Having a chocolate craving in Chile is sadly unsettling, especially since the widely popular Super 8s or Sahne Ness never seem to satiate the urge. Fortunately, the tiny inkling of multi-ethnic culture here in Santiago has brought over some of their absolutely tasty treats, Middle-Eastern style.
Photo by Carla Pastén
When walking by Bombón Oriental in Santiago’s Bellas Artes borough, the shabby exterior will not even make you look twice. But slow down, because with one glimpse of the sweets put on display, you’ll be running in to buy everything they’ve got.
This Middle-Eastern influenced bakery has pastries that are hand-made in the store and chocolates brought from Puerto Varas (a city located in Chile’s southern lakes district). Opened more than 40 years ago, every good they have is unique and coated in tradition. Yolanda, the Chilean head baker, learned the trade from a Bulgarian-Grecian baker years ago, and has been spreading the joy ever since.
Their glass display is filled with various flavors of chocolate – including raspberry, coconut, manjar (a creamy sweet sauce made using condensed milk), orange and wine, among others. The best choice for those who have a stronger palate is the bitter truffle. Covered in chocolate powder, this piece of heaven melts in your mouth without getting you sugar-shocked.
Actually, every piece they sell is dark chocolate - but it perfectly compliments the extra sweet fillings. They can be handpicked and bought for CP$3,300 (US$5.90) per 100 grams. “Every piece is sent from the small town of Ensenada in Puerto Varas. And is very unique to the town,” Yolanda proudly proclaims.
Aside from the amazing chocolates, there are also traditional Middle-Eastern pastries lining their display. Made fresh every morning, each is a great end to a meal. A popular treat is the Baklava, commonly made in Arabic and Iranian countries. This flaky dessert is slightly sweetened and filled with nuts. Another famous pastry is the Mamoul, which they have three types of: sesame, pistachio, and poppy seed. These are a nice blend of dough, powdered sugar and nuts (of your choosing). There are plenty more that are worthy of trying and each run for CP$1,200 (US$2).
Not all of their pastries are Middle-Eastern though. They also have all sorts of cakes, pies, cheesecake and strudels. Their strudels are usually apple, but when in season in the summer, they also make them with cherry filling. There were plenty of Chileans sitting outside indulging themselves with these sweets, sold by the slice, paired with a shot of espresso – a combination to die for. Each portion costs CP$1,500 (US$2.68).
To top off all these tempting choices, every Saturday and Sunday Bombón Oriental makes traditional Chilean empanadas, which cost CP$1,200 (US$2). And the fillings include chicken, beef, mushrooms and cheese. So on the weekends you can grab a freshly baked empanada and finish it off with your choice of dessert. In fact, if you’re craving a more filling meal, two doors down from the bakery is their café, where they serve Arabic sandwiches and falafels.
This is a great place to try something new - a little piece of the Middle East right here in Santiago.
Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile
Monday – Sunday 9:30am to 9:30pm
Metro: Bellas Artes