The Not-So-Basic Churro
The classic Mexican dessert is an Instagrammer’s sweetest dream
Once enjoyed as a traditional street food in Spain, churros are now appearing on menus at trendy restaurants all over the country. And these are not your basic cinnamon and sugar sticks. We’re talking churro cupcakes, bread pudding and s’mores. For a dessert comprised mostly of flour, water and sugar, diners are loving chefs’ updated versions of the classic street sweet.
“I grew up eating [churros],” says Marc Vidal, executive chef of Boqueria, a Spanish tapas bar with locations in New York and Washington, D.C. “The flavor profile makes them the perfect sweet to get creative with, so we love to incorporate different seasonal fruits, ice cream and more to mix things up. Our guests love trying new spins on the traditional version; they are hands-down our most popular dessert.”
Vidal continues, “The product itself is not expensive, but they’re much more labor intensive than any of our other desserts. What’s important is that our guests love them, and they come back for them time and time again.”
Some of the churros Boqueria’s loyal guests return for are classic churros with hot chocolate, churros stuffed with Nutella, churro ice cream sandwiches, churro s’mores and churro sundaes. And what could be more “Instagrammable” than a smorgasbord of Latin-inspired desserts?
“We see a lot of guests sharing photos of the churros, especially the churro sundae when it has sparklers for a birthday celebration, the ice cream sandwich and the s’more,” says Vidal. “The s’more was recently featured in a video on Instagram handle @insiderdessert, which garnered millions of views.”
It’s hard to complain about social media when it offers that kind of free, viral marketing power. Tuko Cantina in Chicago also boasts a churro sundae that “looks so fun and delicious, it’s perfect for an Instagram picture that for sure gains us free press,” says Jocelyn Meza, the popular new restaurant’s pastry chef. “People come to the restaurant for the hype of our food in general, but our churro sundae is a fan favorite.”
Datassential, a food industry market research firm, reports that churros have experienced a 38 percent growth on U.S. menus over the past four years. Many restaurateurs know that the resurgence of this dessert will not be winding down anytime soon.
As Vidal has discovered, “People come to the restaurant specifically for the churro dessert. A lot of people also order them to-go.”
Churros to-go: the next big trend?