The Mercado de Dulces is among the first Merced Markets many explorers will encounter. It’s right on the ultra-busy avenue, Circunvalación, from which it’s buffered by one of the street’s only stands of trees.
The sweets market opened originally in September of 1949. It has upwards of 150 merchants, arranged over 12 main aisles, inside. Outside are many others.
Altogether, then, it’s tough to photograph (too many people), but a true delight to actually find. It’s probably the second most popular of all of the markets in La Merced, after only the Nave Mayor itself. The market is just to the north of the Santo Tomas la Palma Church, the twin palms of which are usually visible from the avenue.
Many of the vendors here will spill right onto the sidewalk. They’ll even continue on the sidewalk, as far north as the Calle General Anaya. That can make getting in and out a challenge on busy days. And nearly all days are busy.
But don’t get the idea that this is all wholesale. Giant bags of mass-produced candies are here. But more interesting are some of the many hard-to-find raw materials: sugars, and nuts, and spices that go into traditional candy recipes. It’s said to be the only place in the country where all of the traditional ingredients can be found in one place.
You may encounter swarms of bees, especially outside. But overall, it’s a sprawling complex of dealers in sweet treats and unique things to sample.
The Mercado de Dulces is just one part of the Merced market, though. As one gets deeper into the building, one should realize that it barely pauses. You can be outside, and lost in another part of the market, and all before you’ve realized it. Enjoy it.
Hours: Daily 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.