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Chocolate heaven at San Churro Woden

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I don’t know about you, but there are some foods that I will always remember experiencing for the first time. I tried my first churro in San Diego in 2006, when I was visiting my cousin. It was love at first bite, and I ended up pestering her to take me to eat them a few more times before I left. I didn’t know where you could get them back home, so I went without, until one day in 2007 when one of my best friends insisted that I had to go with her to try this new chocolate place near her uni, in Glebe, Sydney. That place turned out to be San Churro.

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The reason I remember my first visit is because it’s one of the only times that my ability to tolerate vast amounts of chocolate was beaten. But that’s just because everything looked so good, so me being me and wanting to try as much as possible at once, I ordered a chocolate and churros tapas to share with my friend, as well as a chocolate shake. It was all delicious. And rich. But amazing (as was my friend’s chocolate tolerance, which is even higher than mine—she is my chocolate eating idol).

I was hooked from that point on, and made an effort to get to San Churro as often as I could when I was in Sydney. It helped that they kept opening stores closer and closer to where my parents live. But Sydney is still three hours away, and I kept hoping that one day one would open in Canberra. Last Saturday, that dream came true, when San Churro officially opened in Woden.

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While I couldn’t make it on opening day, as I was frantically working on an uni essay I’d left to the last minute, I was out the door and on my way as soon as I typed the final word on Sunday afternoon. I wasn’t quite sure where it was, but this turned out not to be a problem, because the store is huge and was easy to spot (it’s where APK used to be, near the McDonald’s entrance to Woden Westfield).

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Walking in, I was taken by the warm, rich décor, with fairy tale-esque paintings on the walls, and astounded by the offerings on display. It had been a little while since my last San Churro visit, and I couldn’t believe how much there was now to choose from—in addition to their signature churros there were macarons, cakes, ice creams, and piles and piles of chocolate delights. Not to mention the drinks.

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While I normally get confused and over-excited when there’s so much to choose from, this time I had my eye on something I’d not tried before—the strawberry bizcocho (not least because some of my friends went the day before and posted a photo of it on Facebook). Served in a cup, it consisted of a chocolate cake covered in custard, strawberries, peanuts and melted milk chocolate. Having learnt my lesson from my first San Churro experience, I did not order a chocolate drink to go with it, though I was very tempted (my usual tactic is to eat there and get a drink to take away—now there’s a San Churro 15 minutes away instead of three hours I can go as often as I want so don’t have to do this anymore…but I probably still will).

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The bizcocho was fun to eat and tasted as good as it looked, and I felt it was a well-deserved reward for finishing my essay early (a very rare occurrence). I ended up making friends with the girls sitting next to me at the long table, and almost regretted not ordering a hot chocolate after seeing theirs arrive. They also ordered a strawberry fondue for two, which they said was very satisfying. We pored over the menu, watched as staff delivered more deliciousness to the people around us, wished that we could fit more in, and vowed to come back (I ended up getting churros with chocolate dipping sauce to take away).

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I got the chance to have a chat to the owner, Lorena, and asked her why she decided to open a San Churro in Canberra. “My husband Luke and I are both Canberra born and bred. I loved San Churro and would hunt down stores whenever I travelled interstate for work,” she said.

“Talking to others I realised that anyone who knew about San Churro wished that we had one here in Canberra—so I thought I might as well enquire and see whether I could be the one to do it. It really was that simple.

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“I love the brand, I love the product and I love the team in Melbourne who do the behind the scenes work.  I felt like I was part of the San Churro family from the moment I arrived at their head offices. It sounds kind of cliché, but the San Churro network really is like a family. That made it easy to take that leap of faith.”

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Lorena says her favourite San Churro treat is churros dipped in Spanish hot chocolate, in particular, the spicy Azteca. “That’s the traditional way to eat churros, ” she said. “Spanish hot chocolate is thick and decadent and amazing! The Azteca was what got me hooked on San Churro in the first place—so I credit it for bringing us on this journey to owning our own store”.

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If you hadn’t guessed, I for one am very, very happy that Lorena and Luke took the leap, and I’m looking forward to many more visits so I can make my way through the menu. San Churro is open from early morning to late at night, so you can get your chocolate and churro fix any time of the day—there’s even a cinnamon breakfast churro that comes with condensed milk, which I am keen to try. If you’re a coffee drinker, their coffee is award-winning, organic and fair trade, so worth giving a go as well.

The essentials

The place: Chocolateria San Churro
Where: 8 Bradley Street, Westfield Woden
When: Mon-Thurs 8am-10pm, Friday 8am-midnight, Saturday 10am-midnight, Sunday 10am-10pm
Food: Chocolate, churros, ice cream, macarons, cakes, bizcochos, fondue, sundaes, and more!
Drinks: Spanish hot chocolate, couverture hot chocolate, shakes, smoothies, coffee, iced drinks
Contact: Call 1300 797 620 or visit the website or Facebook page

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9 Responses to Chocolate heaven at San Churro Woden

Kim says: 4 May, 2014 at 3:11 pm

YAY! I also enjoyed san churro on a holiday in melbs 2008, and it blew my mind, drinks, churros and all, that I bough some take home hot choc. Soo glad when it finally hit adelaide last year and now Canberra woo hoo! Won’t be long till a second one opens north no doubt. 🙂

Tara says: 8 May, 2014 at 5:28 pm

I just called to book for Sunday afternoon but they’re not taking bookings for Mother’s Day. I was assured we’d be able to get a seat but I’m not so sure – seems like every Mum’s dream venue. 🙁

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