I love the sweet life

No, I’m not an addictive personality. But, there are some things that I MUST HAVE. It changes from time to time, but right now it is a little candy called chupetazo. Translated from Spanish, chupe means sucker or lollipop. A chupetazo means a big or extraordinary lollipop. Well, that is a gross exaggeration.

 Just like many things today, the name has been blown all out of proportion to the actual product. I think the word is hyperbole. For example, another candy here in Barranco (a district of Lima) is called canonazo (gigantic canon) when it is only a modest chocolate covered cookie. There should be some sort of government regulation to tone down these grandiose names.

Anyway, chupetazos are Peruvian in origin so I am happy to support a local industry. The going price right now is 50 centavos per piece. That is about U.S. 15 cents

Despite the name, I like these little suckers and crave one of them for my afternoon relax time after lunch (note: not a siesta). Fortunately, they are readily available. Right down the street is Victoria with her snack wagon. She is located half a block away, on the corner next to the girls’ school.

While Victoria has a steady supply of these little delights, I have found the need to expand my search. You see, Victoria lacks imagination and a spirit of adventure. She believes that fresa (strawberry) is the only flavor of chupetazos, and that, I now know, is my least favorite flavor.

 I lust for green apple, passion fruit (maracuya), and other exotic tastes. That means that only when I am in desperate need do I go to Victoria. Strawberry is my last resort.

Therefore, I’m still expanding my horizons with this product, and am excited to explore the world of chupetazos. For me, it has to be sour: the more, the better. That really is my main objection to strawberry—it is far too sweet.

In the center of this candy is another reward: bubble gum. Once the candy has been dissolved, you are left with a different taste. It could be sweet or sour. Anyway, you can chew away for a long time with another delightful flavor.

I’ve now acquired some sort of a reputation among the local street vendors. As I walk around the neighborhood, some waive at me and shout:

“Señor, hoy tengo el verde.”

“Today, I have green apple!”

They know that I will usually stop and search my pockets for a coin. You see, I believe that it is always good to have an extra chupetazo, just in case the urge strikes.

The neighborhood where I live also has many little hole in the wall grocery stores— sort of modest seven-elevens. I’m always scanning these stores for a chupe I haven’t tried yet. In fact, I just discovered a treasure trove with an impressive supply of passion fruit chupes. I’ll be visiting there frequently.

I’m just glad I don’t have an addictive personality.

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