Chocolate and churros. Churros and chocolate. I have to say I was a bit ambivalent about the combination, All that changed when I lanted in Madrid, and was told to visit a tiny shop (San Gines) that focused only on chocolate and churros. That ambivalence went out the window, as San Gines is an institution, and renowned for this tasty treat for good reason. For the uninitiated there is a procedure that must be followed, and why this experience is best with at least two people:
- Carefully select from the menu posted above the cash register.
- Dutifully stand in line to pay for your purchase – first. You must show your receipt to the server to get your chocolate selection
- Dream of finding a place to sit, or an open space to stand. Aside from the dozen or so tables, they have ledges designed for people to stand and experience their chocolate. This is not an easy task, but the perseverance pays off.
- Hopefully catch the eye of the waiter to pass your receipt.
- Gleefully brace yourself for what’s to come.
- Feel the glee swell inside you until you want to burst as the plate of freshly fried churros and cup of chocolate is placed in front of you.
- Savor the bliss
Note: The reason this experience is best shared is that ideally, steps 1 through 3 are going on simultaneously. If my husband was not with me to pay while I searched for a spot to stand, it would have been a drawn out effort, and potentially impossible. We had stopped by at 10 pm on a Wednesday night and the line was out the door – there seemed to be no rhyme or reason, it was as much about luck as anything else. Like a child, the anticipation of that first dip was killing me, and to draw out the experience would have been cruel. Once you’ve passed off the receipt, you are on the home stretch, this place has the service down to a science.
As mentioned previously, San Ginés was recommended as a must try place, renowned for this tasty combo. This place is an institution in Madrid, and if you search for “chocolate”, “churros” + “madrid” this place pops up. If you intend to make this a treat on your trip and not a regular occurrence, I’d suggest saving it for this place.
Tucked away across from a church on a side alley near the Puerta del Sol, the chocolateria has a rather unassuming exterior, but just try to step inside at the wrong time and the place is packed. They have two entrances, one if you want just chocolate, and the second if you want both, or some similar combination. The chocolateria takes its name for the church across the alley; one of the oldest in the city. As evidence of how serious the Spanish take their chocolate fix, this place is open 24×7, and its been around since 1894 with no signs of slowing down.
This chocolate I sampled in Spain was unlike what I am accustomed to finding in the States, I think the description of a runny chocolate pudding would have been more appropriate. It was rich deep chocolate flavor that was the focus, the sweetness came next. I’d be hard pressed to gulp this drink down, it is definitely something to be savored.
I frequently talk about bringing back food habits from places I visit. A treat of chocolate and churros will easily find itself added to the rotation, but only in moderation. Despite what the fellow said when recommending an Ginés, about this snack being zero calories, I don’t believe. Plus, how much would I really appreciate it if I had it all the time. No I am saving this for special occasions. Plus the memory of the churros, still hot and dripping with chocolate that had seeped into the accommodating air pockets, but best of all the churros still retained a slight crunch, not mushy from the chocolate - ummm heaven!