Here at Food Spark we have been banging on about the classic pastries being transformed by a savoury overhaul for some time. It’s touched everything from eclairs and profiteroles to waffles, while croissant crossovers are all over the place.
Mexican chain Chiquito is the latest to jump on the trend, transforming the classic churro snack. The deep-fried choux pastry is usually sprinkled with cinnamon or sugar, and often accompanied or filled with custard, chocolate, vanilla or fruit.
Chiquito has created three savoury versions. The safest option draws on a classic American combo to deliver bacon and maple syrup churros, where back bacon is cooked then chopped into lardons and finished with a dusting of icing sugar.
Chicken syrup churros take things a step further, keeping the maple syrup and icing sugar topping, but drizzling it over deep-fried southern chicken strips that are skewered together with the pastry.
By far the most adventurous in the range is the churro chilli nachos, which are layered and topped with beef chilli and mozzarella then finished in the oven. The dish is then garnished with spring onions, red chilli and radish.
The churros range in price from £4.99 to £6.49, and all are being trialled nationally across Chiquito’s 83 restaurants. If they hit the spot with customers, they will find a permanent place on the menu.
“Our churros have been a favourite of our guests for years and at Chiquito we’re always striving to innovate classic dishes,” said Angelo Gabrilatsou, managing director of Chiquito. “Where else can you get bacon with churros? Inspired by modern flavour pairings, these products will be available for just five weeks from September 23, and we hope guests will be thrilled to take our twist on such a well-loved dessert.”
Back in time
Historically, the unsweetened churro breadstick was originally served as an alternative to fresh bread for shepherds in Spain and the name is thought to come from the Navajo-Churro breed of sheep.
Chiquito already has a range of sweet churros on the menu, including banana and dulce de leche, raspberry ripple, and chocolate brownie with strawberries, as well as traditional churros with chocolate sauce.
Savoury churros are making a mark in Buenos Aires too. The restaurant Alain Delon, located in the Caballito neighbourhood, makes chocolate-covered churros with smoked salt, merkén (smoked chilli pepper from Chile) and olive oil, as well as churros sprinkled with bacon dust.
Other Latin American desserts have also been going savoury in Argentina, like alfajores: shortbread-like cookies that are traditionally filled with dulce de leche. At Tegui, a fine dining restaurant in Buenos Aires, a white chocolate and cauliflower version is now part of the dessert offering.
So is Sparkie chomping at the bit for a bacon-topped churro?
I can imagine that there is potential for these to be quite nice. After all it is just fried dough, so I am sure there are savoury versions the world over.
There does seem to be a trend for modification of traditional foods, and while I can’t say that each individual product that goes down this route is going to be a trend in its own right, it is proving to be a popular form of experimentation. However, I have my doubts about the longevity of these kinds of products compared to authentic foods.