Every afternoon between the hours of three and seven o’clock, the residents of Madrid take a break from the grind, descend upon cafes and pastry shops, and indulge in a sweet, midday pick-me-up. Of all the fabulous Spanish customs that The Astronomer and I adopted during our stay (e.g. midnight dinners, wine-filled meals, and post-lunch naps), the merienda is the one I miss the most.
On our first afternoon in the capital city, The Astronomer and I sought out hot chocolate and churros at Madrid’s most well-known chocolatería—San Ginés. Established in 1894, San Ginés is located in a small passageway, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the Puerta del Sol. In spite of its less than prominent location, a mixed crowd of locals and tourists find their way here every hour of the day. In fact, the shop is open daily from 9 AM to 6 AM. I think it’s the intoxicating blend of hot oil, fried dough, and melted chocolate that lures everyone in.
The Astronomer and I each ordered a mug of the chocolaty stuff, along with a plate of churros to share. We grabbed a table outside and within fifteen minutes, our loot arrived. The bittersweet brew was just as I had hoped—dark, warm, thick, and dreamy to sip and dip.
The crisp and hot churros provided the perfect vehicle for delivering more richness down our gullets. We both polished off our mugs with ease. The merienda did its job beautifully—The Astronomer and I coasted to dinner time full of energy and without a single hunger pang.
Chocolatería San Ginés
Pasadizo de San Ginés, 11
28013 Madrid, España
Phone: 913 656 546