MIAMI – Cold winter days in South Florida are rare and fleeting. But when the temperature drops below 60 degrees, one thing remains the same: long lines for freshly fried churros and thick hot chocolate.
There are dozens of restaurants in the Miami area that serve churros year-round, including some that focus solely on the dish, but winter is their biggest season.
“It’s Miami stuff,” says Arletty Hernandez, 21, shivering after picking up her churros. from La Palma on Southwest Eighth Street.
At La Palma, opened in 1979 and owned by a family run Versailles restaurant, hundreds of people lined up in the chilly weather for classic deep-fried churros sprinkled with sugar, topped with rich Spanish-style hot chocolate. The colder it gets, the more churros they sell. According to Nicole Valls, the owner’s granddaughter, on a particularly lively night, employees can sell close to 2,000 seats.
Nicole Rosario, 48, who made the last-minute decision to pick up the churros on Sunday after she attended a wedding nearby.
Sara Manis, 63, courageously queued for churros on Sunday, something she’s wanted to do since she first saw a story about it years ago on the local news. “It was the first time I tasted it like that,” she says of the dish.
La Palma isn’t the only place with crowds. At Morro Castle in Hialeah, another old school venue that serves churros year-round, people can wait 20 minutes to sit inside and buy churros for 20 cents each. The cafe-style restaurant that opened in 1966 can sell up to 3,000 churros when the temperature drops, says Leo Villalobos, owner and grandson of the restaurant’s founder.
The recipe – just flour, oil, water and salt – comes from Cuba, where his uncle Villalobos runs a restaurant. A friend built Morro Castle, a pedal-operated machine that extrudes dough into its traditional flake tube shape. The hot chocolate, which is also thick here, is made from two different types of milk, sugar, chocolate, and cornstarch, which determine its thickness.
“It’s like a tradition,” said Mr Villalobos of winter-seekers. “It’s something that’s been going on for generations, and they bring you in as children, and they bring their descendants.”
This Miami ritual originated in Spain, where the churros-and hot chocolate combination was often served as breakfast, Maria Paz Moreno, a professor of Spanish at the University of Cincinnati and the author of “Madrid: Culinary History. She traced the churro’s lineage from a 13th-century Arabic cookbook about a dough made of flour and water fried in oil, but it was not yet called churro.
Another cookbook – which she considers the “Bible for Spanish Cuisine” – dates back to 1611 and was written by Francisco Martínez Motiño, who cooked for the King of Spain. It’s a recipe for churros, which Martínez Motiño calls “fruta de sartén,” or the fruit of a frying pan, Dr. Moreno said.
The term churro was not used until 1884 Real Academy Española, an organization that preserves the Spanish language, said Sarah Portnoy, professor of Latinx Food Research at the University of Southern California, Dornsife, and author of “Food, Health and Culture in Latino Los Angeles. ”
Dr. Moreno said Churro comes from the sound the dough makes when it meets hot oil.
As for the concentrated hot chocolate, the Spaniards got it from the Aztecs in Mexico. The Aztec version is a strong, cocoa-based drink that is bitter, thickened with corn and spiced with chili peppers, Dr. Moreno said. The Spaniards made it palatable to their taste buds by adding sugar and vanilla.
Like many dishes throughout Latin America with Spanish influences, churros have been adapted in many countries. “Today you see people putting different flavors into tamales or empanadas,” says Dr. Portnoy. “Over time, with globalization, the taste adapts and evolves.”
Owner of Santo DulceColombian Laura Luque, who serves churros, hot chocolate and ice cream at several locations in Miami, doesn’t want the restaurant to serve just one type of churro. She owns the business with her wife, Venezuelan Yule Nuñez. Along with the classic cinnamon sugar churro, they come in a variety of flavors like guava and cheese, dulce de leche with coconut, and maple with bacon.
Santo Dulce is mostly open for business in the winter. Just last week, when temperatures dropped to the mid-50s, people were waiting in line for over an hour, and yes, even then people were still ordering ice cream and milkshakes. This weekend the temperature could drop to 30s.
Ms Luque said: “Everybody went crazy.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/dining/churros-hot-chocolate.html When it’s winter in Miami, it’s time for Churros and hot chocolate