Crunchy, golden churros are a staple throughout Spain and a beloved snack in Madrid that is usually enjoyed by being dipped into thick, hot chocolate. We sat down with Juan Gabriel, one of the brothers and fifth-generation owners of Madrid’s most historic churrería and chocolatería, Los Artesanos 1902, to learn all about Spain’s sensational snack.
How long has Los Artesanos 1902 been in your family?
We are a family business [currently being managed by] the fifth generation. Everything started in Madrid in 1902. (The family business was founded in 1902 by Don Florencio, the great-great-grandfather of Juan Gabriel, who, as well as opening a churro shop, sold his fresh churros around the streets of Madrid with a portable stove he had designed himself, which used wood and coal to heat the oil. Don Florencio passed on his expert churro-making knowledge to future generations, who have preserved the craft.)
For those who have never heard of them, what are churros?
A churro is something that you have for breakfast, lunch or a late-night snack. We eat them [at] all hours of the day.
How do you make churros?
It starts with a secret family dough recipe, which we have passed down from father to son for the last 116 years. We use the finest quality flour from Spain mixed with water and a pinch of salt in accordance with our secret recipe. We use fresh oil every day when we shape and fry the churros. The most important part of making churros is to ensure the highest quality process and ingredients for our customers. Everything is made fresh daily, which ensures a great overall taste and experience.
Churros are most commonly served with hot chocolate. How is it made?
We use three different blends of natural cocoa from Colombia, Peru and Brazil, [which give] us the finest blend of chocolate in Spain. Everything is then made daily with fresh milk. We have seven different types of chocolate sauce, including those free of lactose and sugar, to satisfy every taste.
How did churros become so popular in Spain and Madrid?
The churro started in Madrid because of a war in the 19th century. During difficult times, food was scarce and churros were easy to make and required very few ingredients. Over time, especially in Madrid, it ended up becoming a tradition to have churros every day of the year with your coffee or chocolate. Nowadays, it is a staple in the breakfast of any Madrileño. Many different origins of the churro exist, [but] our story is specific to Madrid.
What do churros taste like?
They taste crunchy and [have] just a slight amount of salt. When [the churros are] mixed with our chocolate sauce, you have a unique flavour experience of sweet and salty.
What other foods do you serve?
We have porras (loop-shaped churros) which are the big brother of churros—less dense but still crunchy. We also have pestiños, which are fried dough [pieces] with a touch of honey and [are] very crunchy. Mari Carmen, the mother of the fifth generation, invented our signature ‘flowers’ covered in chocolate, honey and cinnamon. They are crunchy and in the shape of a flower.
Where is Los Artesanos 1902 located?
We are located in the heart of Madrid, next to the Royal Palace and the historical centre. Our closest historical building is the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales (Monastery of the Barefoot Nuns), built in 1559, which you can see from our front doorstep. [We are] quite easy to find as we are the largest chocolatería in Madrid.
Aside from visiting your restaurant, what else do you recommend when visiting Madrid?
Be sure to check out the Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales, walk down the Gran Vía, check out the Plaza Mayor and see a show at our famous Royal Opera House. [You can] gaze at world-famous paintings in the Prado and don’t miss visiting the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium to watch Real Madrid, which was founded the same year as our chocolatería Los Artesanos—[in] 1902.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.