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Author Topic: C H I C L E  (Read 506 times)
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« on: March 17, 2009, 08:20:32 pm »

Chicle is the natural gum from Manilkara chicle, which is a tropical evergreen tree native to Central America.

The tree ranges from Veracruz in Mexico south to Atlántico in Colombia.

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 ['ʦikt͡ɬi], which can be translated as "sticky stuff". Alternatively, "chichle" may have come from the Mayan word, "tsicte".

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.

Locals who collect chicle are called chicleros.

is similar to the tapping of latex from the rubber tree: zig-zag gashes are made in the tree trunk and the dripping gum is collected in small bags. It is then boiled until it reaches the correct thickness. Due to widespread tapping, the Manilkara chicle tree has become scarce and other sources like the related balatá (Manilkara bidentata) are increasing in use.

Chicle is also a standard word for 'chewing gum' in Spanish.


^ Manilkara chicle information from NPGS/GRIN

^ Mexicolore article on chicle
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