The best sweet treat in Madrid

Nope, it’s not churros y chocolate. It’s a pastry that came from Venice, gets its name from Italy, and was made famous in France

Churros y Chocolate

The best known sweet treat in Spain is churros y chocolate. All over the country, people start their morning by dipping sticks of fried dough into cups of thick chocolate. In Madrid, the most famous spot for churros y chocolate is Chocolatería San Gines. They’ve been serving up their version of deliciousness for over 100 years.

Chocolatería San Gines (photo: Brent Petersen)

But, for me, there’s a much tastier way to get your recommended daily allowance of carbs and chocolate in Madrid.

Napolitana de Chocolate

Strictly speaking, Napolitana de Chocolate means the Chocolate of Naples.

But, this rectangular pastry probably made its way to the Iberian Peninsula from Vienna, where bakers were experimenting with croissants and chocolate.

By the late 19th century, pain au chocolat was the rage in Paris. A flaky croissant filled with a piece or two of dark chocolate. What’s not to love?

Now, it might sound like heresy, but I think that the Spanish improved on the pain au chocoalt. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve consumed more than my fair share of pain au chcolat (or chocolatine in Bordeaux). And, I’ve enjoyed them tremendously.

But, here’s what the Napolitana de chocolate has over the pain au chocolat.

At La Mallorquina in Madrid, the dough somehow seems flakier. And, oozing out each end is chocolate ganache, not pieces of dark chocolate. Flakier and chocolatier. I gotta call ’em like I see ’em. The Napolitana de chocolate is the winner.

Napolitana de Chocolate at La Mallorquina (photo: Brent Petersen)

And, even though the main location of La Mallorquina is in a touristy part of Madrid (Puerta del Sol), the place seems packed with locals, especially first thing in the morning.

Avoid getting pulled in by the baked goods in the display case. That can wait. Instead, belly up to the counter and order your Napolitana de chocolate and coffee. Don’t expect friendly service, especially if you’re not fluent in Spanish. But who cares? Your little plate of heaven will be in front of you before you know it.

Plus, it’s cheap. €1.4 for a pastry, so you can afford to go every morning you’re in Madrid. And you’ll have money left over to get some cakes, cookies, or truffles from the display case you bypassed on your way in.

About the Author

Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink, including in-depth eating and drinking guides to Lisbon, PortoSintraMonsaraz, and Evora in Portugal. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all major podcasting platforms and is distributed by the Radio Misfits Podcast Network.

Author: Brent