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The Dominican Treasures’ seal was created with the financial support by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) aiming at expanding the tourism offer based on supporting tourist Mipymes (acronym for “micro, small and medium enterprises”). 

The Dulcería Doña Benza is a Dominican Treasures that seeks to preserve and highlight the gastronomic tradition of Constanza’s culture.Its gastronomic offer ranges from arepas, coconut, milk and orange candy, and the famous “panela” which, with the help of her grandson, José Manuel Gutiérrez, has delighted for years locals and foreigners, enticed by their delicious taste.

 Life for “Doña Benza” not only evolves in front of the “fogón”  as 30 years ago, this cherished woman started the charity event of holding a Christmas dinner every December and give toys to children who, she says, are her biggest weakness. She has been recognized by the Ministry of Women in Constanza as an example to be emulated, and by the Constanza’s Ecotourism Cluster for her contributions to local gastronomy. Her finest form of promotion are persistence and perseverance.

This project located in Constanza was launched by Maria Mercedes Gutiérrez, known as “Doña Benza”, a native from Constanza who has dedicated more than 60 years of her life to making handcrafted candy. This business has been her family livelihood.

This mandatory stop has been considered an important option for local and international visitors who visit this destination. This is why with USAID’s support, its facilities were remodeled.

The result has been an innovation that increases local self-esteem, the rescue of culture and a sustainable and inclusive complementary touristic offer for visitors.

This has been a successful project that deserves to be highlighted!

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This document was produced with the support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) under the terms of the Cooperation Agreement No. AID-517-A-12-00001 implemented by the Association for Challenge Course Technology (CDCT). The content and the views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of USAID, or the Government of the United States of America.