Eating the World

La Nueva Pico Rico Dulceria is a One-Stop-Shop for Pachangas and Herbs

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If you've ever had Mexican candy before, you'll know the the most common ingredient, besides sugar, is chile. In fact, sugar and chile practically go hand in hand. The two flavors are a match made in matrimonial confectionary heaven. It really is a beautiful thing.

My mom used to pack little candies called Pica Gomas in my lunch as my "dessert" during my first few years of school. Being the shining example of courtesy that I am, I'd offer Pica Gomas to my friends in exchange for a pudding cup or fun-sized Snickers bar. At first, they'd be intrigued by the look. It's a little ball, individually wrapped, with a deep brownish reddish color -- like mole.

My friends would unwrap the tiny candy and pop it in their mouths, and the next part was always my favorite: their faces after letting the flavors of the Pica Goma melt. It's something between the face of someone eating a Warhead (that puckery face) and eating your least favorite vegetable that you just discovered Mom hid in the mashed potatoes. To the untrained palate, Pica Gomas are kind of disgusting - and strange. It's tart like a tamarindo, but sweet like candy, and spicy like you probably wouldn't expect. Funny enough, my mouth is watering as I write this.

Needless to say, Mexican candies like that aren't for everyone. They're an acquired taste that I've been fortunate enough to grow up with. So don't trash it until you've tried it 5 times.

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Alex Rodriguez