If there’s one thing we love about the summer sweets season, it’s the pineapple explosion. Summer is a wonderful time for tropical flavors like mango and citrus, but the real star of the season is the piña. Today, we’re diving into our favorite things about pineapple candy: the history this unique flavor represents in Mexico, and of course, our favorite pineapple candies!
Where did the pineapple come from?
Pineapples are one of the many joys of South America. This tangy, fragrant fruit originated in South America, in places like Brazil, Peru, and the Caribbean. In the 17th century, explorers brought the pineapple to Europe, where its unique flavor profile and decadence — as well as the difficulty and expense involved in bringing pineapples across the Atlantic — made the pineapple a major status symbol among Europeans.
Today, the pineapple is famous in recipes like piña coladas, tacos al pastor, and fruit salads around the world — and it’s also pretty darn amazing sprinkled with sugar and thrown on the grill. (Just don’t get us started on the “pineapple on pizza” debate — MexiCrate HQ is split pretty much 50-50!)
Why is the pineapple important in Mexican culture and food?
Once pineapples made their way to Mexico from South America, the Aztecs and Mayans began to incorporate them into their recipes, eventually cultivating pineapples themselves to avoid the expense of transporting them from further south. Recipes passed down over generations — directly from our Maya and Aztec ancestors! — utilize the pineapple in both sweet and savory dishes.
Today, you’ll find pineapple in just about everything. You could even have an entire Mexican meal entirely centered around pineapple! For appetizers, we’d start with spicy, savory salsa de piña and a fruit salad served in a scooped-out pineapple, featuring mango and melons — and the pineapple itself — dusted with Tajin. For a main course, we’d serve tacos al pastor (usually chicken or pork marinated with pineapple, grilled, and served with salsa de piña) or succulent chicken-and-pineapple kabobs thrown right on the grill. And for dessert, empanadas de piña and a glass of fermented pineapple juice, called tepache.
What are some of the best Mexican pineapple candies?
Now that we’ve made you hungry, let’s talk about one of the best parts of Mexican pineapple culture: the candy!! Because of its naturally sweet flavor, pineapple is a great ingredient to add to Mexican candy. Our spicy-savory-salty-sweet flavors absolutely explode when paired with pineapple. Piña makes an excellent base for other ingredients, like chili powder and tamarindo.
Here are just a few of our favorite Mexican pineapple candies:
- Tinajita Giant Pineapple (and chili powder!) Lollipops
- Safari Jira Sprinkles Sweet and Sour Candies
- Ravi Crazy Piña
- El Chavito Piña Enchilada
- De La Rosa Pulparindo Pops
If you’re not sure where to start with Mexican pineapple candy, treat yourself to MexiCrate’s Grande box subscription: during the summer months, we always introduce a pineapple-focused collection!