• JUDITH BAKER

Chocolate box Patagonia

Beer, chocolate and stunning mountain views - Argentina's lake district is a feast for the senses

Image: Beautiful Bariloche

The Patagonian Lake District in Argentina is as pretty as a picture with its Alpine style chalets, beautiful lakes and snow capped mountains. San Carlos de Bariloche is the main tourist town in the Argentinian Lake District with a colourful tram that runs past the main square and a distinctive European feel. The area attracted Swiss, Austrian and German settlers with its fresh mountain air, snowy peaks and challenging hikes. Although Argentina is famous for its wines, there are a surprising number of small breweries in Patagonia and the craft beer bars in places like Bariloche add to its Germanic feel.

This area is famous for its chocolate and there are as many chocolatiers on the main street in Bariloche as you would find in Geneva and the quality products are in the same league. There is a Chocolate Museum and a number of shops have cosy tables where you can sip hot chocolate.

In Villa La Angostura the town seems to be in a permanent state of Christmas with Santa Claus statues and Christmas elves in shops and squares all year round.

Above: Chocolate in Barliloche

Twenty kilometres from Bariloche is the ski resort of Cerro Catedral, featuring a vertical drop of 1000 meters, close to 1500 skiable acres and 38 lifts. Catedral has a ski village where skiers and snowboarders walk over to the neighbouring microbrewery for the après-ski jollity. A more civilised experience is found at the Llao Llao hotel which opened in 1940 and recently underwent renovations. The hotel features an 18-hole golf course with 360-degree views of Nahuel Huapi National Park. In fact, many people (like us) visit the hotel just to get a glimpse of the stunning views and enjoy an elegant afternoon tea or meal at one of the restaurants.

A tour around the lakes following the the Camino de los Siete Lagos takes you as through two national parks: Lanin and Nahuel Huapi, encountering the eponymous seven different lakes along the way: Nahuel Huapi, Espejo, Correntoso, Escondido, Villarino, Falkner and Machónico.

© 2016 by EAT DRINK TRAVEL LTD.