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Chocolate con churros

Swampy Spanish hot chocolate They say that the best time to eat carbohydrate is shortly after exercise because it gets burnt up faster rather than being laid down as fat. Which is a good thing because right next to the pool where I take my daughter Clementine swimming is the Churreria Española, and if you're looking for a post-pool hit of carbs, this is the place to get it.

I first tasted chocolate con churros in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia and marvelled at the way the spoon stood up in the cup of dense, dark, hot chocolate. But it did! It really did. And when you dipped the churro, the long, twisty, freshly cooked doughnutty thing, into the chocolate, it left an indentation that slowly covered over like swamp mud. Donuts and hot chocolate... man, what a breakfast.

Sensibly, the hot chocolate is served up at London's Churreria Española in espresso-sized cups. I guess they want to avoid lawsuits with families of clients who keel over and die after a caffeine OD. However, it has the same swamp-mud quality and it more coats than soaks the churros when you dunk them, which you must. I asked the cafe owner to reveal the secret but he swears that all he does is add milk to the Val Cao -- the brand of choc powder he uses. I didn't get to examine the packet ingredients but I reckon it contains slow-setting cement. In any case, it's deliclious and Clem happily sucks down two of the cinnamon-sugar-sprinkled churros while doing a Jackson Pollock all over her face and clothes with the cup contents.

Maybe one day we'll get beyond the snack course and try out some of the Churreria's tasty looking savouries too.

Comments (3)


Nicki, I've been looking for hot chocolate like you described since a visit to Santiago in 2000. I've looked for "Val Cao" online but haven't had any luck. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Hi Burt,

I don't know if you're London based, but if you are, you're in luck. You can find Valor Cao (the retail equivalent) in any Spanish supermarket, such as Garcia's (246-250 Portobello Road, W11, tel 020 7221 6119). Unfortuately Garcia's doesn't deliver but if you can make your way down there, it costs £1.45 for 250g.

Happy drinking,



Nicki! Many thanks for the info! I'm actually Washington, DC based, but able to find a U.S. importer ( a bit pricier than in London ). No worries, 2 packages are on their way home as I write. Thanks again! ~Burt


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