Previously I wrote about our free overnight stay at The Bayleaf Intramuros, where we had the most sinfully delicious bagnet from its restaurant, 9 Spoons. Due to lack of time, I was not able to dine at the other hotel dining outlet called Cioccolata Churros Cafe, a charming little spot that specializes in pastries (churros being its signature product, obviously), sandwiches plus coffee and tea concoctions. I vowed to myself that I will go back there to sample the churros, so one early morning I took the LRT from Vito Cruz to the Central Station near the Manila City Hall and walked all the way to the walled city.
Without wasting any minute upon arrival at the cafe, I ordered the original churros with cacao dip (P95) and paid extra for the additional caramel dip (P30). It took a while before it was served but that was fine with me as I had way too much time in my hands. Churros are a traditional breakfast food particularly in Spain, Portugal, Mexico and Argentina. They are fried dough pastries (similar to doughnuts) usually accompanied by thick hot chocolate as a dip. The origin of the churros is still debatable, but one story traces their roots in Spain. It is said that the first churros were made by shepherds and that the pastry was named after a breed of Spanish sheep called, well, churro.
Here in Manila, I’ve always been a fan of Dulcinea’s Churros con Chocolate. Cioccolata‘s version comes very close to Dulcinea‘s in terms of appearance, texture and taste. It has a slightly crunchy exterior and a soft interior. The stark difference, as far as I could tell, lies in the native cacao dip. The one in Cioccolata is darker and thicker, making it much bitter and, oddly, with a bit of a tangy aftertaste. But it was good.
However, because I’m partial to all things sweet, I actually liked the caramel dip better. Some might say it’s overly sweet, but I preferred it over the bittersweet chocolate. I’ve never had churros dipped in caramel sauce before and my tastebuds were pleasantly surprised by this new pairing.
I found it so lovely to be sitting in a churros cafe in the city’s oldest district built by the Spanish colonial government, enjoying this popular Spanish treat. I imagined myself sitting quietly in a quaint churreria in Spain, munching on warm, freshly-cooked churros while watching people rushing about on their way to work or school. What a truly nice way to kick off the morning.