Churros con Chocolate
Churros are several inches long with a ridged surface; they are made from dough squeezed through a ‘churrera’, which is best described as a syringe, often with a star-shaped nozzle. They are deep fried to a crunchy consistency on the outside yet remaining soft in the middle.
Throughout most of Spain they are either straight, curled or spirally twisted; however, in Andalucía in Southern Spain, the churro is sold in spirals or wheels, which are then cut into manageable portions after frying. In Madrid churros have a different appearance again, whereby they are somewhat smaller and shaped like a charity ribbon.
The history of churros lies in the in the grasslands of Spain, where shepherds watched over a specific breed of sheep, known as the ‘Churro Sheep of Spain’, that produced high quality wool. Because of their nomadic lifestyle these shepherds were constantly moving with their sheep, and as such they only carried with them that which was essential to their survival. Fried bread was a popular choice, which later became fried bread sprinkled with sugar. Over the years the shepherds’ fried bread became star shaped, thus allowing it to be fully cooked yet still soft on the inside, whilst at the same time having a crisp outer consistency. To this day, some areas of Spain regularly serve their churros sprinkled with sugar.
Whilst coffee is an integral part of the Spanish way of life, the best accompaniment for churros has to be Spanish hot chocolate, a thick textured liquid made from real chocolate and often described as liquid gold. In Spain hot chocolate is taken very seriously, particularly as the Spanish were responsible for introducing it to Europe from the Americas where it was used as a form of local currency. Into this delicious drink the churros are dipped, negating the need for any further sweetening of the dough.If you haven’t yet tried out this Spanish delicacy, get yourself along to a local churrería and experience a sublime start to the day that is hard to improve on.