Chicle/ Chewing gum

Today after dinner, my husband said that his friend at work, Rick, got him some “original” chewing gum from an area near Campeche, Mexico. It is called chicle.

Rick was very kind to give him a little extra to bring some home to the family. I expected to see something packaged like Wrigley’s chewing gum, maybe with Spanish words on it.

However, it looked like this:


The real gum looks like a large block of taffy.

I cut a small sliver and have been chewing gum for the last fifteen minutes.

I cut a small sliver and have been chewing gum for the last twenty minutes.

What does this gum taste like, you ask?
My answer: it is much like describing what water tastes like; it has no taste of its own. Chicle is neither minty nor sweet, but it still freshened my breath. It is uncorrupted, it is pure, much like what the ancient Maya used to eat.

I am glad Rick got us a piece of the real chewing gum- a taste we would not have ever known. Thank you, Rick!

Did you know, most chewing gum companies have switched from using chicle to butadiene-based synthetic rubber, which is cheaper to manufacture. The only U.S. gum company still using chicle is Glee Gum.

I have never tried Glee gum. Have you? What is you favorite gum brand and flavor? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

17 thoughts on “Chicle/ Chewing gum

  1. very interesting – I would say it looks more like chicken liver from the pic lol. I would try it – after I saw you chew it.

    • Linda, Exactly my sentiment. I had hubby eat it before I did.
      You are right, taffy will not typically come in such a color maybe this was more like butterscotch/ khaki color. The consistency was like taffy though. I don’t cook much meat so would not have known how liver looks like. LOL. I agree it is not very appetizing to look at, considering what we are used to being packaged and presented to us as chewing gum. It sure made our evening educational and interesting. Thanks for stopping by and your comment. 🙂

  2. Hi Charu, This is Malathi. I’m glad to read your writing today. What a cute fact I just learned! Have a great day.

  3. I rarely chew gum, but this looks interesting! I often wonder about what’s in the gum we chew. I know it’s a huge no-no to swallow it and your body doesn’t digest it, so that is a scary thing! I wonder if the Chicle is the same?

    • Great to see this question from you Granny K. Apparently this is what I found out from wikipedia for you
      Chewing gum is a soft, cohesive substance intended for chewing but not swallowing. Humans have used chewing gum for at least 5,000 years. Modern chewing gum was originally made of chicle, a natural latex. By the 1960s, chicle was replaced by butadiene-based synthetic rubber which is cheaper to manufacture.
      Swallowing gum has resulted in medical complications and in some cases requiring a doctor’s attention hence the caution and more so for children who cannot understand this.

  4. I have to give you credit for putting foreign candy in your mouth, especially when we hear the issues Mexican plants have with their candy manufacturing… My kids made me discover all about chicle several months ago when they asked how gum is made and we had to google it. I don’t know we looked at pictures, and now I’m glad we didn’t because it doesn’t look very appetizing. I’m glad it tasted OK though.

  5. Hi Charu,
    I’m glad you found the raw chicle interesting. I found it interesting when I was introduced to it also. Blogging about it encouraged me to dig even more than I had previously. I was especially interested by your mention of Glee gum. It hadn’t occurred to me to look for modern gum made with a chicle base. I just didn’t think t
    there was any.
    I found several things interesting that I hope you don’t mind me sharing in comments. In the interest of brevity I’ll use an index format. So…
    Ten Interesting Things About Chicle

    1. Upon learning that most gum base is made from styrene-butadiene, a petrochemical used to make car tires and shoe heels, I’m sure I’d MUCH rather chew chicle! (tree sap – like maple syrup)

    2. Glee gum does use chicle in it’s gum base but it also uses synthetic materials. The base is not 100% natural. They don’t say what percent is chicle. Too bad, I was going to order some until learning that its not all natural. (see Glee FAQ’s)

    3. The only all-natural gum I could find (chicle & natural plant wax gum base) is CHICZA. “Organic Mayan Rainforest chewing gum”. The website says it’s available at Whole Foods. (I’m interested in trying it)
    4. Chicza uses sugars from the agave plant to sweeten their “Rainforest gum”. Agave is what tequila is distilled from. (I’m liking Chicza more and more)

    5. See photo two in this article. I would say this is the stage of the chicle we tried. Very raw, very fresh!

    6. The raw chicle was gifted to me in a small pueblo named Miguel Colorado, Campeche Mex (map link). You may notice a line of 41 cenotes (sink holes) that follow an underground river. Those cenotes is was took me to Miguel Colorado.
    7. I don’t like the sounds of what this article says. The Canadian government was going to ban some ingredients used in some chewing gum base because researchers found reason to be concerned about it safety for human use. Did big business get the Canadian government to forget it and allow use of a dangerous substance? Someone would have to do some digging to know for certain.

    8. You can learn many different things about chicle and chewing gum by reading wikipedia articles on chicle, chewing gum, Wrigley gum. I’ve followed link after link that tell about the rubbers used to make modern gum base and they just get worse and worse. I was looking for some reassurance that it was OK. I never found it.
    9. Google “raw chicle” to see some great photos of chicle throughout its life-cycle, from sap to chewing gum.

    10. sells bulk chicle. You can make your own flavor at home! I’m thinking of buying some. Let me know if you want to split a kilo.


    • Hi Rick,
      Thank you so much for your comment and all this educational information for all of us here. I truly appreciate this. Would you know if the chicle has an use by date on the raw material? I will email you regarding the bulk chicle since I am the only one in our family who eats chewing gum. Charu

  6. I’ve not heard of Glee Gum. I don’t chew gum, it aggravates my jaw. And I would really have second thoughts about it after reading the ingredient list!

  7. Hi, I just ordered some chicle base.
    thanks for your blog on this because I was so wondering what it tastes like.
    Looking forward to using it plain, as mint, spearmint or even the pine taste of chios mastika from Greece is a bit much for my mouth and I want to have my daughter chewing as per the orthotropic orthodontic facial beauty practices recommend.
    I have ordered 1kg of it from in Mexico.

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