The Products and Flavors of Patagonia

From the Andes to the ocean, on the very edge of South America

Argentinian Patagonia is a region full of natural beauty and unique flavors. Made up of six provinces and the islands of the South Atlantic, it has a wide variety of climates, from the arid Patagonian steppe to lush forests in the foothills of the Andes. The cold climates that characterize the region have shaped its culinary culture.

Patagonian cuisine has been influenced by a blend of pre-colonial rituals and traditions brought by immigrants, principally from central Europe. Fish and seafood from the Tierra del Fuego and the Atlantic coast, lamb from the vast steppe, red berries from the Andean Region, mushrooms, fruit, and wine from the Alto Valle, and nuts, honey, and craft beer are just some of the culinary treasures produced in this region that sits on the very tip of the American continent.

Moreno y López, Colonia Suiza, San Carlos de Bariloche (2021-02-08/2021-02-11) by Diego TorchiaGustar

A treasure trove for visitors

There are several destinations that live up to this claim: Bariloche, with its iconic Llao Llao hotel; Esquel, with its famous ski resort; and El Calafate, close to the national park that is home to the Perito Moreno glacier, to name but a few.

Primeros pobladores, Colonia Suiza, San Carlos de Bariloche (2021-02-08/2021-02-11) by Diego TorchiaGustar

A little bit of history

Indigenous people, such as the Aónikenk people, the Selk'nam, and the Mapuche have lived in Patagonia since the very beginning of time. Magellan, Darwin, and the Argentinian Francisco P. Moreno are just some of the distinguished explorers to have ventured into these lands. Welsh and central European settlers began to arrive from the 19th century onward. 

La barca, Colonia Suiza, San Carlos de Bariloche (2021-02-08/2021-02-11) by Diego TorchiaGustar

A land of lakes

There are hundreds of lakes across the entire Patagonian region. Many are fished or used for leisure activities. The Camino de los Siete Lagos (Road of the Seven Lakes), between San Martín de los Andes and Villa La Angostura, is one of the region’s great wonders.

Truchas, Colonia Suiza, San Carlos de Bariloche (2021-02-08/2021-02-11) by Diego TorchiaGustar

The presence of trout in Patagonia’s lakes, and the fishing industry that has grown up around it, have resulted in a strong tradition of trout fishing and hatcheries. Wood-smoked trout is a particularly well-known product, although Patagonia has several different trout dishes.

Ralladura de limón, Colonia Suiza, San Carlos de Bariloche (2021-02-08/2021-02-11) by Diego TorchiaGustar

Most contain garlic, lemon, and rosemary, but trout dishes are very varied. Trout can be baked, pan fried, grilled, or even coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried. Another common recipe is stuffed trout with a butter sauce, and there are numerous other options.

Huerta III, Colonia Suiza, San Carlos de Bariloche (2021-02-08/2021-02-11) by Diego TorchiaGustar

The splendor of the Alto Valle

The Alto Valle (High Valley) of the Rio Negro is one of the most important fruit-producing regions in the world. Thanks to meticulous farming and the area’s climatic conditions, fruits from this region—mainly apples and pears—have a distinctive flavor and texture.

Confirmando que está todo bien, Colonia Suiza, San Carlos de Bariloche (2021-02-08/2021-02-11) by Diego TorchiaGustar

Almost two million tonnes of fruit are harvested per year in the Alto Valle, with fruit production being the region’s main economic activity. Although it mainly grows pip fruits, the region has significant areas of land given over to stone fruits, vines, and nuts.

Ahora es cuando, Colonia Suiza, San Carlos de Bariloche (2021-02-08/2021-02-11) by Diego TorchiaGustar

Chocolate

Bariloche makes around 1,000 tonnes of chocolate per year, and the city’s Civic Center hosts the annual National Chocolate Festival. The city’s most iconic landmark was built in the mid-20th century by two Italian immigrants, who arrived at around the same time.

Detalle Frutos rojos, Colonia Suiza, San Carlos de Bariloche (2021-02-08/2021-02-11) by Diego TorchiaGustar

Red delicacies

In the foothills of the Andes, the Andean Region of Parallel 42 has a climate that is particularly favorable for growing berries such as blueberries, raspberries, and cherries. El Hoyo, in the province of Chubut, has been the National Berry Capital since 1986.

Una porción, Colonia Suiza, San Carlos de Bariloche (2021-02-08/2021-02-11) by Diego TorchiaGustar

European traditions have had a significant influence on Patagonia’s desserts. From Magellan barberry jelly to Welsh cakes, these European desserts have been adapted to Argentinian ingredients.

Arándanos, Colonia Suiza, San Carlos de Bariloche (2021-02-08/2021-02-11) by Diego TorchiaGustar

The proximity of Patagonian towns and villages to all kinds of berries has led to a long tradition of artisan jelly and jam production. Their unique flavors have meant that they are now considered typical products of this region.

Salón de ventas de la fábrica del ahumadero Familia Weiss en Península San Pedro, San Carlos de Bariloche, Río Negro (2021-02-09/2021-04-12) by Diego TorchiaGustar

Fruits such as elderberries, Magellan barberries, blackcurrants, and sweet briar rosehips are exclusive to Patagonia and used in a growing number of ways in the region’s cuisine. Trying these sweets and jellies is now practically obligatory.

Nueces, Colonia Suiza, San Carlos de Bariloche (2021-02-08/2021-02-11) by Diego TorchiaGustar

Nuts

The country’s largest area of nut production is in northern Patagonia, in the Valle Inferior (Lower Valley) of the Rio Negro. The region produces walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts in quantities that have increased over the past few years, for both domestic consumption and for export.

Puesto de comida (2021-01-15) by Leo LibermanGustar

Fish and seafood

The Tierra del Fuego is internationally renowned as one of the best places for recreational fishing. Although trout fishing is the main activity, the abundance of seafood in the Argentine Sea is reflected in the cuisine of Patagonia’s coastal regions.

1 Rogelio_Espinosa-centolla BeagleGustar

One of the most traditional shellfish varieties of the Tierra del Fuego region is spider crab. Diners can select a living crab from a fish tank in restaurants, which is then cooked in boiling water. It is usually served with tomato and lemon, and condiments such as ketchup and mayonnaise.

Credits: Story

Ministerio de Turismo de la provincia del Neuquén /  Secretaría de Estado de Turismo de la provincia de Santa Cruz / Instituto Fueguino de Turismo / Editor: Diego Marinelli/Text: Juan Marinelli<br>

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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