Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chocolate Con Churros

Chocolatería San Ginés
Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5

Madrid, Spain

After an overnight flight, there's certainly nothing better than waking up to something hot, fresh, and sweet. And that's exactly how our Spain vacation started.

Two hours into our vacation, we found ourselves walking down a pedestrian street, Calle Del Arenal, at 10AM on a sunny, warm, Saturday morning. The street is beginning to fill with tourists and locals alike. Our excitement to hit the ground running to site-see and absorb all that is Madrid was momentarily hindered by the sudden hunger that hit all of us after attempting to check-in to our hotel, Hostal Oriente (a great place for a budget traveler).

Learning that we are in between Plaza Opera and Plaza del Sol we decided to venture West on Arenal to see what there is to eat. We passed some meat shops, Starbucks, local coffee shop, mini mart, souvenir shops, restaurants, church....and then a quick glance to the right unveils a very narrow street with plenty of people seemingly disappearing down what seems to be a dead end.

The street actually turns to the right, but just as the street bends the side entrance of Chocolateria San Gines comes into view. And that's where many people are disappearing into.

As we approached the small cafe, a line began to grow of locals and tourists. When you first walk in (from the side entrance), you are able to place your order and the register. Think quick because the line moves fast. A small menu is available just to your left.

At the register we quickly dug deep in our mental notes for how to conjugate verbs, say "please," and "thank you" and finally place our order. Nothing to it. Just order "chocolates con churros."

As we seated ourselves and waited for our order to come out, we saw many people dig into their churros, and to our surprise, dipping them into their chocolate! This isn't your local Costco churros (I know you love that cinnamon and sugar). This is Spain. Where it all originated. If they dip them in chocolate, then so will we!

First the churros. GB &D... golden brown and delicious! Freshly made churros are deep fried. Just like doughnuts. Whatever that batter is, it's not too sweet and comes out light with a nice crisp to it. Careful, it's hot. Each churro is about 8 to 10 inches in length. And each order comes with a small cup of hot chocolate.

No, not the hot chocolate you drink on a cold winter night. It's thicker, not too sweet, but not too bitter. The chocolate flavor is intense as if liquified from cocoa beans themselves. And again, you don't drink this hot chocolate. It is specifically for dipping your churros into. What a great combination! It's certainly just the right amount of sweetness. It fills you up and gets you going for the day ahead.

If you need more of a punch for your morning, you can order café con leche, which is coffee with milk. The coffee must be really strong because if you watch them make it for you, you will see that only a small amount of coffee actually fills your cup. The rest of the cup is filled with hot milk. (Add sugar as necessary.) It will definitely give you the wake up you need, if you're not a morning person.

Needless to say, this was a great starting meal to our trip. It was the type of start we needed to further excite us for what was to come. And of course, this meal, like all other meals on our trip, was good til the last drop.