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by Emily DeFranco
If you’re looking for a famously local Spanish treat to satisfy your sweet tooth, you should look no further than your nearest chocolatería (chocolate parlour). When you arrive, order up some chocolate and churros (long fritters made with flour and water) and enjoy. Sure, you can get churros in any pastelaría (cake shop) along the street and chocolate in almost any supermarket, but the best of the best will be found at recognized chocolaterías. If you don’t know where to look, here are three of the most famous in central Madrid.
Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5
Chocolatería San Ginés is probably the most famous place for chocolate in Madrid, will come up first in any search and is in most guidebooks. Located in a passageway close to San Ginés Church, west of the Puerta del Sol, it has served mainly chocolate and churros since 1894. Other deserts and refreshments are also available and are on display on the main counter when you first walk in.
The interior is decorated with mirrors and green wood panels, with green velvet seats and marble tables. On the walls near the front counter, there are dozens of black and white photographs of famous people who have eaten there. You can also choose to sit outside in the sun or under one of the many awnings. Simply order at the counter, receive a receipt and a slip, find somewhere to sit, hand the slip to a waiter and wait for your order.
The chocolate is served Spanish style – hot, thick, dark and strong and the churros are served hot, freshly cooked and ready for dunking. You can order portions of any size that can be shared, or if you’re like me, consumed solo.
Calle Póstigo de San Martin, 7
Valor is more traditional café style and, in my opinion, was easier to navigate. Located a few meters off Plaza de Callao, this corner chocolatería is decorated with aqua awnings and matching outdoor seating. Since 1881, Valor has a popular brand name for chocolate and can be purchased in many grocery stores. But if you want the real thing, you’ll have to visit one of the chain’s many locations and order fresh.
Valor makes chocolate delicacies of all kinds. You can get cakes and pastries, milkshakes, ice cream, boxes of candies, etc., but the most popular is, of course, that hot cup of chocolate with fresh churros. The churros served at Valor are different from those at San Ginés in that they are rounded, more doughy and a bit greasier. There are also different variations of chocolate you can choose from ranging from dark, milk and white chocolate, to more exotic creations like coffee or banana.
Calle de San Martín, 2
Los Artesanos is more than just a chocolatería. It is also a bakery and you can tell by the wonderful aroma as soon as you walk in the door. You will also be greeted by the loud and friendly “family” that works there. You can choose to sit at a table only a few feet away from a man making fresh churros and watch the process through a glass window.
There are a few different levels of chocolate ranging again from white to dark. The chef recommends the milk and it is delicious—rich but not too sweet. The ridged churros are fresh out of the fryer and perfectly crispy. You can also order a frozen coffee beverage like a frappelatte if it’s hot out. This is like an icy coffee ice cream that you drink! It is very refreshing and goes perfect with a chocolate snack!
This is a reprint from September 2015.
Featured image: Chocolate con churros at San Gines, Madrid by Ash Chuan, CC BY-SA2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
San Gines entrance, cropped: Tamorlan, CC BY-SA4.0
Dunkin’ churros: Matthew Hine, CC BY2.0
Valor façade: https://www.flickr.com/photos/feistytortilla/, CC BY2.0
Churros Valor: Tamorlan, CC BY-SA3.0
Los Artesanos: Emily DeFranco
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