And they're delicious. 

By Margaret Eby
May 08, 2019
Courtesy Vida Verde

The last time you encountered a piñata might have been at a birthday party or a backyard celebration, the kind of party where it only feels right to bash a paper maché creation until candy and toys fall out. But in Vida Verde, a colorful Mexican restaurant in midtown Manhattan, piñatas aren't just for decoration and party games: They're on the menu. 

The edible piñata looks like a smaller version of the party store ones, a festive sphere made of white chocolate festooned with rainbow sprinkles, with milk chocolate spikes covered in gold paper. It arrives at your table with a small maraca, which you use to hit the sphere until it cracks open, revealing an array of treats—chocolates in different shapes, tiny churros, marshmallows, and Mexican candy. The contents are a bit higher-end than the packets of mini-Skittles that I remember from piñatas of my youth, and the experience is delightful. The night I went, I cracked open a piñata to find tiny white chocolate rabbits, red chocolate hearts, and macarons in various flavors amidst the other sweets.

The piñata is the invention of Chef Adrian Ramirez, who took inspiration from his family.  "The creation of the piñata began through a memory of my childhood, one of the hundred stories with my mom and my brother," Ramirez said. In his childhood versions, he and his family would use newspaper, magazines, and a homemade glue to make their creations before filling them with candy. In the restaurant version, he uses tempered chocolate. 

"I experimented with so many ingredients until we got the right piñata," he said. "I wanted to make sure I had the same feeling I had when I made theses piñatas as a child. There are even chocolate cones around like an original piñata."

As with any homemade piñata, part of the charm of the desert is that they're all slightly irregular. "The piñatas I create are not of a perfect shape and may be slightly different in sizes because as a 7-year-old I couldn’t make the perfect size piñata and mirrored that here at Vida Verde," Ramirez said. 

The piñatas come in two sizes—a smaller one, for $12, and a larger one, $60, which takes 24 hours to create and can easily feed a table of four to six dessert, depending on how intense your sweet tooth is. 

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