Sugar Art

By Karen Ocampo

Before the Conquest, sugar cane didn’t exist in Mexico. However, when the Spaniards imported it, these lands appropriated it and made it one of the basic ingredients in many dishes. To give an idea of the affection related to sugar in this country, just think of the romantic names we have given to the candy: suspiros, bocado real, regalo de ángeles (sighs, royal mouthful, angel gift), etc.

And when sugar came to Mexico, it arrived in various formats. One of them is the alfeñiques, sugar figures. These treats made from sugar, egg yolk, lemon, and syrup alone represent the syncretism of cultures: Mesoamerican indigenous customs and Spanish techniques, which were in turn inherited from Arab cultures, merge.

Usually we consume them during the November 2 celebration, not only with the now-traditional sugar skulls, but with much more difficult forms, such as small fruits, animals, and skulls decorated with the peoples’ names, among other things. In the Plaza de la Soledad, you’ll enjoy the alfeñiques market, to buy items to adorn the altars, or just for a sweet snack.

 

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