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Chili-coated candies: Which sweat-inducing sweet is the best?

Chili-coated candies: Which sweat-inducing sweet is the best?
Photo illustration by A.J. Olmscheid

To warm up to National Candy Month, this week's Food Fight is between a few chili-coated candies from Dulceria La Piñata at Mercado Central on Lake Street. Read on to find out which one can take the heat, and which was best left with the Play-Doh.

Chili-coated candies: Which sweat-inducing sweet is the best?

Pelon Pelo Rico Peloton

These "bits with dehydrated mango covered with chili" smelled and felt like Play-Doh. Covered in reddish-orange chili powder, the stick-to-your-teeth bits were bright yellow inside with a sickly burst of (artificial? dehydrated?) mango flavor.

Spice level: 3.5/10  

Chili-coated candies: Which sweat-inducing sweet is the best?

Skwinkles Rellenos

Picking up spicy strawberry Skwinkles, with that irresistible alliteration, was a no-brainer. The candy "strips" resembled Twizzlers and tasted similar to rope licorice with some added spice. Both the cloying sweet strawberry flavor and the spice lingered.

Spice level: 4.5/10  

Chili-coated candies: Which sweat-inducing sweet is the best?

Pulparindo (Picante and Extra Picante)

Pulparindo is a salted and spiced tamarind candy. As popular as tamarinds might be in Central America, Pulparindo was a candy we gagged down with effort. The picante version is chalky; the extra picante version downplays the chalkiness with enough salt to make you pucker and enough spice to put your taste buds out of commission for a few minutes.

Spice level: 2/10, 5.5/10   The verdict: The Swinkles have it. They had the best name and the least objectionable texture. And if candy must be spicy, we appreciate the comfort of pairing it with a familiar flavor like strawberry.


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