If you have not been to el Astor, you have missed some of the best candies and confections in Medellin. A tradition for tasty snacks and sweets since 1930, its popularity has never waned. It has formed cherished memories for my wife since the 1950’s and for me since I first visited Colombia in the 1980’s.
The original tea salon was opened by the Swiss couple, Enrique Baer and Anny Gipppert. Yup, Swiss as in quality and Swiss Chocolate! The plot begins to unfold. While not real big on sweets I do enjoy an occasional chocolate and these are about the only ones I eat. Take a look at their selection here. The Aguardiente Mice (Ratoncitos de Aguardiente) are really good. Yes, I said mice, cute chocolate mice. Aguardiente is the licorice flavored Colombian National beverage. The combination sounded odd to me at first but their candy makers have created a delicious product.
Another fun chocolate treat are the Cucarrónes. These are large Swiss chocolate beetles. Just the thing for kids or anyone who likes a little fun with their candy. The Sacher lips would make a great Valentines gift or perhaps not to subtle hint any time of the year. There are more romantically inclined candies to chose from, kisses (Besitos de Negro.) These are a white cream filling covered with chocolate and I will vouch for their lingering sensation of excitement.
When I was kid I was fascinated by marzipan (mazapan in Spanish). I never got to try them but now thanks to el Astor I can have all I want. The ones I have seen there are the traditional fruits in bright colors. If only these had shown up in my Easter baskets.
So far I have been yacking about the standard line of candies made with sugar. If you want to, or need to avoid sugar, el Astor has a line of dietetic candies just for you. These include milk chocolate bars with peanuts, sugarless cookies, chocolate truffles and more.
My favorite location is the original shop on Junin. There are however other seven other locations including Medellin’s two airports, el Poblado, Laureles, the los Molinos Shopping Center, Puerta del Norte and San Lucas. That pretty well covers the city as you can see on their map (this may be a little slow to load).
One last thing, the service is very good. According to Nubia many of the waitress have been employed their since they were young women and I think this speaks to the quality of the people as well as the products.