Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hot Chocolate & Churros at Valor - Madrid, Spain

I originally planned on visiting only Barcelona with Pete, but there were some changes in our travel plans and I ended up going to Madrid on my own for a few days before Pete arrived. I think I booked my flight literally a few days before my departure date and hadn't read up on the city at all. So I asked my cousin Deb for a quick list of must do's or must eat's in Madrid and she said simply and succinctly the Prado Museum and churros con chocolate. So those were the only two things on my itinerary as I stepped off the plane that following Monday. The Prado Museum was easy to find, but churros con chocolate were a bit more tricky. I thought I'd see tons of chocolaterias while walking around, but I didn't run across any, so I had to resort to Rick Steves' suggestions. He suggested Chocolaterias Valor, a modern chain that is famous for their chocolate bars, which are sold in all the major supermarkets in Spain.
Apparently the locals love to eat this for breakfast. The churros are deep-fried dough that you dip into the hot chocolate, which is not like the hot chocolate drink we are accustomed to. It's not like pudding either, rather, it's more like thinned out melted dark chocolate. I was kind of scared when I first saw my cup of hot chocolate at first because I thought it would be super sweet, but it wasn't. I think it's because they use dark chocolate. The cup of hot chocolate comes with a plate of fried churros. I think I would have loved this a lot more had the churros been crispy. But these, which came straight out of a fryer, because I could taste the oil, just felt greasy and soggy to me. What a let down. Although the thought of biting into a crispy churro, dipped in dark chocolate sounded heavenly to me, it just didn't translate that well in real life. I think if I had a Mexican churro, the ones with the grooves, minus all the sugar, that would have been perfect. I know, I know, some Spanish person is going to read this and think I'm being sacrilegious. I just didn't like the texture of this churro all that much.
After eating the churros, I was left with a still full cup of hot chocolate. I looked at my neighbors besides me and they had finished the rest of their hot chocolate. I tried taking a sip, but it was too thick and a bit too sweet to drink first thing in the morning.
It was definitely an experience, sitting at the bar and having my morning cup of hot chocolate and churros with the locals. I'm really glad I tried it, but I just didn't love it as much as I thought I would. I probably should have tried some other establishments, but I ran out of time. The other establishment mentioned in Rick Steves' is Chocolateria San Gines on Pasadizo de San Gines, 5. If anyone gets to go there, let me know what you think.

Chocolaterias Valor

PĆ³stigo de San Martin, 7

(a half block below Plaza Callao and Gran Via near Puerta del Sol)

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