Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Blocked in Bolsón? No Calafate for You!

As the deadline approached to submit the manuscript for the new edition of Moon Handbooks Patagonia, I spent most of the last week of February enclosed in my accommodations in Bariloche, snacking on takeaway empanadas and downing repeated mugs of tea. One of my biggest disappointments on this whole trip, though, was that I was only able to take a day to visit El Bolsón, one of my favorite destinations in the region.
Even then, I was mostly resigned to verifying existing information for the new edition, but I did get to stroll around Saturday morning’s Feria Artesanal (pictured above). There I sampled one of the Belgian waffles, with fresh local raspberries and whipped cream, a treat that I first sampled here some 20 years ago.
I had had a really disappointing dinner the night before but, at the very least, there was always Jauja (pictured below), the mother ship of my favorite ice creamery’s increasing network of locales around the country. Since December, I had already visited Jauja's shops in Neuquén and Bariloche, but those lacked the full complement of creative flavors that Bolsón usually boasts.
Even this, though, turned out to be a bit disappointing. I was especially looking forward to calafate con leche de oveja (calafate berries with sheep’s milk), and the frambuesa con leche de oveja (with raspberries) that I had sampled in Bariloche was only a distant runner-up. When I got to the counter, though, there was no calafate to be had – a batch was in the works, I was told, but it would be a couple days (that I didn’t have) before it would be ready. I settled for chocolate profundo (bittersweet chocolate), ristretto and mate cocido (another of my favorites, though many Argentines find an ice cream made from their favorite bitter infusion, which resembles green tea, a little too challenging for their tastes).
That accomplished, I returned to Bariloche to finish up the text, which I sent off to California despite some email glitches (Argentina has some of the world’s slowest Internet service, and there are frequent outages in Bariloche especially). I’m now back in Pucón, on the Chilean side of the border, and heading to California at month’s end.


Even so, my travels may not quite be done. Yesterday, I learned, I may have to make a separate trip to Buenos Aires to take oversee some remodeling of our Palermo apartment (where the local branch of Jauja is just a block away, but the calafate season will likely be over). That’s before my wife and I make a two-week trip to Norway and Sweden at the end of May. Maybe, there, we’ll get to sample lingonberry ice cream.

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