This one is left over from my extremely fruitful visit to Washington D.C.'s Union Market back in March of 2016. So I have to thank my friend Keith one more time. I misplaced these candies in a bag and kind of forgot about them. But now they get their day in the sun, so to speak.
Both my candy bags were Colombina products. This company is immense, which makes sense considering how the tiny Colombian candy companies presumably don't export to the U.S. (Or if they do, I haven't seen them.) Not surprisingly, this juggernaut has an extensive website, so I was able to learn a few things about its history. Hernando Caicedo founded Colombina in the 1930's. In 1960 they adapted European manufacturing techniques, and made a move away from using artificial flavoring. In 1965 they started exporting to the important U.S. market. In 1970 they introduced their famous Bon Bon Bum, a gum-filled lollipop. In 1975 they introduced their flagship product, Coffee Delight Candy. By the 1980's, they acquired or partnered up with other companies, and expanded into the biscuit (cookie) line. In 2001, through a company alliance, they broke into the instant coffee market. By 2004 they got into the ice cream racket, and by 2007 they entered the soda cracker game. Finally, in 2013 they acquired a hot sauce company, and allied with LivSmart to co-produce health drinks. Currently, they're sold in 70 countries all over the world, including much of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, North, Central, and South America, and India, Pakistan, and New Zealand. So essentially, they have a foothold everywhere but most of Asia, and Australia. The online company product list has 86 pages, and aside from the foods and beverages I've already mentioned they also manufacture baby food and quinoa (see May 1, 2014 post).
The first bag of candy I bought was Fussione, billed as "Premium Quality Candy with European Flavor," in this case the Caramel Delight hard candies, with real chocolate filling. These were small (about 2 cm./.75 inch) diameter disc-shaped, brown colored candies. They were, as advertised, hard candy which melted into a liquid-y chocolate center. The caramel flavor was tasty, as was the chocolate filling. I really liked these. Even though, as I discovered, they were nearly 2 years past their "best by" date!
Next up was a literal grab bag, the Colombina "Fun Mix." The label listed 8 kinds of candy, but I could only locate 6 different types. (As I said, I tried some of these over a year ago, and then misplaced my notes and the bags themselves, so I think this discrepancy is my fault.) This bag was still within its "best by" freshness date.
1) Bon Bon Bum, gum-filled lollipop. This was an oval lollipop, about 3 by 2 cm. (about 1.5 by .75 inches), with a red color. The lollipop itself was Berry Explosion flavor, and was quite good, with a pleasing berry taste. However, once it melted down into the gum center I lost interest. I'm not a gum guy--I find gum kind of gross after it loses its flavor (which for me is like 30 seconds), since to me it's like chewing on plastic. So I'm clearly not the target audience for this one.
2) Fancy Filled, Strawberry candy. This was a red oval, about 1 inch (2.5 cm.) long. In structure it was like the Fussione, a hard candy surrounding a liquid-y center. It was alright, but not spectacular. The strawberry outer flavor and the inner center were okay, but not great.
3) Striped Buttons, in cherry and lemon (or pineapple?) flavors. These were disc-shaped, 2 cm. (.75 inch) diameter hard candies with white stripes (obviously) and were red, and yellow, respectively. These were just okay. Decent flavor, but rather pedestrian.
4) Watermelon Tiger Pop. This was a lollipop that was basically a hard candy on a stick. It was green colored and oval, about 1 inch (2.5 cm.) long. I'm not a big fan of watermelon flavor, so I didn't like this one much, and didn't finish it.
5) Cherry/Lime Tiger Pop. This was a bigger (about 3.5 cm./1.5 inch diameter), round, flat lollipop, with red and green stripes. Once again, it was adequate, but nothing special.
6) Frutacidas chewy candies. These were rod-shaped, about 3 cm. (1.25 inches) long. 3 flavors--sour pineapple (yellow colored candy), sour lemon (green), and sour strawberry (orange). (As an aside, isn't "sour" lemon redundant?) These all had soft, taffy-like textures. I liked these,as all had the appropriate fruit flavor. The sour strawberry was the best.
Therefore, I came away thinking these Colombina candies were hit and miss. The "Fun Mix" assortment was particularly a mixed bag, quality-wise, for me. I would get the Caramel Fussione and the Frutacidas again, but probably not the others. Although, to be fair, even the "worst" candies weren't terrible or anything, just kind of average or "meh." I will try other Colombina products when/if I get the chance. And, quite frankly, those who find themselves in Colombia would probably have quite the challenge in not buying this company's products, given how many foods and beverages they sell.