As difficult as it was during a recent trip to Barcelona to pull my salivating jaws away from the legs of Iberico jamon, boquerones, and practically free flowing olives, I couldn't pass up sampling a bit of what the city offered in terms of chocolate. So I did a little bit of research, grabbed a partner, and set about for a full on day of cacao.
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When I told Carrie I was headed to Spain, she had this advice to give: "If you can tear yourself away from all the jamon, look for ensaïmada." But after a few clicks of research, I realized, uh, it's not entirely jamon-free. The pastry is made with flour, water, sugar, eggs, and reduced pork lard (where the oink comes in). "Saim" actually means "pork lard" in Mallorquí.
"The only place for churros in Madrid is here," e-mailed a friend of mine who's lived in Spain for a while and gave me a rundown of must-visits before my trip. She was referring to Chocolatería San Ginés, which has been around since 1894, tucked in a quiet alley behind a secondhand book stall next to the San Ginés church. The menu is straightforward, pretty much limited to churros, chocolate, coffee, and beer, or some combination of the above (why bother with anything else?).