Tag Archives: Patagonia

Shot of the Week

El Chalten Argentina

A week ago my mom and I took a trip to Patagonia, the Argentine towns of El Calafate and El Chalten, specifically. In El Chalten, a tiny place that attracts hikers and lovers of the outdoors, we trekked for about 45 minutes and reached this panorama.

Karina

Ice Cream in Patagonia

Patagonia’s Tastiest Products

part 4: helado

Helados Jauja, by Karina for TKGO

Helados Jauja, by Karina for TKGO

The most underrated or overlooked aspect of Argentine gastronomy: helado. Helado is the delectable happy-medium—that perfect halfway point—between traditional, creamy American ice cream and dense, flavorful Italian gelato.

Helados Jauja flavors, by Karina for TKGO

Many Bariloche chocolate shops, including Rapa Nui, also serve up helado. My personal favorite is Helados Jauja (pronouched “how-ha”). From the organic farms of El Bolsón come the ingredients for Jauja, and the quality is discernible in each bite: it all tastes fresh and full-flavored.

Cone of Jauja almond and chocolate with plum helado, by Karina for TKGO

Coming on Sunday, a Patagonia Lake District Shot of the Week.

Part 1: Chocolates from Bariloche

Part 2: Jam from El Bolsón

Part 3: Beers from El Bolsón

Karina for TKGO

Beers from El Bolsón

Patagonia’s Tastiest Products

part 3: beer

El Bolson beers

El Bolsón beers, by Karina for TKGO

In addition to jams, El Bolsón also boasts some seriously flavorful artisanal beers. The eponymous Cerveza El Bolsón wins for most inventive beers. Flavors include chocolate and strawberry, and all manage to retain their brew dignity while also tasting undeniably like chocolate, strawberry or whatever the flavor is.

Otto Tipp beer sampler

Otto Tipp sampler, by Karina for TKGO

Otto Tipp, which was started by a German immigrant of the same name, is the original, and serves up complimentary tastings. Araucana is another local favorite. You can purchase a big cup of Arraunca on tap at the famous artisan market in town, which takes place a few times a week.

 

Araucana Beers

Araucana Beers, by Karina for TKGO

 

 

Part 1: Chocolates from Bariloche

Part 2: Jam from El Bolsón

Karina for TKGO

Jam from El Bolsón

Patagonia’s Tastiest Products

part 2: Jam

Cabana Mico sign in El Bolson

Cabaña Micó sign in El Bolsón, by Karina for TKGO

El Bolsón encompasses a host of organic farms, and homemade jam is a local specialty. Cabaña Micó is considered to produce some of the tastiest and freshest, all without the assistance of additives and preservatives. Taste as many flavors as you’d like, though I wouldn’t expect to recognize them all, especially the berry flavors. Many of the fruits are specific to the area, such as the Calafate berry.

Cabana Mico

Inside Cabaña Micó, by Karina for TKGO

Two more posts coming, one Thursday, one Friday!

Part 1: Chocolates from Bariloche

Karina for TKGO

Chocolates from Bariloche

Patagonia’s Tastiest Products

I spent the Christmas holiday in the Patagonia Lake District, about a 20-hour drive south of Buenos Aires. It was the perfect time to be in the area, as the relative cold and snow-capped surrounding mountains gave the place the wintry, festive feel I am used to around Christmas, though it was still early summer. Another major reason I was in my typical holiday spirit was thanks to the rich regional goodies, specifically chocolates.

Some of the country’s finest artesenal chocolates, beers and jams are produced in Patagonian Lake District towns, and many are available only there. I was sure to get my fill while in town, and also stock up on some to bring back home. Below is some of the edible best of Patagonia.

part 1: Chocolate

Bariloche, the “Argentine Swiss Alps” is heaven for a chocolate lover. Numerous factories in town churn out truffles, chocolate bars, and chocolate candies sell them at their own local stores, which, with the smell of fresh chocolate wafting out, I found impossible to pass without entering. All brands sell their version of chocolate en rama, a popular and Bariloche-unique form chocolate is crafted into that somewhat resembles a tree trunk or tight cluster of small branches.

Rapa Nui Chocolate en rama

Rapa Nui Chocolate en rama, by Karina for TKGO

My personal artesenal chocolate stores—and I took it upon myself to try the majority of them—were Rapa Nui, Chocolates del Turista (in my opinion it has the best “chocolate en rama”) and Mamuschka. Take a self-guided tour and pop in and out of chocolate stores for free samples.

Mamuschka

Mamuschka, by Karina for TKGO

How I wish I still had one piece of chocolate en rama, or rather the willpower to have saved one. Instead, I’ll divert my focus into putting together three more posts about Patagonia’s tastiest products.

Karina for TKGO

Antarctica: The Research

That little red dot in the bottom right hand corner? That’s a hut.

Antarctica dwarfs all human activity. Even a Frank Lloyd Wright, in place of that little red shack, doesn’t stand a chance against these towers of ice and snow. And this might be the reason why marine biologists, naturalists, geologists, penguin researchers and explorers love Antarctica more than Heidi Montag loves plastic surgery.

 

December 22, 2006: The greatest igneous rock your 7th grade science teacher never showed you is actually a landmass, and a geologist's dream.

 

Our expedition offered a little of everything. Dennis, a marine biologist, reported his findings in videos and photos every day after scuba diving to the bottom of the ocean. Jason Kelley, a geologist and naturalist, explained how the results of volcanic activity can be seen most clearly in Antarctica, where land is relatively unchanged since its formation because of a lack of vegetation.

Mike Polito, one of the many penguin researchers and a grad student at the time, taught me how to count penguins (with a counter) and use the results to track each species’ migration patterns.

Sometimes counting penguins is hard…

…and sometimes it’s too easy.

On the other end of the spectrum is Soames Summerhays, a National Geographic IMAX documentary filmmaker, who was filming a documentary on the continent and its wildlife. (As far as I am aware, it has not yet been released.) The two of us co-wrote a daily expedition report (DER) for the National Geographic ship logs about our day in Brown Bluff.

Research bases

Research bases became a way for countries to lay claim over different areas of Antarctica in the 1800s and 1900s. Chile, Argentina and Great Britain fought for over a century over borders in Patagonia and on the continent, and all still lay claim to overlapping territories. But who’s counting now, when neither Chile nor Argentina have active research bases in Antarctica?

 

International graffiti on old silos near the 1920's-era Chilean base

 

As there is no one able to haul off huge metal silos (not to mention nowhere to recycle them), this abandoned 1920’s-era Chilean research station is left to rust and wear in the elements.

 

An abandoned boat in the volcanic crater

 

This once-thriving Chilean base sits in the bed of a volcanic crater. The choice was ideal because the sea is calm, the rocks break the wind, and icebergs and debris don’t generally make it that far.

Port Lockroy

The Chileans and Argentinians don’t have research bases, but the British do! Port Lockroy is an active British research station on an island in the Antarctic Peninsula, and it’s the only active base left on the continent.

 

Researchers bunk in this room at Port Lockroy.

 

The base has been declared a historical monument and is funded entirely by people like me who bought dozens of penguin keychains and Antarctica postcards in the gift shop. It’s run by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust, a charity set up in 1993 to restore the station’s buildings and preserve human history in the Antarctic.

 

Beware the strong winds! (They blew a little kid right off this entrance ramp to Port Lockroy and into a patch of nesting penguins to left, below the frame. Oops.)

 

For more of what’s going on now at Port Lockroy, check out the UKAHT’s Port Lockroy Diaries, written by researchers and logged on the site as far back as 2003. Read the most recent Port Lockroy entry to find out how researchers prep for four months at the south pole. Now how do we get jobs on that base…

Tara for TKGO