Suitcase and World: Calle de los Dulces.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Calle de los Dulces.

And the urban planning award goes to.....{drum roll} the city of Puebla for having a street commonly known as "Sweets Street".  Officially known as Calle de Santa Clara, Calle de los Dulces is lined on both sides with stores that sell a wide variety of sugary treats in the shape of sacred hearts, guitars, and sombreros. And if candies aren't for you, there are plenty of cookies to had as well.

And if you want to only have a partly guilty conscience because you're overindulging in pure sugar, you can opt for sugared fruits.....yes, that would be fruits that have been cooked in a sugar syrup.  This way, you can say you ate your fruits too :-)

Of course, we were like kids in a candy store, ogling at all the window displays.

One store after another - shelves piled high with candy and cookies.  Gift baskets filled with sweet goodies seem to be another popular sale item. Poblanos really, really love their sweets!  The local dentists must do well here :-)

Some of the stores sold Talavera pottery along with their sweets.  That was our first look at Puebla's signature handicraft - we would see more Talavera pottery before the day was over!

Camotes. As the foodie in the group, I had of course done my reading about the food specialties in Puebla.  For sweets, it's all about camotes.  Camote is the Spanish word for "sweet potato" and that's exactly the base for the sweets.

The basic recipe for making camotes is pretty simple and straightforward.  Boil sweet potatoes til soft, mash and cook with sugar syrup til it becomes a thick paste.  Add coloring and flavoring.  Spread the paste onto a cookie sheet and place into the refrigerator to chill.  When cold, form pieces of the dough into cigar shapes and roll into powdered sugar.  Allow the candies to dry before wrapping in a piece of waxed paper.

Of course, we had to try them.  We plunked down 10 pesos (about 90 cents) for a box of 10 fruit flavored camotes.  We did our taste test as our dessert at lunch time.  The verdict?  Yes, it's sweet potato and it's mind numbingly sweet.  Perhaps good with a cup of strong coffee?? Among the three of us, none of us could taste the fruit in the camote.  Maybe it's an acquired taste because each of us only had one piece and we never finished the box before we left Mexico.  Oh well, some things just didn't suit our tastes.