Have you ever spent a day and a half working on something just to have it go bad and have to start all over again? That’s my story these past 48 hours. So to avoid getting overly frustrated (angry) I thought I’d step aside from that project and share something sweet with you all. Why not, sweets seem to bring a smile to many people’s faces.
These soft, sweet, milky candies are called mostachón (or mostachónes plural form) and come from the Northern states of Mexico. They are simply made with milk and sugar that is slowly cooked (much like cajeta or dulce de leche) until the right, thick, consistency is achieved before being shaped or moulded. Lastly a piece of pecan is placed on top for decorative reasons. The resulting confection is quite similar to fudge.
In all the years I’ve eaten these sweet bites I never realised that the candies came to be because of a love story. Legend has it that a cattleman nicknamed “Mostachón” ,who lived in Northern Mexico, invented them for a special woman. You see, this man was madly in love with a woman who wouldn’t give him the time of day. Despite his wealth and abundant cattle, he still couldn’t win over her heart. One day he created a sweet confection from the milk of his own cows. He prepared the sweets and adorned them with a piece of nut and presented them to his beloved. Immediately she fell madly in love with Mostachón …and his sweets too. From that day forward these candies became known as Mostachón or Mostachónes.
Other stories say that these types of candies were in fact invented by nuns, since they had plenty of time they came up with these laborious treats. Then other sources dispute their origins and state that they originated in the states of Puebla, or Sinaloa or Jalisco or Sonora…and so on. I personally don’t care where they were actually invented. I love the taste and it’s something I enjoy now and then. Besides, I’m a sucker for a good romance story, so I’m going to continue to believe the legend of Mostachón and his beloved.
Just in case there are any of you out there that can’t seem to win over someone’s heart, remember that perhaps all they need is a sweet confection to fall under your spell.
Fortunately for me I can now buy mostachónes at just about any store in my city. But those of you that don’t live near a Mexican store or aren’t visiting Mexico anytime soon, don’t worry you too can enjoy these sweet little bites. I’ve done some research and found these great recipes in English that I would try out in a heartbeat. I hope you look them over and feel inspired to make a sweet treat for you and yours.
• My Sweet Mexico: Recipes for Authentic Pastries, Breads, Candies, Beverages, and Frozen Treats by Fany Gerson
• Mostachones by Sweet Cannela http://www.sweetcannela.com/2013/09/14/mostachones/
• Fudge (jamoncillo de leche) by SBS Food http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/fudge-jamoncillo-de-leche
• Mexican Milk Fudge by About.com Gourmet Food http://gourmetfood.about.com/od/dessertrecipes/r/Milk-Fudge-Jamoncillo-De-Leche.htm
I really do hope you can taste these delicious treats — whether homemade or store bought. On a side note, the vibrant flower arrangement you see here was purchased at the Oaxacan fair that I wrote about a while back. They are hand made and died with natural colours by artisans. The vendor explained to me that the fibre used to make them comes from a plant called lechuguilla. The name literally translates to little lettuce but it’s related to agave rather than lettuce. The plants are stripped and split to reveal the long, strong and rough fibres. They are then dried and are what is used for weaving and making everything from clothing, jewellery, baskets, containers, and decorative items like you see here. I couldn’t resist their colours and purchased a vase to decorate my home with…and use in photos too.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are having a beautiful day!!
Additional notes: There are several confections in Mexico made and that taste the same as Mostachónes. The milk, sugar base is the same but the shapes may be different. If you can’t find Mostachón look for sweets called jamoncillo or jamoncillo de leche or macarrones or ones that say dulce de leche. All of these sweets may also have either vanilla or cinnamon added for additional colouring and flavours. Regardless of the slight differences they are all tender pieces of fudge-like confections.