Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - 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.
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.
Sound pretty tasty, right? Join my Historic El Centro walking tour to visit his shop.Sandra Cesca has traveled the world, but found herself returning to Mexico more and more. She moved to Puerto Vallarta in 2008 and never looked back. She currently offers eight different Puerto Vallarta Walking Tours, which include history, architecture, culture, artisanal crafts and ecology. Her photos and articles can be found on puertovallartawalkingtours.com; yourculturalinsider.com; sandracescaphotography.com; Instagram and Facebook. She can be contacted at sandra.learn.vallarta(at)gmail.com; or sandra.cesca.photography(at)gmail.com.