Program - Gourmet - Barcelona - Spain
A Brief History Of Churros

When it comes to breakfast, most of us are divided into team sweet or team savory. In Spain, most locals are squarely in the sweet category well as they often greet the day with churros con chocolate.

When it comes to the history of churros, it’s complicated. Some historians say that the Spanish churro is a descendant of a Chinese pastry, called 'youtiao'. The Chinese pastry fried in oil and looks like two long, conjoined breadsticks and isn’t dressed in sugar or dunked in chocolate as you’ll see in Spain. The story goes that Portuguese explorers brought Youtiao back to Iberia where it then took on its distinct, star-edged shape and sweetness as the pastry gained popularity throughout Spain.

Others say that churros were an invention of Spanish shepherds who fried a dough made of flour, water, and salt – the same base ingredients (in addition to butter and eggs) for the churros we know today – as a substitute for fresh bread. The story also goes that the name for the pastry was supposedly inspired by the ridged horns of the native Churra sheep, an aesthetic which the fried treat takes after.

While the history of the churro may be fuzzy, history is more certain when chocolate got involved. Churros were introduced to South America during the Spanish Inquisition in the 1500s. Around the same time, the Spanish returned to Europe with cacao, which they sweetened with sugar cane to make the kind of thick, hot chocolate that’s perfect for churro dunking - a tradition that very much lives on today.