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Mad Hot Latin Snacks

I love it when big brands go ethnic, even though frequently the foods are way off target and totally end up sucking. Pasta Roni World Flavors, anyone? I primarily mean items intended for American audiences since I suppose lots of countries have local staples replicated by U.S. corporations like one of my personal favorites Pillsbury parathas (too bad they didn’t put a bindi on Poppin’ Fresh’s forehead). Currently, the flavor craze is Latin American. Lime, chili, dulce de leche are seeping into our subconscious.

Dulce de Leche M&Ms are old hat, being introduced in 2001. But I’m still steaming over their no show in NYC. I think they were test marketed in parts of California, Texas and Florida. I don’t even think they still make them. Speaking of M&Ms, I see they’re going dark. I’m guessing they’re jumping on the antioxidant bandwagon (despite the whole Star Wars shtick). Next thing you know they’ll be churning out whole grain Hershey bars.

La Dulceria Thalia is quite a line of products. Dulce de leche Hershey’s Kisses, spicy Jolly Rancher pops, cajeta candies. Where is this stuff? Maybe I just haven’t been looking hard enough or in the right neighborhoods. Ah ha, I just grabbed a bag with Thalia’s face at the Jack’s 99-cent store counter. It wasn’t until I got it back to work that I realized the chocolates are cookies and cream flavored. So, now the Oreo combo is Hispanic too?

Entenmann’s Delicias Latina really got me excited and normally I don’t give a crap about Entenmann’s. New flavors of things I don’t even ingest make me happy. Mango loaf, tres leche cake—it just seems more appealing than ordinary danish. Leave it to Western Beef whose slogan “we know the neighborhood” is generally pretty true. They carry all sorts of packaged Caribbean and South American treats from local bakeries. But this is the first mainstream brand I’m aware of with a Latin line. It’s only a matter of time before guava cream filled Twinkies replace strawberry (hmm, I could’ve sworn there was a strawberry and cream Twinkie, but I’m not seeing it anywhere. And I don’t mean Tiger Tails, one of my absolute favorites, which have also been discontinued).

McCain Latin Latitudes You thought those potato smiley faces were wild—now McCain has gone Latin. It’s so hot to handle that these products aren’t available to the public. If you want to taste Cuban Style Pork Spring Rolls or Jamaican Style Jerk Chicken Dumplings you’ll have to have fine dining establishments that purchase these frozen treats cook them up for you.

Flamin’ Hot Limon Cheetos I don’t know that these are specifically Latin flavored cheese puffs. It’s not like Chester Cheeta is wearing a sombrero or anything (just his trademark shades). But I say it counts. Cheetos are the only chip (yeah, yeah, not everyone thinks cheese puffs are chips) I like, and chili and lime is a pretty right on combo. Don’t even get me started on all the amazing Lay’s varieties I encountered in S.E. Asia. It was almost enough to make me crave potato chips.

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