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Candy Review: de la Rosa and Mi Mazapan Peanut Candy

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Mazapan Candy

One of the things I always find interesting when traveling in the United States is the prevalence of Hispanic culture compared to in Canada – I guess Mexican immigrants who make it over the border into the United States are usually content to stop there rather than venturing further north.

In my limited experience, it seems to me that the “ethnic” section of American grocery stores always has a wide selection of Mexican foods, while where I live, you’re more likely to find Vietnamese rice noodles or Thai and Indian curry pastes there, with Mexican foods relegated to a small (and totally inauthentic) selection of taco seasoning mixes, burrito shells and salsas. Needless to say, in this city, Mexican candy is pretty much nonexistent.

I have to admit, I haven’t been terribly broken up about this fact – Mexican candy’s widespread use of chili, tamarind and salt (all fine ingredients – just not necessarily in a candy setting), its distressing tendency to get contaminated with lead, and a generally negative impression from the Internet food scene, have ensured that I haven’t had much desire to add Mexican treats to my candy repertoire.

Since Mexican candy is so far off my radar, I was quite surprised by the number of Mexican candy companies at the All Candy Expo – though I probably shouldn’t have been, since Spanish is practically a second official language in the Expo’s home city of Chicago. In addition to the expected assortment of chili, lime and salt-dusted items, I managed to pick up two different brands of a candy I’d never seen before – mazapan.

Both brands, de la Rosa and Mi Mazapan, were practically identical, each a flat, beige disc, about 1/4 inch thick, with ingredients that consisted of just peanuts, sugar and artificial flavor. With its lack of hot, sour and spicy ingredients, it was already defying my negative stereotypes about Mexican candy. Only – what was it?

A quick Googling informed me that there’s a reason “mazapan” sounds like “marzipan” – it’s basically the peanut version of the favorite European almond paste. I’ve never met a peanut butter candy I didn’t like, so I decided to dig in.

Both items got a little crushed from being jostled around in my bag of candy samples – when I unwrapped them, they crumbled to pieces. Though for all I know, they might have done that anyway. Both brands gave off a strong, sweet scent of vanilla when unwrapped, but it seemed like that dissipated rather quickly, leaving behind a scent of roasted peanuts, and that’s all.

Flavor and texture-wise, the two brands were practically identical. Since both my samples had crumbled to pieces, I ate the larger chunks first, then the leftover crumbs. (It turns out eating these in bed was a dumb idea, as I had to shake a bunch of sugary crumbs out of my sheets afterward). The texture is not at all like marzipan – there’s nothing soft or spreadable about it. The dry, crumbly, powdery mazapan dissolves in your mouth like powdered sugar, leaving little gritty bits of peanut behind.

At first, the flavor is quite sweet, like eating the aforementioned powdered sugar, but with a strong vanilla flavor (must be the artificial flavor in the ingredients). Then the toasty peanut aftertaste kicks in. These aren’t salty at all, unlike most peanut candies I’ve tried. Sugar and vanilla are the dominant flavors, as well as that nutty, roasty peanut undertone. (I want to say the Mi Mazapan one’s sweeter with more of a vanilla and less of a peanut note, but I think they’re more or less identical.)

Well, I actually found a Mexican candy I like – for the first time, I’m disappointed they don’t sell these in my town. I guess that means something coated in chili and salt is next on my list.

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6 Responses to “Candy Review: de la Rosa and Mi Mazapan Peanut Candy”

  1. 1
    Cindy says:

    Very interesting! I’ve never heard of mazapan and knew nothing about Mexican candy before reading this. Thanks for sharing…maybe someday I’ll get to try this mazapan.

  2. 2
    Catherine says:

    You HAVE to try “Glorias” They are mexican caramel made out of goat milk – the taste is supprising first, but be carefull, it’s addictive – There’s different versions – some are plan, some are hard caramel… my favorite have nuts in them…

  3. 3
    Albert says:

    You should try the Dulces Vero Mazapan, it tastes a lot better than the others.

  4. 4
    Elizabeth says:

    The best, best, mazapan is Mazapan Azteca. I am from Monterrey Mexico, and this mazapan has been the favorite for decades. Not all the mexican good candy are spicy. My advice to you is try “Natillas Linares” which are made with milk. You can also try “Nuez garampiñada” which is pecan with roasted sugar… mmmh! delicious! I would like to show you that excelent Mexican food is not always only spicy food or tacos.

  5. 5
    Sandra says:

    Yes I agree Elizabeth, the best Mazapanes are the Azteca!!! De La Rosa texture and flavor cannot compare to the authentic one, which I believe the Azteca were the first one’s. I’ve tried to order some online but cannot find a website (can someone tell me how I can order) I live in Texas. Every time I search for mazapanes the De La Rosa ones always pop up.

  6. 6
    Silvia says:

    You HAVE to look for Mazapán Azteca, it is the best one, for sure.
    And as recomended above, try to look for some ‘glorias’, ‘natillas’ or anything made of ‘leche quemada’ (it is caramelized goat’s milk and loads of sugar, sometimes with nuts). They are typical of northeast Mexico, totally delicious and not spicy/salty at all :)

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