There are few combinations of food that enchant the palate as thoroughly as churros con chocolate, Spain’s famous treat. Churros accompanied by their thick and decareadent chocolate counterpart are usually eaten at breakfast time or for an afternoon snack. The combination of flavors is unbelievably delicious. And the stuff of which legends are made…
The History of Churros
The humble-yet-heavenly churros con chocolate have an interesting history. More than a few centuries ago nomadic shepherds began roaming the mountainous grasslands of Spain tending their flocks. The most prized of these sheep were called Churra. This ancient Iberian breed of sheep is still highly regarded today as a robust and hardy lot. And those who tend them are just as strong.
In order to remain up to the task these nomadic sheep herders carried their sustenance with them. While it proved impossible to bake bread or anything similar the ingenious shepherds were able to create a cake-like bread fried over an open flame. Churros were born.
The churro was originally part breadstick and part doughnut, fried and eaten plain or rolled in cinnamon and sugar for a sweet treat. The shepherds devised a way to ensure the inside of the churros were cooked and the outside was crispy but didn’t burn by creating the start-shaped churro we know today.
Churros: The Ideal Food for Travelers
Churros grew in popularity beyond that of a staple for the nomads who tended livestock and soon caught on as “road food” (or ship food) for the Spanish explorers of the 16th century. The famous explorers brought churros with them wherever they went and the locals were very appreciative. So much so that today many other countries lay claim to this special treat as their own. Rest assured, the churro was born in Spain.
How to Improve Upon Near-Perfection? Just Add Chocolate
Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortez may have been responsible for crushing the Aztec empire in Mexico in the 1500s but he also brought back the Aztec treasure: chocolate. Creative Spaniards began experimenting with chocolate in many forms and soon chocolate caliente became a favorite treat. When served alongside Spain’s popular pastry churro con chocolate was discovered.
Spain’s version of hot chocolate is thick and rich, almost pudding-like, not like American hot chocolate at all. And unlike the American version, Spanish hot chocolate isn’t served with whipped cream or marshmallows. This decadent cuppa needs no accouterments. That is, unless you have some churros available.
Enjoy the Perfect Spanish Treat in Spain
Today churros con chocolate are enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. The crispy cinnamon dusted sticks of pure delight are served with piping hot chocolate for dipping. There are no hard and fast rules here. If you prefer you can enjoy churros con chocolate at any time of day. They are available from street vendors, chocolatería and fine dining establishments.
You can find churros con chocolate in many other countries, including the US. There are also plenty of recipes available all claiming to be authentic. But the real deal is best enjoyed in Spain where there is no doubt it’s perfect.