Bariloche – a slice of chocolate heaven

26 05 2010

SOUTH AMERICA – THE JOURNEY PART 1

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Chocoholics rejoice, I’ve discovered a slice of cocoa heaven for us all.

Barlioche, the southern Argentinian town hemmed in between dramatic mountains and deep lakes, is a sweet-toothed fiend’s paradise. Its streets are crammed with chocolate shops and fondue restaurants which jostle for tourist dollars, and I’ve been more than happy to give them my fair share.

Dreams melted

Lured by Bariloche’s divine setting at the foot of the Andes and on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi, an Italian man set up the first chocolate factory here over 60 years ago. I’m told Aldo Fenoglio had all the ingredients for success when he produced the first chocolate flake, but without any copyright Cadbury’s crumbled his dreams of international notoriety. Not long after, other Europeans with a taste for money moved to Bariloche to set up their own competing businesses.

Now the plethora of chocolaterias in Bariloche, which import cocoa mainly from Brazil and Mexico, make a killing by adding inches to visitors’ waistlines.

Speaking Spanglish

Although the attraction of devouring chocolate morning, noon and night was nearly enough to tempt me down here single-handedly, I’m actually in the town for a couple of weeks to attend Spanish school. While I’m muttering my way through the basics I’ve noticed that my miming skills have vastly improved, so much so that I’ll be competing in the next Sharrards World Championships.

Terrified of not being able to speak a single ‘hola’ when I arrived in Buenos Aires, I bolted down to the school in Bariloche a few days after. I wasn’t lured by the Argentinian capital as so many other travellers have been – the cold, grey weather attributed to this alongside the towering buildings that force the streets to cower in their shadows. In the sun-eclipsed roads, water-stained apartment blocks and colonial buildings dwarf the street jugglers who weave between the battered 1980s cars that Argentinians adore.

Holy Cow!

However, Buenos Aires’ steak houses are an attraction to shout about. The aroma of chargrilled beef and sweet jus pulls in the hoards like a magnet and I was powerless to resist. Completely unaware of the steak house ‘rules’, five of us each ordered a dish and were overwhelmed by what must have been an entire cow’s worth of beef. While the locals gave us a knowing smirk and tucked into one portion between two people, we left with bulging jeans and doggy bags.

Luckily in Bariloche, I’ve been able to go on a few hikes and ‘dance’ off the over-eating with lessons in salsa and tango. I was initially immobilized by laughter during tango classes but have since wobbled through the primary steps, not without a few sore toes though. Now I just have to master the language and the dancing.

I guess I could be in Argentina for a while then.

WHERE ON EARTH?

Argentina

  • The southern-most country in South America, stretching 3,500km from north to south (the eighth largest country in the world)
  • The temperature ranges from boiling hot in the north to ridiculously cold in the south (so much so that even the penguins move north in the winter, or so I’m told)
  • The capital is Buenos Aires
  • Only 40 million people live here among a shed load  of bulls for their steak addiction

Bariloche

  • It’s a 24-hour bus journey south from Buenos Aires, but fear not, it is interspersed with 80s music videos played on loop
  • The Alpine-esque town is in Patagonia, the area renowned for its cold temperatures in winter and howling wind, but the scenery here is definitely worth carrying all those extra layers in the backpack
  • The Andes mountain range form the spectacular backdrop
  • In the winter it becomes a skier’s playground and for the rest of the year it’s an outdoor adventure area for hiking, paragliding and climbing fans
  • It has all four seasons and current autumnal colours are like a kaleidoscope
  • The temperature right now is bloody cold! But what a great excuse to drink a big hot chocolate…

NOTE: ALL PHOTOGRAPHS ARE COPYRIGHT OF JANE BATCHELOR


Actions

Information

One response

12 11 2010
The Rise and Fall of Machu Picchu « South America Journeys

[…] chop with the best hot chocolate I’ve had since the cocoa heaven of Bariloche, Argentina. (https://southamericajourneys.wordpress.com/2010/05/26/bariloche-a-slice-of-chocolate-heaven/) A must for chocoholics or those just wanting to while away a rainy afternoon in Cuzco. Daisy was […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: