21 November 2011

Raising The Bar

Argentina, a chocolate lover’s dream…

Argentina is not generally known for chocolate. We all know about food like succulent steaks, sexy Tango dancers and grumpy gauchos, but not chocolate. If you head down to the Argentine Lake District in north Patagonia, to the gorgeous little city of Bariloche nestled in the foothills of the spectacular Andes mountain range, you will find chocolatiers by the dozen.

The first chocolate ‘factory’ was set up in Bariloche by an Italian immigrant called Aldo Fenoglio, in his own home (think more mixing bowls and wooden spoons than Willie Wonka). This home-made process still persists, but on a huge scale. The Fenoglio family still sell chocolate from a fairytale shop on Bariloche’s main street, Calle Mitre.

Walk down the street and you will see an array of normal looking department stores. Look closer and you’ll notice these department stores are actually selling chocolate, and chocolate alone. You can pop in and sample the flavours, and buy a charmingly wrapped little bag, but don’t overdo it in the first shop, there are many others.

If the myriad chocolatiers sprinkled throughout Bariloche fail to satisfy your chocolatey cravings, then take a trip to the Chocolate Museum, where you can learn all about the history of this most magical of aphrodisiacal foodstuffs and follow its story from bean to bar. For chocolate lovers, Bariloche is a dream come true.

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