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Let’s talk about Spain’s sweet spot: churros con chocolate.Churros con chocolate — a lightly crunchy and sprinkled with sugar, deep-fried churros are delectable eaten alone but are somehow incomplete. Like Fred without Ginger. Abbott without Costello. Batamn without Robin. If churros are king, then chocolate a la taza is their mandatory consort. Taza means “cup,” but with a thick, creamy, almost pudding-like consistency, this chocolate isn’t so much drunk as eaten—with a small teaspoon or by dipping churros. Think of it like a melting pot fondu.
In the mid-16th century, Spaniards brought back cacao beans back home from what is now Mexico. The Conquistadors found locals drinking chocolate seasoned with chili pepper and ground corn heated with cane sugar and whisked until the water becaome frothy. Chocolate became an instant hit as a beverage. By the early 1600s, it was a favorite of the Spanish court and proved an excellent refreshment during bullfights on the cobbled Plaza Mayor in Madrid. The drink gradually found its way into neighborhood coffeehouses and everyday festivities. The Spanish enjoyed it with an almost religious devotion. To this day, it is a cultural staple.Here are 8 places to dip into Barcelona’s chocolate and churro culture:
Granja M. Viader
Opened in 1870 and managed by the same family for five generations since 1904, Viader prepares its chocolate simply: dark and only slightly sweet, with just a hint of cinnamon. From the smooth marble tables and bright floor tiles of Viader, it’s just a few minutes’ walk to La Boqueria market. Granja M. Viader, Carrer d’en Xuclà 4–6, Barcelona
The cafe situated in the street with the same name is a must see. You probably won’t resist coming in when passing by. Everything is good inside, you can go there for breakfast or dessert. Try out their famous Petrotxils which are some sort of sablé dough dipped in chocoloate (big appetites needed). You can also enjoy a fresh orange juice or a real hot chocolate. Petritxol Cafe, Calle Petritxol, 11, 08002 Barcelona
The churros are made at a nearby churrería and delivered hot, and the chocolate is divine, but at Granja La Pallaresa, the house speciality is freshly whipped nata (thick cream). Order un suizo here. Granja La Pallaresa, Carrer de Petritxol 11, Barcelona, 34/93-302-2036
Cacao Sampaka—Barcelona and Other Cities
Makers of inventive, gourmet chocolates that won’t bust the budget, Cacao Sampaka also runs sit-down cafés in Barcelona, Madrid, Bilbao, and Valencia. At the original Barcelona location in the posh L’Eixample district, just blocks from Gaudí’s surreal Casa Milà, chic moms and shoppers toting bags from Mango pop in for merienda, the Spanish late afternoon snack. The hot chocolate is bolder, earthier, and far less sweet than at many other chocolaterías. A traditional style cup with cinnamon packs a respectable 70 percent cocoa; the more deeply spiced Azteca clocks in at a whopping 80 percent.
Perhaps the best Chocolate and melindros (a catalan soft pastry) in all of Barcelona are found at Dulcinea. Established in 1930, Dulcinea gains its namesale from Don Quixote’s love, but gains its reputation for their lovely thick chocolate. Dulcinea, Carrer de Petritxol 2, 08002 Barcelona
Adorned with the same rustic décor since 1937, this old-time chocolate shop is one of the most famous in the city. Their Hot Chocolate is a definite must on every chocolate-touring itinerary. Fargas, Carrer del Pi, 16, 08002 Barcelona
Chef Ferran Adrià favorite chocolate croissants may be found at this old-time pastry shop. Family owned since 1906, this charming shop truly deserves its place in Barcelona’s history. Pasteleria Escriba Gran, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 546, Barcelona
Museo de La Xocolata
Run by the Barcelona Confectionary Guild, Barcelona’s Museum of Chocolate is the place to stimulate your mind, as well as your taste buds. Learn the history of chocolate, admire the impressively detailed chocolate sculptures, and finally hit the café for some traditional hot chocolate. Museo de La Xocolata, Carrer del Comerç, 36, 08003 Barcelona
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