Madrid isn’t a city well-known for its desserts. Even harder to find are good desserts made with chocolate. However, it does have a plethora of traditional delicacies enjoyed by locals and tourists alike, sugary pastries like rosquillas and torrijas which are sure to do more than meet your needs. For those chocolate lovers who came to Madrid to see the sights, but forgot about all the great double fudge brownie chocolate cake triple chocolate chunks they’d be leaving behind, I have found the answer: three little-known delicious chocolaterías in Madrid to satiate your cravings, because sometimes Nutella just won’t cut it.
These three chocolaterías celebrate Madrid in their own way, as a little bit of a break from the overwhelming culture at the Prado or the history at the bullfights. Each contains a little bit of the city’s local customs, whether it be a sweet merienda (a small meal between lunch and dinner) or a traditional holiday delicacy, in a tasty little treat. And while Chocolatería Valor and Horno de San Onofre are more traditional sit-down café style, Chocolat Madrid is more of a buy it and go situation. So, whether you need some change after visiting all of the art and history museums, a sweet snack after a night out in Malasaña or are simply looking to eat your chocolate because you can and very well should, there is a place for you.
Fortunately, Chocolatería Valor stayed open during siesta time in the midst of one of Spain’s many summer heat waves. There was no way you could drink liquid hot chocolate that day (a favorite of locals mostly during the winter time), so instead you can order one of the menu’s huge chocolate hot fudge sundaes. At its bottom—reserved only for those who got through all three scoops above—was a well of rich, thick hot fudge. The sundae did look a little ridiculous—most of the people there were locals getting their usual espresso or croissant in the exceptionally air-conditioned café, but the menu does offer plenty of super chocolaty desserts for chocolate lovers who like to have ice cream for lunch, so you might as well take advantage of it.
Wilson, probably the employee with the most seniority, was originally from Ecuador and had been working at Chocolatería Valor for 12 years. He didn’t speak a lick of English, but had a lot to say about madrileños customs: “They usually order ice cream in the summer, if not a sandwich and coffee,” said Wilson, who preferred not to give his surname. “It’s these tourists who usually get the churros and hot chocolate in the summer. That’s for winter.” Churros are like a deep-fried doughnut pastry, a favorite among tourists from all over the world.
Moral of the story: you should be confident in ordering your chocolate ice cream instead of churros (which really aren’t very sweet in Spain), enjoy your desserts while you can, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.
Sometimes you kind of just want to take your chocolate with you and eat it in the comfort of your own home. Or, if you’re feeling extra nice, you might even want to gift it to someone special. This is what Chocolat Factory is great for. A little more on the expensive side, the shop has all kinds of chocolates—dark, white, milk, java, caramel—wrapped in every which way.
“The store is Catalan, from Barcelona,” said shopkeeper Marisol, who preferred not to give her surname. “We have several different types of chocolates—all are artisanal.”
And the artisan chocolates really do taste like it. My chocolate bar, which to my surprise did not completely melt on the way home, was rich and creamy with just the right amount of sweetness.
The closest metro stop to Horno de San Onofre is Gran Vía (line 1), but if you’re really looking to treat yourself, you’ll start at the top of Fuencarral street (Bilbao metro station), and work your way down what is essentially an outdoor mall, saving the pastelería for last.
A large section of Fuencarral is closed to cars, and here there are lots of clothing and makeup stores like Brandy Melville, Nyx, and Birkenstock. San Onofre is a quiet side street off of Fuencarral perfect for your end of shopping day treat. Here they sell the most popular desserts of both Spain and Madrid in particular, catering mostly to the locals but also the sweet tooth of tourists.
If you’re looking to try a really authentic Spanish dessert, there are really almost too many to choose from: the Torrijas de Semana Santa, Tarta de Santiago, Rosquillas de San Isidro, buñuelos (think beignets) and barquillos all characterize Spanish holidays celebrated in Madrid. “Barquillos follow the tradition of churros and rosquillas, typical sweets and main characters of the gastronomic customs and traditions of Madrid”, said Fabiana Estévez, an employee at San Onofre.
If you want something a little more common and consistently available at San Onofre year-round, there are of course churros with a hot cup of chocolate, pestiños and my favorite, the rich chocolate bizcocho gallego. The cake, which originated in Galicia (a northern region of Spain), is made up of 70 percent cacao, several layers of chocolate cake, chocolate icing spread throughout each and chocolate fudge all around the edges. This is about as chocolate as it gets.
Chocolatería Valor; Calle del Conde de Peñalver 43; Mon thru Sat 8:30AM – 10PM, Sun 9AM – 10PM; Metro Lista.
Chocolat Factory; Calle de Hermosilla 35; Mon thru Fri 10:30AM – 2PM & 4:30 – 8PM, Sat 10:30AM – 3PM, Sun CLOSED; Metro Velázquez.
El Horno de San Onofre; Calle San Onofre 3 · When: Open daily, 8AM – 9PM · pasteleriasanonofre.com · How to ge there: metro Gran Vía.