America’s got doughnuts, Spain’s got churros, and unless you could leave this earth without ever tasting a doughnut, I promise you that you don’t want to miss these. If you’re unfamiliar with the churro, it is a doughnut-like pastry very popular in Spain. The churro can be six to twelve inches long, and generally about an inch around with grooves and sometimes sprinkled with powdered sugar. Across Spain, churros are served with a thick hot chocolate.
You will see chocolate y churros offered throughout the country, but for a real bonafide, authentic experience i recommend going to Madrid’s Chocolateria San Gines. It’s located in central Madrid (technically Old Madrid, i believe), in an alley close to San Ginés church, What makes this one so special? For one, this semi hidden chocloateria has been open since the 1890s, making it one of the oldest. It is also open 24/7, but most frequented around 6:00 a.m. when club goers are coming home from the bars, and looking for something to help get them the rest of the way home.
If you can, grab a seat outside for some people watching while you enjoy your treat. The inside also has a great vibe: lots of white and black tile, old wooden tables and people in various states of sugar shock. The service is brisk, at times brusque and efficient.
It’s not an all-day excursion, rather a leisurely and tasty break from a day of sight seeing. As for what it tastes like, be forewarned that these are not as light and airy as they look.
The chocolate is not as sweet as American chocolate but also not as bitter as European chocolate can be. It’s always in liquid form and combined with the deep-fried churros, which have a slight crunch (perfect to hold up to the chocolate dipping) it’s an insane treat.
You can avoid the guilt from this snack by walking your butt off, or dancing at the clubs, or just not worry about it because you’re in Spain (we went for one and three). Alternatively, you can share one order. The portions aren’t huge but it is a ton of sugar for one person.
This is the churros to try first, and the one to measure all other churros by.