A Bit of Heaven in Chocolate and Churros

chocolate and churros

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:

  1. Carefully select from the menu posted above the cash register.
  2. Dutifully stand in line to pay for your purchase – first.  You must show your receipt to the server to get your chocolate selection
  3. 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.
  4. Hopefully catch the eye of the waiter to pass your receipt.
  5. Gleefully brace yourself for what’s to come.
  6. 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.
  7. Savor the bliss

churros fresh from the frier

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.

San Grines

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.

come to mama

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.

Barcelona's chocolate house

my husband, the hand model

local chocolate spot in Barcelona

local chocolate spot in Barcelona

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!

sunset over Madrid - time for some c+c

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18 comments for “A Bit of Heaven in Chocolate and Churros

  1. March 4, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    Heavenly indeed! That is something I have to try making.



  2. March 4, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    I so loved this post! You really made me feel like I was there. I so miss the non logical chaos of Spanish restaurants/coffee/tapas bars. The longer you have to queue up for a place/search for somewhere to sit, the better the quality of the food. Have been so looking forward to your ‘return from Spain’ posts and they’ve been amazing! So much so, I have decided to start a Spanish food theme in my blog for the next six months. Really looking forward to more of posts. In the meantime I’ll just keep on drooling over that picture of heavenly dipping hot chocolate.
    ruth recently posted..Italian Foodie experience # 4-Pasta al Forno (Baked Creamy Pasta with Ragu) and of Nonna

  3. March 4, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    Churros are so YUMMY!

    Great post 😉

  4. March 5, 2012 at 4:22 AM

    Whenever we are visiting Spain & especially Barcelona, we are eating once or twie fresh churro’s & chocolate. But most of the time, I find this hot chocolate too heavy for my stomach. It is indeed a heavy combined treat but ooh so tasty & different!

    Thanks for thinking of great food adventures in Spain!
    Sophie recently posted..Vegan spiced oven roasted vegetables, served with GF brown rice pasta

  5. March 5, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    The hot chocolate in Spain is indeed like drinking pudding. I remember it well, even though it was over a decade ago that I last visited and enjoyed a cup. But when something is THAT good, you just don’t ever forget it. 😉
    Carolyn Jung recently posted..Restaurant O Has Finally Moved to Santa Clara — Well, Part of It

  6. March 5, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    Sounds like a wonderful place! Thanks for taking us along for some chocolate and churros!

  7. March 6, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    I don’t understand your hesitation about this: it looks and sounds wonderful. The no-calorie idea is obviously ridiculous, but if only it were true, this would be the perfect ever treat for every-day!

  8. March 8, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Adore churros! I love them sprinkled with vanilla sugar, but chocolate sounds even better and richer!
    Angie@Angie’s Recipes recently posted..Chinese Red Dates and Seeds Power Bars

  9. OysterCulture
    March 10, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    Rosa – The recipe in the link is from San Gines, so if you have to start some place, that’s as good as any.

    Ruth – Woohoo, a Spanish theme from you, this will indeed be a special treat, and I cannot wait to read

    Liam – You said it best!

    Sophie – I could not finish an entire one myself, it was made for sharing with my husband – its too heavy for me too. That being said, while in the moment, I did not feel too much like sharing.

    Carolyn – I am with you, its really a defining food.

    Andrea – Thanks!

    Stevie – Its not really a hesitation but only a comment that if you have something everyday it looses a bit of its specialness. Don’t get me wrong, I could easily have it daily, but part of the pleasure for me is the anticipation.

    Angie – oh, now you’ve struck a low blow and I can only think about churros in all its variations.

  10. March 10, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    This is something I’ve always wanted to try, the real deal! I have noted the two person requirement! I will be very careful not to partake in churros alone. Sounds like a crazy place, but with a tasty ending.
    Lori recently posted..Kentucky Maple Syrup

  11. March 12, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    That chocolate is so think – and shiny and velvety and it’s calling to me. It’s amazing – the food culture in Spain – I gather late-night snacking is not uncommon at midnight!
    Claudia recently posted..The Utah, Birthday, Hockey, Sundance, Moon Cake

  12. March 18, 2012 at 4:17 AM

    I love churros….they are popular in Colombia!
    Erica recently posted..Colombian-Style Pork Chops (Chuletas de Cerdo)

  13. March 30, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    these spanish they knwo how to live and even if churros are greasy the moto is : No pain no Spain !!
    Pierre de Paris
    pierre recently posted..Des fraises sur un crémeux ivoire-mangue-coco, caramel hibiscus

  14. April 2, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    The pic with the fresh made churros is insane, yum! your words capture the moment perfectly!!
    vianney recently posted..Sopes

  15. OysterCulture
    April 7, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    Lori, the link to the recipe is attached, perhaps you and hubby could try the home version and then of course go to Madrid for the real deal.

    Claudia – midnight snacking is not uncommon. It really struck me to see kids with their parents out at 10:30 getting ice cream.

    Erica – I bet, churros are favorite everywhere.

    Pierre – no pain no Spain indeed.

    Vianney – thanks!

  16. May 20, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Looks like you had better luck than we did with this combination. We stopped at a vendor in Ronda and bought churros stuffed with chocolate but it was so salty! I couldn’t even finish it.
    Sarah recently posted..Apricot malabi and my disabled Adsense account

  17. OysterCulture
    May 21, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Sarah, it was just darn good. Maybe we were lucky, but if you ever get a chance, this is a place to try.

  18. October 8, 2012 at 3:56 AM

    I’m not a big fried food fan, but I shall just have to “force” myself to try this next time I’m in Spain! They make churros here in France too, but I’m going to go for the Spanish version first and then compare.

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