Life in Culebrón

Sunday 19 November 2017 - 18 grammes of sweetness

One of those things you "have to do" when you're a visitor to Spain is to try chocolate y churros - a hot fried sweet dough stick served with a hot chocolate drink. The hot chocolate is basically melted chocolate thinned out with milk. I just checked and the Valor version, for instance, has nearly 40% chocolate along with sugar, rice flour and milk powder. So Spaniards expect drinking chocolate to be spoon standingly thick.

We Britons drink cocoa or hot chocolate too. I seem to remember that, when I was a lad, I had to be precise about the name or I got real cocoa which was much darker and bitterer than the Cadbury's drinking chocolate I preferred. I may well be wrong but I think that cocoa solids is the name for the powder left after cocoa butter has been extracted from cocoa beans and that the cocoa solids dissolved in milk were the traditional British bedtime drink of cocoa. Somewhere between the 1950s and 70s cocoa was slowly ousted by a sweeter, thicker chocolately drink, drinking chocolate, which was much easier to prepare.

Spaniards drink something very much like British drinking chocolate (I suppose thinking of Cadbury as British now that it is owned by Montelez is like saying Nessels instead of Nestley for Nestlé and pretending they're not Swiss - but you know what I mean) with the main brands being Cola Cao and Nesquik. As much as anything these chocolatey flavoured powders are drunk, both hot and cold, by children at breakfast time. Unlike the thicker liquid chocolate that goes with churros Cola Cao and Nesquik are not a favourite tipple among Spanish adults.

It's surprising how difficult this makes the conversation with my Spanish learners of English when we're talking about what they might drink as a warming beverage in a London café.

Oh and the individual packs of Cola Cao are 18 grammes and if you'd like to read more of the same or similar just Google Life in Culebrón.

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Day to day life in the Spanish village of Culebrón in inland Alicante


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