Chocolate & Churros

Posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 at 5:22 pm

I learned about chocolate and churros when I first started researching the regional specialties of Spain.  I read that it was a tradition in Madrid to indulge in the duo either at breakfast or during the very late night/early morning hours.  I was immediately in love with the idea of dipping hot, sweet churros into thick, dark drinking chocolate.

In Valencia In Valencia

Flashback:

On my trip, I tried to eat everything in its place.  There was no way, however, that I was going to wait until the end of my trip to try chocolate and churros in Madrid.  I tasted it in Valencia, my very first stop.

I chose a xocolateria called L’Orxateria right beside Mercado Central.  The dark chocolate was delicious, though so thick and rich that I could only drink half before it was no longer a pleasant extravagance.  The churros, short rods of fried dough, were served cold and greasy.  I felt like I ruined good chocolate when I dipped the oily churros.

I was disappointed in my first chocolate and churros tasting, but I figured they must be better in Madrid.  Though you can find the combination in almost any city, I held off until I was back in the capital.  There were plenty of other treats to taste in the meantime.

Sitting Churros

In Madrid, over a month later…

In the morning, many bars had cold platters of churros on the counter, in place of the evening tapas.  (I saw a spot that kept tall stacks in a glass case all day long.)  While waiting for my laundry, I ordered a churro for breakfast at onesuch bar.  It tasted tragically of old, unchanged fryer oil.

At Chocolat Chocolat

I didn’t give up on churros.  I had faith that I just needed to go to a churreria or chocolateria, which specialize in the pairing.

I started at Chocolat (Calle Santa Maria 30).  Its menu boasts ”churros caliente.”  Nevertheless, when they arrived seconds later, they were stone cold.  I took them back to the counter and asked, “Es posible caliente?”  They put some new ones in the fryer, while I shifted my focus to the goblet of drinking chocolate.  This chocolate was made of a very good, very dark chocolate, though it was only slightly thicker than American milk-based hot chocolate.  When my fresh churros arrived, they were perfectly hot and ungreasy.  Chowing down, however, the batter was bitter.  While I know that Spanish churros are not as sweet as those in Mexico, I followed the example of others around me, taking two sugar packets and sprinkling their contents over my churros.  I liked the churros better with sugar, but ultimately they were just a ridged vehicle for the chocolate.  This might have been fine if the chocolate had been thicker so it could cling to the churro.

Chocolateria San Gines Chocolateria San Gines

Unsatisfied, that same night, I made a midnight trip to Chocolateria San Gines (Calle Pasadizo De San Gines 5).  One of the most famous destinations for chocolate and churros, it is open all night long.  Discussing churros, a couple of Madrilenos guaranteed that I would not get cold ones at San Gines.  I left them and went straight there, ready to finally taste the chocolate and churros of my dreams.  When the server brought my order, I immediately touched the churros… and they were cold.  I couldn’t believe it.  Once again, I sent them back, asking for hot churros.  The chocolate part of the equation was equally disappointing.  It was appropriately thick, but I could taste that it had been made so with cornstarch.  As it sat, it became too thick to drink, no longer even appetizing.  (The Food Network website has a recipe for San Gines’ chocolate and churros.  Indeed, their version is made with chocolate, milk, cornstarch, and sugar.)

I never found that idyllic combination of chocolate and churros.  I still hope it exists.  Next time I go to Spain, I’d like to try Valor, which has locations all over the country.  (Any other recommendations?)

La Mallorquina La Mallorquina

While there are no churros to be had at La Mallorquina (Puerta del Sol 8), I did find a pretty perfect hot chocolate there.  It was both decidedly dark and seriously sweet.  It was as thick as could be while still being smoothly sippable.  I was assured that the only ingredients are chocolate, cream, and sugar.  (Essentially then, it is like drinking a sweetened chocolate ganache.)  Despite the rich ingredients, it wasn’t overwhelming; this is the only drinking chocolate I tasted that was good to the last drop.

La Mallorquina La Mallorquina

La Mallorquina is a pasteleria.  While there are no churros, there are plenty of other decadences to soothe a sweet tooth.  The counters are lined with small plates, each with an individual serving of cake or pastry.  Just point to pick.

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