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Gift from the Sisters

Photo by Don Ball. Lots more family photos at my Flickr site.

In the foreground is a wedding gift to my cousin Rosa from the Sisters at Virgen del Carmen, an ancient cloister in the Barrios Altos neighborhood of Lima. My family has attended the church there for years and my abuelita would chat on the phone with the "madrecita" nearly every day.

The gift itself is a cultural treasure: it's a colonial era sweet that has nearly been lost to history. Can you make out the foil-wrapped balls inside the basket? They are key limes, which have been halved, hollowed out and candied, then filled with manjar blanco (a thick caramel also known as dulce de leche) and then rolled in powdered sugar. It takes hours to make these things and to my knowledge the sisters are the only ones left in Lima who make them.

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