In Northern Patagonia, Bariloche and El Bolson are must-sees in the quest for the best sweets in Argentina. Bariloche’s city center is the chocolate capital of Argentina and is lined with endless chocolate shops, and the hippie haven of El Bolson’s Saturday afternoon market delivers with its warm, sweet waffles and artisan trinkets. This guide highlights the best sweet stuff in Northern Patagonia and what to try when you visit, as there are an overwhelming amount of options. Before going any further, it should be noted that one can spend an afternoon walking down the main street, Mitre, in Bariloche’s center and pop into each chocolate store, whether brand name or mom and pop owned, and ask for a taste.
You won’t miss this big purple building when you’re walking down Mitre, Bariloche’s main street. Try to go during siesta (2PM-5PM) to avoid the crowds at one of Bariloche’s most popular chocolate stores.
Must have: a raspberry milkshake. Milkshakes are seriously lacking around Argentina, so take advantage while you can at Rapa Nui. The raspberry flavor is topped with chocolate covered raspberries from local farms in El Bolson.
The name “Of the Tourist” rings true for this chocolate mega-store. With two locations in Bariloche and attentive employees ready to disperse free bonbons, tourists feel welcome – and surrounded- by this chocolate superpower.
Must have: conitos. Sometimes mistaken for an alfajor (the dulce de leche cookie covered in chocolate), conitos skip the extra cookie layer and increase the amount of dulce de leche, creating a cone shape.
While other stores get distracted by the deliciousness of ice cream, cakes, and hot drinks. The focus at Mamushka is on the chocolate.
Must have: chocolate en rama. Chocolates en rama are white, dark, or milk chocolates made into the shape of mini tree branches. A classic and cheap way to enjoy Mamushka’s chocolate.
A relatively new business compared to the other big names, Tante Frida quickly discovered a fantastic chocolate formula.
Must have: hot chocolate and a medialuna. The hot chocolate here has found that perfect balance between bitter and sweet. Ask about a “promocion” or special deal to get a medialuna or pastry with your piping chocolate for cheap.
Walk along the central lake in Bariloche and eventually you will find the Havanna Chocolate Factory. Take a tour for US$4 to see chocolate sculptures of local fauna, discover the history of chocolate around the world, and peak into the factory.
Must have: an alfajor. Famous in Argentina and around the world for its alfajores, claim yours for free with your museum entry ticket in the gift shop/café.
The only store on this list that doesn’t sell chocolate. Its ice cream is widely accepted among locals as the best in the region. Locations in Bariloche and El Bolson.
Must have: Super Dulce de Leche ice cream. Super sweet, super creamy. Enough said.
The Market/La Feria: If you don’t plan on going for multiple day hikes, the artisanal market is the main reason to visit El Bolson, a short two hour bus ride from Bariloche’s center. The market is best to visit on Saturday afternoon. For lunch, plan on sitting in the grass in El Bolson’s main square with a big, cheap steak sandwich with fries. Bring some extra cash for souvenir shopping from the artisan vendors.
Must have: a waffle with all the fixin’s. Another food that is difficult to find in Argentina. Stop by the cart and order a warm waffle with chocolate, dulce de leche, strawberries, and whipped cream.
A Quick Savory Note…
As sweet treats are always best after a hearty meal, here are two restaurant favorites in Bariloche for a nice night out.
This steak house provides a relaxed vibe with its mint green, wooden furniture and unassuming presence at the top of a hill in the center. Guests come here for the killer steak and red wine.
Must have: bife de lomo. Sirloin steak perfectly cooked, seasoned, and hugely proportioned.
Vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike can enjoy a meal here. The best way to eat at El Vegetariano is to order and share the plate of the day which comes with fish or a vegetarian option and plenty of flavorful sides from local farms.
Must have: an organic, fresh squeezed juice