Churros in Sweet Churro, Crow Street, Temple Bar, D2. Photo: Blanca Valencia
Food & Wine Magazine
A Venezuelan Churreria in Temple Bar
Normally, I’m not crazy about pastry for breakfast, but I make an exception for churros. On Crow Street in Temple Bar is Sweet Churro, which, to my knowledge, is Ireland’s only churreria, and that means plain churros, filled churros, giant churros – fried while you wait. Many doughnuts these days are photogenic, dressed up as they are with sprinkles and glazes, but a churro is hot and fresh. What’s more, a churro enhances the charms of the person who eats it. Svelte, its ridges glittering with cinnamon sugar, it is like a cigarette in that it is impossible not to look sexy while holding one!
Venezuelan-born Nigely Maasud came to Ireland with the intention of starting a tour company. Instead, she started making churros with her mother. Chic and slender, Nigely laughs, “The thing about running a churreria is that I am always smelling of oil.” Happily, it has not turned her off her appetite. Tonight, Nigely, whose grandfather is from Madrid, muses, “I will make ceviche, and then an asposado with rice and shellfish broth and mussels.”
It is nearly impossible to get an authentic churreria churro outside of a churreria. When making churros at home, one usually uses a choux pastry leavened with eggs. However, a churreria’s batter like Nigely’s contains no eggs, so the airiness remains an elusive secret. In Spain, churros are eaten mostly for breakfast. In Venezuela, churros are dessert. In a nod to her international character of her clientele, Nigely has filled churros for the Brazilians, Oreo churros for children, and giant, Instagrammable churros with soft-serve ice cream that are popular with Asians. Also on the menu are maddeningly tempting Venezuelan taqueños– tender, crumbling, biscuit-textured pastries filled with cheese and fried until the cheese becomes liquid.
Nigely’s favourite churros are filled with dulce de leche, evaporated milk cooked until caramel. Myself, I prefer my churros the way the Spanish do, in the morning, dusted simply with cinnamon sugar, and accompanied by the foamy, slightly bitter hot chocolate that Nigely imports from Spain (A lot of Spanish hot chocolate is made with dark chocolate 'tablets', and is rich and not too sweet).
Also, I like to eat my churros like a Spaniard, which is to regard them as a sophisticated, dressed-up kind of treat. Churros are not bathrobe food; they are meant to be consumed with high heels, a blowout, and well-turned out friends. The next time you eat a churro, glance at your reflection in the window, and strike a pose; take the moment to relish just how tasty one piece of pastry can make you appear.