Monday, July 23, 2012

White Milk Candy Sticks (Canillitas) from Antigua Guatemala, July 25, Fiesta Santiago

Massive stone walls that are semi destroyed, and run over with vines and grass, welcome visitors in Antigua. Spacious buildings with Spanish colonial architecture, boast harmonious arches. Tall churches and peaceful cloisters that used to be inhabited by Catholic nuns are sprinkled throughout the venerated city. Many of these nuns must have brought or concocted the recipes for candy that is still sold today.

"What would you like me to bring back from Antigua Guatemala? "Canillitas (Milk Candy).." is always the reply I get or make. The white version of these candies are probably one of the most popular souvenirs, and are quite different from the brown-colored dulce de leche that is available around much of Latin America. One of the most famous candy stores that sells these sugary candies that melt in your mouth is called Dona Maria Gordillo, and most of the stores are family-owned, and use recipes that have been passed down from one generation to the next.

Santiago Festivities in Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala
Canillitas are sold for special occasions, such as religious festivities (such as Easter) or in fairs, or in certain towns such as Antigua Guatemala or Sololá. One of Antigua Guatemala's festivities is on July 25th, when it celebrates the Fiesta de Santiago, its patron saint. The old city of Guatemala, protected by UNESCO since 1979, was named Santiago de los Caballeros de Guatemala, (Santiago of the Knights of Guatemala) not Antigua Guatemala, its current nickname. It was founded in 1524, but had to be rebuilt for a third time in 1566, after two catastrophes. It was the capital of Central America, but its glory ended when two strong earthquakes destroyed it on July 29, 1773. Hence its current name, Old Guatemala. The capital city was thus rebuilt in its current location, which lies 40 km away. 


The dough is molded into different shapes. The candymakers in Guatemala use ceramic molds to make small roses and angels and leaves, as you can see from the picture above. I used Guatemalan ceramic molds to make most, and made the larger rose by hand. This method for making the candy is clearly not the original recipe used more than a hundred years ago. Nonetheless, it gives similar results.

Coming up Next
Santiago Tart, from the Spanish region of Galicia
Thai Mango Sticky Rice
Philippine Mango Float
Salvadorean Pastelillos de Leche


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