Mexico is famous for chocolate, cinnamon (canela) and vanilla; most delicacies consist of one or all three and are often an element of liqueurs and tequilas. Normally we eschew desserts, either due to feeble dietary excuses or the lack of accommodation following a large meal. Puerto Vallarta, however, with such an abundance of fine dining, has changed our point of view in this respect, as well as our beltline.
Pan Tres Leches is popular at birthday parties, as well as a common dessert menu item. It’s similar to British rum cake or Italian tiramisu in that it’s soaked with its ingredients. Made with three types of milk; evaporated, condensed and thick cream, hence the name, it’s dense, heavy and we like it because it’s not overly sweet and usually served is small portions. Served with a topping of whipped cream and fresh fruit, it’s a perfect way to end a meal.
Flan, a dessert most of us would consider very traditional Mexican, is a basic food from both Eastern and Western Europe. Egg custard, dribbled with a bit of caramel sauce, which reveals itself when turned out of the pan, has a subtle sweetness. It’s not overpowering and often, as an extra bonus, may be flavored with coconut or coffee.
Arroz con leche (Rice pudding), popular during the Christmas holidays, is generally bursting with cinnamon flavor but other things are added with a little imagination to tweak the taste buds. Raisins, usually, but also lemon or orange rind or even the leaves of the lemon tree, which of course we would put aside, after licking clean.
Churros are a kid favorite and can be found with street vendors and as a menu item at Costco! Not light on calories, they are a simple pencil shaped pastry rolled in sugar and cinnamon after being deep fried. Best served hot, we love them while strolling the Malecón in Puerto Vallarta.
Is there something oxymoronic about fried ice cream? Though not originally Mexican, it’s caught on with the denizens of Puerto Vallarta, as well as tourists, who consider it part of the local culture. The crispy outside, delivered warm and solid is a real taste treat, once bitten in to the soft, scrumptious, freezing center.
Fruta Cristalizada won’t likely be on the postre menu but it is too yummy to not mention. Made with real fruit, often in their original shape, Mexican candied fruits last for weeks, believe it or not. In Puerto Vallarta, they are a special explosion of sweetness of which we have found dangerously addicting.
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Thanks to our Guest Blogger Adam Garcia for this great article!