Great fun, but don't give to any children that you actually like.
The Tamarind Maraca is a sweet, tart and spicy candy. Imagine a chewy lollipop with the consistency of gummy bears. It's tart, almost sour, and sweet. But dusted with hot pepper. A treat for an adult. An impolite trick for any child accustomed to taste "Power Berry" or "Cran-Apple-Sugar."
Tamarind is a popular flavor in Mexican food, especially candy and sodas like the "Boing!" soft drink pictured with the Tamarind Maraca to the left. The paste tastes sour to me, but, like lemon, the flavor mixes well with sugar or used in sweet-sour cooking.
The "maracas" are a two-lollipop package sold for $1.69 at Lily's Mexican Market in Columbia. They're named for those "shaker" instruments.
For more about Lily's, check out this profile or read all the posts about Lily's. Or look through a comprehensive list of Howard County markets.
(Update: I had the wrong address here. Lily's is in the shopping center with the DMV.)
Lily's Mexican Market
6490 Dobbin Center Way
Columbia, MD 21045
NEAR: The DMV off Dobbins Road just south of Rte 175. Turn into the center at the intersection with a Blockbuster. Sushi King and the DMV are in the same shopping center.
Recipes that use Tamarind pulp that you can also buy at Lily's: http://recipes.epicurean.com/asc_results.jsp?ingredients=Tamarind