Sometimes you run across a food so good that everyone wants credit for it. Churros are a great example. The sweet, sugar-sprinkled pastries and complementary chocolate sauce for dipping are the stuff dreams are made of. Who wouldn’t want to lay claim to these delectable treats? More importantly, does the history really matter?
It is hard to find someone who actually hates churros. Each variation is good in its own right. Whether you are talking the traditional churros found in Spain or some of the more interesting derivations enjoyed in Mexico and Latin America, finding churros you don’t like is not as easy as it sounds.
Churros’ history is not as clear-cut as one might think. There are several different theories as to their origins, beginning with Spanish shepherds whose nomadic lives kept them up in the mountains and far away from cities and towns. As the story goes, they created churros as a delicious pastry that was easy to make with the frying pan and just as easy to carry.
This version of churros’ history is supported by the fact that there is a certain breed of sheep called the navajo-churro. The sheep are direct descendants of the churra sheep found in the mountains of Spain and Portugal. Their horns are long and narrow near the end, giving them the appearance of churros.
Others say that churros originate in Portugal. They claim that Portuguese explorers discovered a similar food in China, brought it back to Portugal, then modified the recipe before introducing the Spanish to it. The Spanish apparently followed suit by putting their own spin on it, creating their churros in a star shape.
Churros in the Americas
So, how did churros make their way to the Americas? The answer to that is the one thing most experts agree on. According to the good people behind the Taqueria27 Mexican restaurant in Salt Lake City, churros were brought to Latin America by Spanish explorers. However, they did not remain the simple pastries enjoyed by the Spanish and Portuguese.
Latin American churros were transformed from a sweet dessert to so much more. In Cuba, you will find churros filled with guava, a tropical fruit that can have either a slightly sweet or rather sour flavor. In Mexico, they tend to fill their churros with dulce de leche while in Uruguay, churros are filled with cheese.
The great thing about churros is that there is no right or wrong way to serve them. If you prefer a savory snack, fill yours with cheese or dust them with salt instead of sugar. If you have a sweet tooth, you know that sugar, cinnamon, and chocolate dipping sauce are all on the table.
Breakfast, Dessert, and Snack
It is worth mentioning that churros are eaten at different times of the day in different places. Going back to Spain, churros are a very popular breakfast dish served with a hot beverage. That’s not a bad way to start the morning. It is equivalent to our coffee and donuts.
In other places, savory churros are an afternoon snack designed to tide you over until dinner. Go to any state fair in this country and you’ll discover sweet, chocolaty churros as one of the most popular snacks on food row. And of course, restaurants like Taqueria27 serve churros as both a snack and dessert.
It is hard to go wrong with any kind of churros. They are all good, regardless of their origins and derivations. Thank goodness someone had the sense to create a fried dough pastry and dip it in warm chocolate. Right?