From Montjuic we went across town to Camp Nou, the home of FC Barcelona. I don’t have the pictures to show of the visit because we did not take any. Am kicking myself for this now! The stadium was a long walk from the main road. I only knew it was tiring and hot and was not in the mood for any more sightseeing looking at the long lines of people waiting to get into a guided tour of the famed soccer (football!) grounds of one of the greatest football clubs in the world.
Moreover, the costs of the tour put us off too. It was something like €30 … per person. So we just browsed around the huge club store. The club jerseys were €100 each. They costs as much, if not more than a Canucks jersey and soccer jerseys are simpler by far. No wonder FC Barcelona is also known as one of the richest soccer clubs in the world.
We decided it was time to call it a day. That day was the day we walked the most – Montjuic was killing our feet. We decided to go look for one item we have high on our “To Eat” list … Churros and Hot Chocolate.
It just happened that there is a El Corte Ingles (pronounced as el-courting-gle) at the subway station on our way back. El Corte Ingles is a huge departmental store and the ones we had been to towers 9 stories high. We don’t have the likes of the El Corte Ingles in Vancouver. It is unbelievable what they have here … everything! When Suanne lost the screws to her glasses, guess where the hotel pointed us to … El Corte Ingles.
Usually on the top floor of El Corte Ingles, there is a cafe and a fine cuisine restaurant. We had came to enjoy coming to the cafes of El Corte Ingles. It is bright, shiny clean and most importantly of all, smoke free! Moreover, the staff wears tux and vests with impeccable service … and the chances of them able to speak English are higher. We also appreciated the fact that they have English versions of their picture menus. Prices are cheap too.
It was time for the Spanish La Merienda. Quite a lot of tables were having the churros, and churros alone. They came topped with sugar. This plate is €1.30 which is about $2 Canadian.
Churros are made deep fried and from potato dough.
Some people just have the Churros by itself. For us, there is only one way to eat this. With Hot Chocolate — the traditional Spanish way. The Hot Chocolate here is really thick unlike the way we Canadians have it watered down. It is so thick that technically, you don’t drink it.
Our first encounter with Spanish Hot Chocolate was in Dulcinea on Denman. Some of you may have remembered that for everyone who said “chowtimes loves xocolatl” got a free cup of hot chocolate at Dulcinea. Their hot chocolate was marvelous but at that time they did not have churros. Am not sure if they have churros now. They told me that they have the machines but is waiting on city hall to approve it.
The cup of Hot Chocolate here is much larger than the cup that we had in Dulcinea. So it was great.
Oh man … this is simply one of the best thing we had so far on our trip. God, we could have this everyday. The ridges of the churros are made that way to hold more of the hot chocolate.
There are proper techniques, albeit a chowtimes made-up techniques, in eating this. Here are some of the tips on eating churros.
Always … always dunk your churros by hand into the hot chocolate. When the hot chocolate runs low, you are allowed to break the churros into smaller pieces and throw it into the cup.
You then scoop up the churros with the spoon. They always provide you the spoon for this purpose and another purpose which I will explain later on.
See the above? That is the wrong way to scoop up the Churros. No, no, no … don’t do it this way. The proper way is to …
… make sure you got the churros covered completely with hot chocolate. There are lots of hot chocolate, so no worries over your hot chocolate drying up. If at all, you could order another cup. You are allowed as many cups as you can afford. It is just €2.15 ($3 Canadian).
Regardless, you must make sure that you don’t waste a single drop of the delicious hot chocolate. We were sharing a cup of hot chocolate and the cup was in the middle of the table, right? and that we had to reach out to dunk the churros? Well … inevitably, I spilled one drop of the precious hot chocolate (caught it quick enough with my arms, thank goodness!).
Don’t waste that. Go ahead and lick it off. That’s what I did although it tastes strange mixed with day old salty sweat. And the people around you will not only understand but they will nod in approval. The so-called 3-seconds Rule have an extension for hot chocolates. When it comes to dropped hot chocolates on tables, it is OK to lick it up as long as it does not stay on the table longer than 10 minutes.
Also, remember to use the spoon to scrape the sides of the cup. Admittedly the spoon will not entirely clean the cup of the hot chocolate. Take your time … it takes a bit of work scrapping whatever there are left.
You are allowed to lick the sides of the cup clean of any spilled hot chocolate. For dignity reasons, you are not encouraged to stretch out your tongue to lick the insides. You can if you want to … but it will make you look barbaric. If you don’t care how you look to the Spaniards and dignity is not one of the virtues you think is worth protecting, just go ahead.
One other tip. If you want to really clean the cup, you order another serving of churros. You use the churros to mop up the remaining hot chocolates on the sides. It does a pretty good job and with effort, it will make the cup look like it just came out of the dish washer.
That is what we did, we ordered a second helping of churros. But then there is a problem with this technique. Once the cup was cleaned, our problem was what are we going to do with the remaining churros … order another cup of hot chocolate?
Bill came to €6.80. See how much taxes they included on the tab? And also, no tips necessary too. Nice!
Fourth meal of the day … two more to go. We are getting there.