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Best 4 Bariloche Chocolate Shops You Must Visit – And 1 To Avoid

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3 months ago

Bariloche is chock-full (pun intended) of chocolate shops offering tasty chocolates that range from traditional to innovative. We counted at least 15 different chocolate shops in Bariloche, so you really need to know which are the best of them because it’s almost impossible to go to them all!

We did the hard work and ate our way through Bariloche’s chocolate shops so that we can give you a considered view on the best Bariloche chocolate shops right now. It’s hard work, but we did it.

For those of you who don’t know, Bariloche is located on the western side of Argentina, with the famous Andes Mountains reflecting off the Nahuel Huapi Lake right in front of Bariloche. It’s an idyllic town, with a stunning snow-capped mountain backdrop and set on a calming lake. It’s the perfect place for trip in northern hemisphere winter, because it’s summer in Bariloche and there’s plenty to do.

Why is Bariloche famous for chocolate?

Following World War Two, hundreds of thousands of Europeans emigrated from Europe to Argentina, with many of them settling in Bariloche. Among those immigrants was an Italian chocolatier named Aldo Fenoglio arrived from Turin, one of Europe’s unofficial chocolate capitals, and opened his very own chocolate shop in 1948.

Fenoglio garnered quite the reputation for himself in the Patagonia region, particularly for his chocolate en rama, chocolates which look like the bark of a tree. The chocolate en rama has become synonymous with Bariloche’s chocolate scene and is a must-try for visitors to Bariloche.

Today, you’ll find chocolote en rama in virtually all chocolate shops in Bariloche. There’s an interesting reason for this, actually: many of the famous chocolatiers in Bariloche were founded either by relatives of Fenoglio (Rapanui, one of our favorites, was founded by one of Fenoglio’s sons) or former employees (Frantom, one of the established chocolatiers on the Bariloche scene, was founded by a former employee).

Where are Bariloche’s chocolate shops?

We’ve put together in one neat location all of Bariloche’s chocolate shops. You’ll notice that the vast majority of Bariloche’s chocolate shops are located between Calle Rolando and Calle Quaglia on Calle Mitte, the main street in Bariloche. That makes it easy to do a chocolate crawl in a few hours if you really want to, but you know what they say about having too much of a good thing. If you run out of time in Bariloche, nearby San Martin de los Andes is also home to a few boutique chocolate shops.

4. Rapanui

If you’ve ever heard about chocolate in Bariloche (or even in Argentina more broadly), you almost certainly would have heard Rapanui mentioned. This is probably the crown jewel of Bariloche’s chocolate scene, and everything down to the packaging is done expertly.

Rapanui has become quite the big operation, so it’s more or less lost the charm that can only accompany a boutique chocolatier. The shop is always teeming, and there is always a buzz around the ice cream counter.

One of their must-try chocolates is the milhojas blanco which is layers of white chocolate with dulce de leche (like most desserts in Argentina, it’s got dulce de leche). You can even get milhojas blanco ice cream if you’d prefer that on a hot day.

What you really want to try is the fra-nui. It’s more than just chocolate-covered raspberries: Rapanui has perfected the whole experience, and it’s probably one of the best souvenirs you take for yourself (others, too, I suppose) from Bariloche.

These days, Rapanui has expanded well beyond chocolate. You’ll find amazing jams and preserves, nut bars, liquors and chocolate spreads. They’ve even created a chocolate fondue (which makes sense given the Swiss flavor of Bariloche) which is absolutely wonderful.

3. Catedral Chocolates

Catedral is still a small chocolatier, so the store maintains that more homely and less commercial feel than the other chocolate shops. The staff feel a lot more invested in the enterprise which means you’ll get much warmer and personal service than elsewhere – and they’re more than happy to give you free samples if you ask.

They make excellent cubanitos (or cuchuflí as they’re known in neighboring Chile) which are essentially hollow sticks made with vanilla and usually filled with dulce de leche. You might have seen them in supermarkets, but they are poor imposters when compared with Catedral’s cubanitos.

If you’re a chocolate purist, you must try their crema de cereales. We tried quite a few of these in chocolate shops in the area, but Catedral made by far and away the best of them.

You can also buy merkén which is a local spice mix that originated around the Bariloche region. It’s got a smoky flavor and is made of dried and toasted ají cacho de cabra which is the fruit of a plant in the region and mixed with coriander, cumin and salt.

Catedral also stocks artisan alcohols from Argentina including the Manush Brewing Co., one of the best brewers in Bariloche.

2. El Reino de los Chocolates (The Chocolate Kingdom)

Located on what can only be described as the Chocolate Corner (there’s a chocolate shop in every corner!), El Reino has created an inviting places to treat yourself to chocolate. And although most chocolate shops in Bariloche are fairly inexpensive by Western standards, El Reino has managed to maintain excellent pricing given their high quality.

You’ll notice that a lot of their chocolate is sold in decorative tins which is unique for the area. It makes for a nice gift from Bariloche.

Local tip: At least as late as 2006, this shop was called Fenoglio (yes, the Mr Fenoglio), and then later passed into the hands of Del Turista (founded by Fenoglio’s brother-in-law) until at least 2013, and has been El Reino since at least 2017.

El Reino has a few more unique options as compared to the other chocolate shops, including the cereza blanco. I think you’ll be impressed.

1. Mamuschka

The first thing you’ll notice about the Mamuschka (which is conveniently located on the Chocolate Corner), is the giant Russian babushka dolls that spin all day and all night on top of its storefront. The reason why Mamuschka is our favorite is because they combine the three most important things to make a chocolate shop special: quality, aesthetic and vibe.

From the moment you walk in, the whole atmosphere of the place is immediately around you. It’s always full which means you might need to take a ticket, but there is such a huge variety that you’ll want a moment to just walk around and decide what you’d like to try.

Aside from the chocolate, they have a patisserie with all the exciting Argentinians desserts, and an entirely separate gelato shop just a short walk from their main store. You can get so many of their best chocolate flavors in ice cream form if you prefer that.

And in terms of their best flavors, the standout is undeniably the timbal de dulce de leche. It’s one of Mamuschka’s most famous chocolates – they’ve been making it since 1989! They’ve also won countless chocolate awards, including the international chocolate awards (how do I get on that panel) just based on this one. And you’ll see why when you try it: it’s somehow creamy, solid and crunchy all at the same time.

One of the things that I loved about Mamuscka is that their packaging and branding is both playful and high-end. Their gift shop is filled with bonbons and Argentinian desserts like alfajores which make for the perfect gift. Personally, this is where I bought the majority of my souvenirs from Bariloche (and Abuela Goye).

Bonus: The Chocolate Museum

The Museo Del Chooclate Havanna is located just outside of the main town. The truth is that it is quite a small museum and the story is presented in quite a basic manner, with the majority of the “tour” being a video. We wouldn’t recommend this.

At the very least, there is a Havanna chocolate store. For those of you that don’t know, Havanna is a chocolate store and café with locations all around South America. Havanna is not from Bariloche, and it can be found in so many places, so we don’t think it’s particularly special.

If you want to go on the tour, expect to wait between 30-60 minutes (you can’t go in alone – it has to be with a guided tour).

Travel tip: The tour is entirely in Spanish (and seemingly only begins when enough people gather), so make sure you brush up on your Spanish before you go.

And the 1 to avoid…

We didn’t think Chocolate Patagónico was particularly good. It has somehow found itself on to the majority of tourist trails for chocolate in Bariloche, probably because it’s on the main street and you’ll no doubt pass it on your way to Rapanui or Mamuschka. It’s also one of the cheapest in the area, but that has seemingly unfortunately affected their quality.

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