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  • Sandra Cesca

Mexican Willy Wonka

Updated: Sep 29, 2019

Jesus the Candyman prepares hot caramelized nuts.

This is Jesus. Always smiling and helpful and making people laugh when he tells them his nickname is Willy Wonka. Caramelized nuts not chocolate are his specialty and although he is the manager, you will often find him stirring the hot copper pot of vanilla, sugar, water and any number of nuts, sunflower seeds, or coffee beans...all products of Mexico. He will tell you he uses the best vanilla in town for the vanilla orchid was originally discovered in Mexico. But more about vanilla later.

We became friends at least 10 years ago when I started to bring people here to taste his many yummy products. His family operates eight “dulceria” shops throughout Vallarta and Jesus oversees them, checking on inventory and operations on a weekly basis. But he loves interacting with the customers to let them know his first priorities are service, quality sweets, and a friendly helpfulness. All of his staff can be found wandering the store handing out samples of all kinds. This is the best kind of candy store…free samples!

The caramelizing process takes only a few minutes once the sweet liquid is bubbling hot. Add nuts, seeds or coffee beans, stir, and when all the liquid is gone, having coated everything, pour the contents out onto the stainless tray for cooling. My favorite are the pecans. Chia coated peanuts are popular also and the caramelized coffee beans will give you enough energy to last the rest of the day. Visit his candy shop on Calle Augustin Rodrigeuz across the street from the Central Market.

If you want to read more about art and culture from my travels, go here. If you are in Vallarta and would like to take a walking tour with me to visit some of these interesting cultural shops then go to my Walking Tours website.

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