Churros y Chocolate

Churro with Orange Chocolate in Pontevedra, Galicia.

I had been looking forward to real Spanish churros for a long time. Deep fried, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, and dipped in hot chocolate so thick it’s difficult to swallow – it seemed like the perfect recipe. Still, I’d tried similar things in the United States – stale tasting ‘churros’ at Disney World, Taco Bell’s “CinnaTwists”, etc… and I was eager to put aside for once and for all the creeping doubt that such a brilliant idea had been allowed to take only such pitiful forms.

I ate my first Spanish churros in Madrid – in the most traditional manner possible. After a night of partying, we jumped into a taxi and asked them to take us to Chocolatería San Ginés – one of the few restaurants open at 5 in the morning, and the traditional place to wind down for bed as the sun rises. The churros were good, I thought, better than any I’d had before – and dipping them into the hot chocolate was a brilliant and welcome decision.Still, I found myself wondering if San Ginés deserved its reputation as the best churros place – perhaps its mere popularity is a self-defeating prophecy, perhaps we simply came at a bad time, but the churros seemed a little bit limp and soggy to me. Anywhere else, I would have been quite happy with them – but were they really the best in Madrid – the best in Spain?

Sara and Colleen are extremely excited about these churros.

My next churros were in Pontevedra, Galicia. My friends and I were craving a real meal, but when we saw a sign advertising churros with hot white chocolate, we couldn’t refuse. The churros here were only decent, a little tough perhaps, but the chocolate was incredible – we ordered one big cup of white chocolate, and one of chocolate and orange, both so rich they seemed alcoholic. We didn’t leave before painstakingly swallowing every last drop.

I decided I liked these churro things, but the search for amazing ones – the ones that could truly embody my ideal of the recipe’s potential – was still on. You have to remember that I’m a Midwestern American girl, that Missouri leans towards the south when it comes to our carnival cuisine, and that I’ve always been a big fan of funnel cake and extra krispies to know where I’m coming from on this, and when I first saw the stand in Utebo, Aragon (near Zaragoza), I think I knew.

The Search for the Perfect Churros: Complete!

It was a greasy looking stand in the middle of nowhere – a playground in a suburb of Zaragoza. An unseasonably warm night was falling, and the fat man working there looked relaxed, his son bored. They were out of hot chocolate, but Lea and I were in a bit of a hurry anyway. We ordered one dozen churros, with sugar, and he squeezed the dough out fresh from a star-shaped nozzle into a vat of hot oil. A minute later we were headed towards the bus stop with a paper bag full of greasy, hot churros. The most American part of me was fantastically excited.

They were brilliant. They were crunchy on the outside and soft and doughy on the inside without seeming undercooked, they were coated with the perfect amount of cinnamon and sugar, prickling my tongue just right, they were luxuriously greasy, but never crossed that line that makes me too aware of it, instead it was all one, beautiful product, impossible to tell where the pleasure coming off of one magical component ended and another began. Did I mention that they were hot? I ate the first three without coming up for air, and savoured my second half slowly as they started to cool in the night air. They were still amazing.

Published in: on November 27, 2010 at 12:25  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Miranda, it’s Julen, your mate in Language and communication. In terms of Churros I recomend you “Churrería La Mañueta”. But there’s a little problem, if you want to tate those Churros you must come in San Fermines, lol!! So, if you come in San Fermines and I am not working, you may have some Churros for Brakefast!!

  2. That sounds great! 😀 I’d love to come back for San Fermines…

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