As a trade show barker for many years, I’m familiar with the all present candy jar at the booths. It draws potential customers in for a quick elevator speech and some carry back marketing material. I just attended a trade show in south Florida targeted to the Latin American market. Our sales manager from Mexico City was our main demonstrator, and before the show opened we asked him if he had a local favorite candy that we could buy to put in our candy jar.
His face lit up with a smile when he said, “Yes, I do have a local favorite candy from Monterrey – but you can’t buy it in the U.S.” He went on to tell us that since a child his favorite candy was called Glorias. He revealed its ingredients, and, as it turns out, it’s probably the only commercial goat’s milk caramel in all of the Americas. Goats are everywhere in Monterrey – cabrito, or grilled whole kid goat, is the specialty of the region. So its no wonder that their milk, with sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and pecans are mixed together to make the region’s beloved candy. And, the Gloria is probably the only one of the many and interesting native candies of Mexico that doesn’t get the salt or spice treatment.
There are several companies that make the candy in Mexico – the Monterrey based – Linares Company, Aldama, and Las Sevillanas. The latter two are known for their signature red wrapped Glorias.
The story behind the candy begins in 1932 in a little town Linares, in the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon. Two enterprising women, Natalia Medina Nunez and Melesio Perez started a business selling goats milk candy. A few years later, Natalia went off on her own, creating the product “Las Glorias.” It caught on quickly and became famous all throughout Mexico. One story says it was named after Dona Natalia’s granddaughter, Gloria. But another said customers were so satisfied by the chewy candy that they said, “It tasted like glory!”
I think there’s a possibility that Jungle Jims or one of the many Latin Groceries carry this favorite Mexican treat and I look forward to discovering it!