This was simply the best cup of hot chocolate I have ever had in my entire life! I rarely use the â€œbest I have ever hadâ€ description because I fear I have seen and tasted so little, so far, but this was definitely a SUPERB hot chocolate. Imagine for a moment, walking around Barcelona sightseeing for about 2 hours, you are starting to get tired, you need a rest and a shot of sugar. It is a brisk day, about 50 degrees with a breeze. My food radar suggests one of the “must visit” patisseries is within a few minutes walkâ€¦so we head over to Escriba, a nearly 100 year old temple to pastry that was started in the early 1900â€™s by a former coal worker. His descendants still run the place and the original location on the Ramblas has a spectacular faÃ§ade of mosaic tiles and ornate lines. One look in the window and we knew we had found our pit stopâ€¦
We looked around inside and suddenly realized this may not be so easy to get intoâ€¦even mid-afternoon the internal tables were all taken. We perused the pastries instead and loitered for a moment hoping a table would come free. However, outside, there were about 5 tables on a side street and I was lucky enough to grab one while my wife and daughter were still checking out the pastries. After settling down, we realized we were still quite full but we all spied cups of hot chocolate emerging for other patrons so we ordered 3 cups. A few minutes later the hot chocolate arrived. It must have been the thickest cup of hot chocolate I have ever had. You could almost cut it with a knife. It was so thick I drank (or ate?) my hot chocolate with a teaspoon. It had an intense aroma, was incredibly chocolatey and creamy, but not overly sweet.
Now I completely understand why dipping churros or broas for that matter in hot chocolate would be such a treat. Forget the watery versions found in Manila, this is the basis for â€œthe take a crisp buttery or fatty biscuit and dip it into and coat it with hot chocolateâ€ scenario. Every spoonful had the three of us looking at each other in aweâ€¦we unanimously thought this was simply the best we had ever tasted. It was closer to drinking chocolate fondue than not. There was so much chocolate in these cups that you can see in the photo how the top of the hot chocolate would form a darker crust as it cooled and oxidizedâ€¦you broke through this crust with your teaspoon each time you scooped out more to drink!
At 2.90 Euro a cup, this was one of the best food bargains/values we encountered. We were definitely coming back to have some more. A few days later, we returned on a much sunnier and warmer day. We got the same table and ordered some more hot chocolate and my daughter picked out a strawberry tart. The hot chocolate seemed a bit thinner this time around, but not much. It was still superb but somehow the first time seemed more memorableâ€¦we noticed that the waiter himself mixed the hot chocolate and he added the cream into the pot that was used to mix it inâ€¦perhaps the lack of precise measurement was the reason for the slightly different consistency of the hot chocolate on the two different days.
At any rate, the chocolate was our main focus but the store also had SPECTACULAR looking desserts. Our strawberry tart was filled with a nice pastry cream and topped with juicy, sweet and seasonal strawberries and decorated with a few fresh red currants. At 6 Euro it was pricey but good. They had other incredibly interesting looking desserts on offer and some of the smaller cakes ran Euro 20-40. Also interesting was their whimsical waxed paper which they used to wrap the pastries and the incredibly beautiful boxes and ribbons used to pack the cakes and tarts. Less than 100 meters or so down the Ramblas from the main entrance of La Boqueria, you must visit Escriba if you are ever in Barcelona.