A visit to Morélia’s Museo del Dulce (Candy Museum)

Museo del Dulce (candy museum), Morélia, Michoácan, Mexico

Museo del Dulce (candy museum), Morélia, Michoácan, Mexico

Between hurricanes and head colds we had to cut a lot of things from our Morélia itinerary, but the Museo del Dulce (candy museum) wasn’t one of them.

The Museo del Dulce in Morélia

This is an unusual and really interesting little museum dedicated to the long history of candy-making in Morélia and Michoácan. De la Calle Real, the candy-making firm that operates it, has been in business since 1840 and is run by the oldest family of candy-makers in Morélia. The museum is located in a 19th-century Mexican mansion, and all the staff dress in period costume from the early 20th century.

Museo del Dulce (candy museum), Morélia, Michoácan, Mexico

For only 17 pesos you can take a tour that includes a demonstration of this traditional process of making ate (a candied fruit paste famous in Michoacán), a room with mechanized candy-making equipment from the 1940s, and a short video on the history of candy-making in Morélia. Hundreds (thousands?) of vintage photos and fading candy recipes cover the walls like wallpaper; turn-of-the-century tools and equipment are everywhere. It’s a step back in time.

From what I read, the cafe is excellent with wonderful cappuccinos and exquisite local cakes, but unfortunately it was closed when we were there. Hey, didn’t they know we were coming?!?

The tour is in Spanish, and our guide talked fast. Fast and quiet. I understood maybe 30% of what she was saying. Thankfully the film had English subtitles. We learned that Morélia is known for ate, a fruit paste made from boiling fruit puree and sugar that has been made there since Dominican nuns introduced it around 1600. Aminillas, or fruit leather, are popular too. Many Mexican candies originated with the nuns from Spain, who sold candy to support their convents.

The candy-making demonstration was interesting. Our guide added quince paste and sugar into a traditional copper pot over a wood fire, and then stirred the boiling mixture with a large wooden spoon for a few minutes. She checked the paste regularly, and once it more-or-less stuck to the spoon, the ate was ready. The mixture was spread into a mold. After it cooled, it received a sprinkling of sugar. We sampled the ate, and found it quite tasty with a pleasant granular texture, though I do admit to a preference for chocolate and caramel.

The store is packed floor-to-ceiling with various sweets made from fruits, chilis, nuts, and other traditional ingredients. They’ve got rompope too. My favorite things were the Aldama cajeta wafers and the chocolate meringues. Ate is tasty, truly, but it’s not the first thing I reach for in a room full of candy. Cajeta, that’s my demon! It’s a Mexican goat’s-milk caramel, and we get along very well indeed. Some of the meringues made it into my bag too. Thankfully Scout had her own money to spend so we didn’t have to negotiate the candy selection. Can you imagine?!?

Museo del Dulce (candy museum), Morélia, Michoácan, Mexico

Museo del Dulce (candy museum), Morélia, Michoácan, Mexico

Museo del Dulce (candy museum), Morélia, Michoácan, Mexico

Museo del Dulce (candy museum), Morélia, Michoácan, Mexico

Museo del Dulce (candy museum), Morélia, Michoácan, Mexico

When we were there several of the rooms were closed off, and—as I already mentioned—the cafe was dark and empty. Perfectly understandable as it was near closing time. But I’m definitely going back when the whole place is open (and my Spanish is better) so I can poke around and learn even more about the history of candy-making in Michoácan.

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Morélia’s Candy Museum (Museo del Dulce)

Location:

Av. Madero Oriente No. 440, Zona Centro

Planning your trip:

The Museo del Dulce is the last stop on the little Centro Histórico trolley tour, so if you’re going to take the tour, you don’t need to plan a separate visit to the museum. We didn’t realize that until we hopped on the trolley, so I’m glad we hadn’t already seen the museum.

Learn more:

To learn more about Morélia’s Museo del Dulce from someone who understood 100% of what was said, read Cristina Potters’ excellent post at Mexico Cooks!

Make Mexican ate at home:

Want to make ate de membrillo (quince ate) at home? It’s simple and would be fun to try. Here’s a recipe from NZ MexConnex.

Museo del Dulce (candy museum), Morélia, Michoácan, Mexico

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Patti October 12, 2013 at 9:34 pm

What’s better than candy and a candy museum?! And what an adorable picture of your daughter!

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2 Renee October 13, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Thanks, Patti. It was such a great experience. Scout loved it.

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