December 8, 2005

Chocolate capital of Argentina

Chocolate superstore There is more chocolate here on display than I have ever seen in my life. Bariloche is the self proclaimed “Chocolate Capital of Argentina”, and they really mean it. The warm chocolately smell as I entered one of the chocolate supermarkets will be one of the loveliest memories of my trip.

To add to the temptation of constantly eating everything around me, plates and trays of mouth watering pastries and endless rows of metal tubs of gelato were on display, their enticing aromas wafting to the street through the open doors. There is a strong German and Swiss influence here due to early immigration, and it is reflected everywhere. Hence the amazing chocolate, the incredible alpine wooden lodges, and the weird fascination with forest gnomes.

We also sampled some of the famous alfajores, a confection composed of two crumbly shortbread discs glued together with dulce de leche (a completely addictive spreadable caramel, translates on menus as “milk jam”) and then coated entirely in chocolate. Waaaay too sweet for me, but I can understand why it is such a treat for people with insatiable sweet tooths (Jonanthan).

The little mounds of freshly made chocolates mimicked the peaks that surround the city. Bariloche is blessed with mountains, alpine wildflowers and glacial lakes of over 100 km in length. To offset all the eating, we took ample advantage of the outdoors, and went hiking up to several scenic peaks.

The cheap prices for food and excursions, combined with the spectacular scenery and blooming flowers has made this one of the best places I´ve been. We spent 8 days here easily, though we originally had only planned on half that. Though it´s probably a good thing that we had to move on – any restraint on sampling more of the scintillating treats was due to give out at any moment. :)

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