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Madrid for chocolate lovers

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

If you are like me, one of the best parts of traveling is to sample the local cuisine. I could not travel anywhere without knowing what the most famous dishes of a particular region tasted like.

One dish that I have grown to love in Madrid is hot chocolate con churros. The Spanish do not joke around when it comes to chocolate. Spanish hot chocolate is made with dark chocolate and is thick, rich and delicious. Chocolate and churros is a pair that you must eat together. One without the other leaves you feeling less than satisfied. Sure, you can buy this dish at many of the bars or cafes, but really, if you want the best, you have to go to a chocolatería. And when I talk about the best, I am really talking about the chocolate, because who can mess up deep fried flour?

Spaniards eat this dish for breakfast, but it can be enjoyed throughout the entire day, which makes it a rather versatile snack.

I have personally visited 3 chocolate cafes in Madrid, all of which are located in the city center. There are others that are a little bit further out but even I, sadly, have not ventured to visit them.

  • San Ginés – Pasadizo de San Ginés, 5 (Metro Sol)

A quick Google search of chocolaterías in Madrid or a flip through any guidebook will always come up with the same name. San Ginés has been around since 1894 and is the most centrally located chocolatería. They are open until 7 a.m. so when the late nighters exit the bars and dance clubs, they all head to San Ginés to put something greasy and sweet into their empty stomachs.

It is an admittedly attractive space, with velvety green seats, marble tables and lots of mirrors. There is no menu because it is obvious what people are going to eat. One can order a coffee or a slice of some baked goodie sitting on the counter, but this is not why people come here. Because it is so popular, expect to wait a bit for a table at any hour.

The churros are fresh and the chocolate makes for a nice accompaniment, though when I attempted to drink it straight, there was a tinge of some flavor I could not recognize, leaving a strange aftertaste in my mouth. The chocolate here is just a thick sauce served in a coffee cup used for dunking your churros. If you want, you can add some powdered sugar, but really, you no not need it. One serving will cost you 3.20E.

  • Valor – Póstigo de San Martin, 7 (Metro Callao)

Valor has been in the chocolate making business since 1881. Their label is very famous and one can buy bars of their chocolate in virtually any supermarket, though you can also sit down and enjoy a variety of chocolates at their chocolaterías. Due to its superstar status, customers will have to pay a little bit more here than at other chocolaterías.

There are two Valor chocolaterías in Madrid, one of which is located in the center and is only a few minutes away from Puerta del Sol. This location is well lit and cozy with outdoor seating available which is quite lovely during the summertime.

The hot chocolate served here is the sweetest of all the three places I have gone to. I am not a big fan of really sweet chocolate but if you are, be prepared to order a glass of water to wash away the sugar from your teeth. The churros do not have the trademark gear shape, but look more like they were churned through a sausage machine. Perhaps they also have a unique recipe because they tasted a bit heavier and greasier than what I am accustomed to.

I have not tried all their assortments of chocolates, so if you fancy something a little more exotic than chocolate with churros, you are sure to find something in their extensive menu. One serving will cost you 3.95E.

  • Chocolat – Santa María, 30 (Metro Antón Martín)

This little place is tucked away on a street with little foot traffic. I only found it by catching sight of the large digital sign hanging outside on the corner of the building where one can spot it from down another street.

It is small and dainty with about 6 tables and additional seating at the bar. The waiters are all young men, one of which is the owner, very friendly, and always ready to serve you. They do not have a menu available, but are happy to tell you what kinds of treats they have on offer for the day. After you order, they return to your table with a tray of complimentary appetizers (chocolate candies wrapped in colorful paper and some other bite sized goodies).

This is by far my favorite place for chocolate con churros. I have searched the web for any mention of this place, but found that San Ginés’s fame leaves little space for this gem to be noticed. The hot chocolate is served in a goblet with a design on the rim mimicking dripping chocolate (nice touch). It is a great dunking chocolate and the churros are always fresh and crispy. But what makes this my absolute favorite is the quality of the chocolate. It is thick, as it should be, not that sweet and completely drinkable. The mixture is perfect: dark, rich, and lightly sweetened to perfection. The price is easy to swallow too. 2.60E

Photo of churros and hot chocolate originally posted by Sami Keinänen

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer tomoko kawanaka

Tomoko is a Japanese American woman who has been living outside of the USA for 3 years now, quitting her job in Chicago to study in Edinburgh, Scotland and Madrid, Spain. As a small, independent female and ethnic person who enjoys traveling alone, her perspective of the world is a bit different. And other peoples' perspective of her is a little bit different as well.

14 responses to “Madrid for chocolate lovers”

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  1. bacco says:
    March 15th, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    Funny, being 95% Madrileño, from all the locations mentioned I only know San Gines and Valor trademark (something to be recomended to everyone). I will visit them in my next return to Madrid. Although personally I prefer the cafe con porras in any cafeteria.
    Gosh, how much I miss my youngest/golden years celebrating/finishing the day out after Joy or other nearby club with a hot chocolate at San Gines with the old/new friends of those days.
    Please keep writing about Madrid.

  2. Amy Wagner | Camping says:
    August 12th, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    I have to honestly say that this does not tempt me at all as i am not a huge lover of chocolate, but I am sure that a lot of my girlfriends would just love this will have to pass it on for them to see.

  3. Vergara says:
    January 9th, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    “And when I talk about the best, I am really talking about the chocolate, because who can mess up deep fried flour?”

    I’m a Spaniard, so I know very well what I’m talking about, and I must say that the chocolate may make “chocolate con churros” better or worse (depending mainly of its being watery or not, or being too sweet), but what can really spoil it is the churros. Greasy, or half-cooked, or cold… There are many ways to mess them up. Every time I cross a chololateria or cafeteria off my list, it’s because of the churros.

    Of the three chocolaterias you’ve pointed out, I must say I don’t like Valor. Neither their chocolate nor their churros are the typical ones. I do like dark strong chocolate, but not liquid to have it with churros. And Valor’s is too strong. Their churros, which they call “churros tejeringos” are, as you say, nothing like normal churros everywhere else (as a matter of fact, they’re almost like small thin porras, but worse).

    San Ginés is good, although the last times I’ve been there I’ve found their chocolate more on the watery side than usually. As for the other one, I don’t know it, but I’ll visit it as soon as I happen to pass nearby.

    By the way, the glass of water is something you should have every time you have chocolate and churros. As a matter of fact, in most chocolaterias they will give you one with it, without your asking for it.

  4. Melissa says:
    May 30th, 2010 at 5:26 am

    I have to agree with you that Chocolat is amazing. I was staying at a nearby hostel and stumbled in there one morning to find some decent coffee. I went back one evening and the churros were amazing! The staff was so friendly! I loved the chocolates they give you when you come in. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for the place a little off the beaten path.

  5. Madrid Guide says:
    July 22nd, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Hi there!
    Wonderful blog!
    I loved the suggestion of Chocolat, as I have been searching for a smaller, less touristy place for my chocolate con churros.
    Do you have any suggestions for actual chocolate shops? Any favourites?
    Thanks!
    All the best,
    Chloé

  6. Wholesale candy bar says:
    January 3rd, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Thanks for this very informative post. This is a nice blog and will be looking forward to read more from you. These are such a good idea! This blog gives great information. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Andres says:
    May 17th, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Even “Chocolat” is not famous and small place I can guarantee its best “chocolate con churros” in Madrid. Much better than so famous San Ginés.
    Valor is also great with many kind of things in menu, but also bit expensive.

  8. Donna says:
    August 6th, 2011 at 4:22 am

    Thanks for for the information I am heading to Madrid in a week. Looking forward to trying Chocolat, I had San Gines on my list.

  9. Lopez says:
    September 30th, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Chocolate con churros es muy muy bueno. Es mi favorito espanol plato!

  10. Nitza Rosario says:
    October 10th, 2011 at 2:19 am

    Believe me, you CAN mess up deep fried flour. I had some last night. I made the mistake of just going in to a tapas place that had c and c on the menu. BIG mistake. You DO have to go to a chocolateria. I loved San Gines-not overly sweet, the churros were hot and crispy (as opposed to hot and doughy at this other place) and yes, I did sip it. Even quadruple dipping y churros there was a lot of chocolate left, so what’s a girl to do but sip it?

    I have 1 1/2 days to check out Valor and Chocolat, so thank you for the information. I’m staying really close to Callao, so this is great.

  11. Howard Feldsott says:
    May 18th, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Based on your suggestion, my wife and I went to Chocolat. It’s close to the Prado and thankfully not touristy. The churros and chocolate were fantastic! They give you very large portions (two can share one order) as well. The place also serves regular food, which we’ll try next time we go. Thanks for the suggestion!

Comments on Twitter

  1. janellemarie28 (JanelleStevenson) says:
    August 13th, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Spain. Ireland. Scotland. 2 Weeks. Ready to start: http://bit.ly/7l3yj

  2. ChrisDearden (Chris Dearden) says:
    May 5th, 2011 at 9:51 am

    @PaulMiller no waffles but this looks pretty close ! http://www.venere.com/blog/madrid-chocolate-churros/


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