[A woman makes candy at the Museo del Dulce, Morelia; 3/24/06]
How can you not love a city with its own candy museum? As if Morelia isn't sweet enough. When Jodi and I were perusing the guide pamphlets, we zeroed right in on the Museo del Dulce as a must-see. In the museum itself, there's an historical account of how before the Spanish arrived the locals ate sweets made from honey and fruit. Then the Spanish arrived and brought with them sugar cane and cinnamon from the Orient. Dominican nuns, who came to bring Christianity to the New World, made sweets in the convents. Then, of course, there was chocolate - first used by the Maya as a bitter ceremonial drink and then the Aztecs who elevated it to near gold status, even using it for money. See more on chocolate's culinary evolution. On my previous trip to Mexico, I had a hard time finding actual Mexican chocolate, or any chocolate for that matter. I should have come to Morelia.
[In the cafe at the Museo del Dulce; Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico]
Yes, there is a cafe at the museum, so that you can taste a bit of history perhaps, or to finally satisfy the mouth-watering craving you experience from all the smells. I wasn't sure whether to ask for my hot chocolate amargo, bitter, or semi-amargo. How bitter is this, I asked the period-clad waitress. She assured me there was sugar in the amargo, and indeed, it had just the right amount. I really don't have that much of a sweet tooth. I find most candy and desserts unbearably sweet. Not this chocolate caliente. It was perfect, intensely chocolate but not too sweet. It made me absolutely high, too - I was flying all afternoon! And without the near sugar coma that usually follows.
[Little turtles, in the cafe at the Museo del Dulce]
[The best museum shop in the world; Museo del Dulce, Morelia]
Of course you can't leave the museo without purchasing a few recuerdos to take home. Since this was the end of the trip, I could only fit so much in my suitcase. So I bought a nip of rompope, an alcoholic beverage that tastes like eggnog, some marzipan almendritas, and a hefty packet of Mexican chocolate. There are apparently some 300 Mexican candies, according to this excellent article on the Museo del Dulce. I have no idea how many you can get a taste of in the museum, but as the article says, "The museum seems to be the best way of getting to know the authentic history of this place.''
[The kitchen in the Museo del Dulce]