I would go back to Bariloche in a heartbeat just to eat chocolate, drink coffee and savor juicy Argentinian steaks!
Bariloche, or San Carlos de Bariloche, is located in southwestern Argentina, at the slopes of the Andes and southern shores of Nahuel Huapi Lake. Some people refer Bariloche as the Switzerland of Argentina, because of its Swiss-style chalets and gable houses, snow-capped mountains, lakes, cafes and countless chocolate shops.
On Calle Mitre, the main street in Bariloche, one can’t escape the smell of chocolate coming from the chocolate shops. Most of these chocolate shops also serve coffee – what a heavenly combination!
The shops are stocked with stacks of chocolates by the windows and even more inside. These shops offered samples; an attempt to turn window shoppers into customers. The tactic worked on me, and I was sold, resulting in days of eating chocolates and washing it down with coffee.
Drinking coffee and sampling chocolates in the many chocolate shops is one of the many things to do in Bariloche. It’s best to buy the chocolates or chocolate cakes with a cup of dark espresso and enjoy while you are there.
History of chocolate in Bariloche
Chocolate manufacturing started in the mid-1900s when European settlers, mostly from Germany, Switzerland and Austria started making chocolates at home. After World War II, two Italian men, Aldo Fenoglio and Benito Secco, and their families, arrived in Bariloche separately. Fenoglio started the first chocolate making shop: Tronador Chocolate Factory in 1947, which was later named Fenoglio Chocolate. Secco also started his chocolate making shop in the same year and named it Chocolates del Turista. Both men had experience in the art of chocolate making in the Swiss-Italian Alps.
Today, some chocolates are still handmade, although most are mass produced in factories.
4 Places to drink coffee and eat chocolate in Bariloche
1. Rapa Nui
Started by Italian immigrants in late 30s, Rapa Nui is a popular ice cream, cupcake, chocolate, and coffee shop in Bariloche. The large chocolate fountain by the window sets it apart from its competitors. Seats are found inside the shop, located next to an ice skating rink, separated by a glass wall with a door.
Rapa Nui sells ice cream by weight in kilogram and by the number of scoops. My visit coincided with the Easter holiday. All chocolate shops were well-stocked with Easter eggs in various sizes and types.
In Rapa Nui, we had espresso, ice cream and chocolate fondue with fruits and cookies.
Location: Mitre 202, Bariloche
Go for coffee, hot chocolate, liquer filled chocolates, tiramisu, and dark chocolate-covered orange peels. Get a seat outside under the red umbrellas. You are free to taste Mamushka’s chocolate before purchasing.
Mamushka is a beautifully decorated place with a red exterior and interior, red boxed chocolates and wooden director chairs with red covers. In addition, the logo, a row of Russian matryoshka dolls, is worth noting.
Location: Mitre 298, Bariloche
3. Chocolates del Turista
Started by Benito Secco, one of the first chocolate makers in Bariloche, Chocolates del Turista has many shops in Bariloche. The biggest is on Avenida San Martin, where chocolate making demonstrations are available almost daily. The shop has a selection of chocolates to sample and a coffee shop that serves coffee, hot chocolate, and chocolate covered cakes.
Take a look at an Instagram photo shared by Chocolates del Turista:
Location: San Martín 252, Bariloche
Frantom has an on-site chocolate making center and a shop. Customers can peek through the glass windows to watch the process. Tasting samples are available, but not for all products. Frantom’s chocolate and coffee are slightly cheaper than those in other chocolate shops in Bariloche.
Location: Mitre 183, Bariloche
Add drinking coffee and eating chocolate in Bariloche to your list of activities to do if you are planning a trip to Argentina.
Have you been to Bariloche? If you have, which were your favorite coffee and chocolate shop? Please share in the comments below; we’d love to hear from you!