite is “dulce de papaya.” A perfect match with traditional cuisine, today it is served with slices of cheese on top. Try it after having a delicious “poc chuc.”
Sweets in syrup can be found in markets, restaurants and supermarkets, practically all year round. Ask for them and try them. But if you are a food lover, also try preparing them! The recipe is still the same: boil a water infusion with cinnamon, sugar, or honey until it is a thick syrup, and add your favorite fruit. The best part is that you can place it in jars and refrigerate it to enjoy in the coming months.
Local coconuts provide varieties of sweets including tostadas, candies, creams and pies. If you are at the beach, try a coconut dessert after a delicious meal of fried fish.
You can consider yourself almost Yucatecan after having one or two traditional desserts, whether you choose the ones in syrup, coconut, “palanquetas,” or squash seeds.
Remember to take a picture of yourself having a local dessert and share it with us, #SeeItInYucatanToday
Editorial by Violeta H. Cantarell
Read more about Yucatecan sweets:
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