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Milk Chocolate. Dark Chocolate. Hot Chocolate. White Chocolate. Chocolate with Dulce de Leche. Chocolate covered fruit. Chocolate Fountains. Chocolate with Nuts. Chocolate with Cereals. Chocolate Tiramisu. Chocolate! Chocolate! Chocolate!
How many ways can one eat chocolate??? There is one place in Argentina where you are bound to find out. Bariloche! The European immigrants who settled in Bariloche after World War II have started a tradition in this beautiful mountain town with their home-made chocolates. Chocolaterias (Chocolate Shops) in Bariloche are now scatterd among the busy streets and lure in everyone from the traveling backpacker to the local children. The extravagantly decorated windows and sweet smells of the shops pull you into a scene from ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’. Those with a sweet tooth may be inclined to sample a bit of all the chocolates, but if forced to choose one shop specifically you must know what you are looking for. The Chocolaterias all have their own appeal and stand out with their their immaculately adorned shops, windows, and distinct BRIGHT COLORS.
YELLOW – While walking down the main street, Mitre, the first shop that will probably catch your eye is del Turista. The moment you walk in the shop you feel as if you have been brought back to your youth with the wall to wall chocolates, the ice cream, the fancy packages that come in all shapes and sizes, and the excitement on the faces of all the other visitors. It is one of the biggest shops and probably one of the most visited. You should definitely stop by to see it. In the back there is a big cafe where pies, tarts, and cakes of all sorts can also be ordered to enjoy with a nice cup of tea or coffee. However, if you are looking for the best chocolates in town I would recommend waiting for the next stop.
RED – The locals will tell you that the best chocolate in town is from Mamuschka. I heard this from a number of people in Bariloche and made it a priority on my list. The place is so popular that you have to take a ticket to wait for your turn in line to place an order. Once it is your turn, you select your size of box and pick and choose between the hundreds of chocolates that lie before you until it is filled up. The chocolate is amazing, and if you are visiting during cold weather conditions, it is nice to sit in the back cafe and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate as well. They have a signature chocolate, the ‘Mamuschka Royal‘ that you shouldn’t pass up. Once you experience the chocolate melting away in your mouth you will know exactly why they stamp their name on top of it.
DARK BLUE – Fenoglio was the first cholocateria in Bariloche and is said to only use natural products. It creates a fairy tale atmosphere and lures people in with their samples and smiles.
MARROON – Rapa Nui. If you are by any chance planning on moving to Barioche, a ten percent discount is given to locals who shop at this chocolateria. It is a bit quieter, good chocolate, great service, and my favorite part is the big chocolate fountain that sits in front. Other specialty food can also be purchased in the back.
LIGHT BLUE – Look for the friendly grandmother statue that sits outside this small shop dressed in her light blue dress and apron and you will know you are at Abuela Goye. It is a smaller shop with a strong sense of family, tradition, and pride in what they do. Their chocolates are still made with the original recipes that were passed down throughout the generations of their Welsch family. The extremely friendly people are always exctied to see you and happy to share a piece of their tradition with you.
This list does not describe every shop but hopefully is enough to get you started when you find yourself craving sweets in Bariloche. Frantom, Estrella Alpina, and Tante Frida, are a few that I missed and I have also heard have great chocolates.
The only negative side of all the chocolate shops in Bariloche is that it is nearly impossible to try them all. However, if you make it a priority, give yourself some extra time, and bring a big appetite, I am sure you will be able to taste a bit of the culture and tradition within each of them.