Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hecho en Mexico: Chiclets

Originally uploaded by Yzukerman
Chicle is the natural gum from Manilkara chicle, says Wikipedia, which is a tropical evergreen tree native to Central America.

It was traditionally used in chewing gum. While the Wrigley Company was a prominent user of this material, today there are only a few companies that still make chewing gum from natural chicle. This is because by the 1960s chicle was replaced by butadiene-based synthetic rubber which was cheaper to manufacture.

Chiclets are named after chicle.

The name "chicle" comes from the Nahuatl word for the gum, tziktli [ˈtsiktɬi], which can be translated as "sticky stuff". Alternatively, "chichle" may have come from the Mayan word, "tsicte".[2] Chicle was well known to the Nahuatl-speaking Aztecs and to the Maya (Amerindians), and early European settlers prized it for its subtle flavour and high sugar content. The ancient word is still used in the Americas, "chicle" being a common name for chewing gum in Spanish.