Here's the History Behind Mexico City's Best Churro Spot, Churreria El Moro

Image​​: @churreriaelmoro

What is your ideal breakfast food?Do you prefer your morning traditional style with eggs, bacon, and hash browns? 

Or do you like something on the sweeter end? For those of you who enjoy a sweeter morning, what if I told you that a certain dessert is traditionally eaten as a breakfast food or midday snack with a cup of coffee?

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Churros are a golden, crunchy, cinnamon sugar fried dough that have become a staple in Mexico and Spain. 

An authentic Spanish churro is thin, with a star shaped figure which allows the outside to become crispy while the inside stays warm and chewy. 

It's this dual combination of crunchy and chewy which makes each bite of the churro so mouth wateringly delicious. 

While the churro recipe is undemanding, pinpointing where the churro originates is much more puzzling.

According to a  BBC Travel article, some historians credit the Arabs for developing a recipe similar to the churro, while others have seen similarities between the churro and fritters from a Roman cookbook dating back to the first century A.D. 

What is well known is in the late 19th century Chocolatería San Ginés began serving churros with cups of warm, dark chocolate.In Mexico City, churros weren’t introduced until 1933 when Francisco Iriarte moved from his small town of Elizondo, Bazatán, Spain.

Noticing there were no pastries like the churro, he decided to install a small vending cart in the Zocalo and give Mexico another taste of Spain. 

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As an homage to his home, Iriarte named his new small business “El Moro" which in Spain is the nickname given to churro vendors at festivals and parties. 

Slowly this sweet and fragrant fried dough grew in popularity throughout Mexico City.

Being so widely accepted, Iriarte was able to turn his vending cart into a shop, where visitors can come and be engulfed in sweetness. 

Located in Eje Central, Mexico City, Iriarte opened his doors to the public only two years after his arrival. 1935 not only marked the Golden Age of Mexican cinema, but the opening of the historic churro center. 

For El Moro, opening during this time meant they were serving famous figures from around the world and CDMX residents alike. 

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Sadly, Iriarte passed away five years after his grand opening. 

Seeing how influential his work was, Iriarte’s three brothers José, Santiago, and Ignacio packed their bags and moved to Mexico.

Carrying on their late brothers work, they furthered the love Mexico City residents have for churros. 

This beloved churro shop continues to be a family owned business, being passed down from generation to generation. 

It is a place where friends and families come to enjoy a sweet treat, to take a break from the day and enjoy a cup of coffee, and visit a historic bakery. 

Churreria El Moro can be found in ten locations in Mexico. 

The original shop is in the Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas 42, Centro Historico, Mexico City which is a must visit. 

While you’re here, we recommend trying the churro ice cream sandwiches (pictured above)!

Browse all of El Moro locations here.

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About the Author

Eliana Flores-Barber

Eliana Flores-Barber is a Mexican-American writer and photographer based out of California. She graduated from Emerson College with a journalism degree and an art history minor. Her love of storytelling comes from her grandparents who always shared stories of their family history and life in Mexico. When she is not working, you can find her on the tennis court.

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