Few things are more Spanish than churros with chocolate (or chocolate con churros). Churros with chocolate is a typical dish of Spanish gastronomy, but it has been extended through countries like Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela. It is enjoyed as breakfast and sometimes it is served as a snack or at the merienda time. During the cold winter months, this is the perfect comforting food to warm yourself up. This breakfast is a balanced contrast of flavours, the bitter sweetness of the chocolate mixed with the salty and oily aromas of the crunchy churro combine perfectly.
The truth is that the history of churros does not begin in Spain, but in China. That is where youtiao comes from, which are strips of golden and salted fried dough traditionally eaten for breakfast.
In China, youtiao translates as ‘demon fried in oil’. It was originally served in pairs, symbolizing Qin Hui, an official of the Song dynasty, and his wife, the ‘demons’ responsible for the death of a respected general.
At some point, probably after a visit to China by Portuguese or Spanish merchants, this delicious treat arrived in the Iberian Peninsula. At first it was a typical dish of people with few resources. Actually, the name ‘churro’ comes from the churra sheep, because its shape is similar to its holds.
It was the Spanish shepherds who popularized this food. They worked for long periods of time by themselves in the mountains and as they did not have access to fresh bread, they used the idea of youtiao to create a similar food using only flour, water, oil and a bonfire. After some time, in the villages of Spain the churro went from being a simple food to an authentic delicacy. This is, anyway, just one theory of the ones that circulate about the true origin of churros.
Later, after the discovery of America, the conquerers started to bring large amounts of cocoa and sugar. Thus, salt was was replaced by sugar and chocolate were used, thus turning a typical salty dish into a sweet one. And this way churros, as we know them today, were born.
In Madrid, churros have been enjoyed for years. A breakfast so simple but delicious at the same time. Here, churros have the shape of a stick, thing but joined by the edges. There are some regions in Spain that sell a kind of churros, with more dough and bigger. They don’t taste exactly like thin churros, but they are also enjoyed with a cup of hot chocolate. ‘Porras’ is the name people give to these, and they have a bit of competition between them.
After New Year’s Eve, it is tradition to enjoy a hot cup of chocolate with churros before going to sleep. It could be called breakfast, but it is actually an end point for a long night party, whether it is New Year’s Eve or any other. On the one hand, this kind of breakfast can help you to lower your blood alcohol level, and at the same time, you will enjoy a delicious, warm chocolate with crunchy churros before going to sleep. And, on the other hand, you won’t be hungry when you wake up, starting a new year full of hope and new resolutions.
Either way, we rather enjoy this food instead of the classical kebab or pizza when finishing a long party night. And what better way to finishing it than warming up before calling it a night?
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