What is a perfect croquette? It depends, says Raquel Camacho, one of the great Spanish “croqueteras”. His Instagram account @croquetasenmadrid is famous among the admirers of this famous cover. “Sometimes I just put a photo of a croquette and a lot of people guess where it is from just by the looks, it’s a whole world,” he explains. Five years ago he proposed to create a “croquemapa” of the capital and together with the accounts on Instagram and Twitter he persists in his analysis: “Whenever I go to a place I ask for croquettes, they are the quality thermometer of the site,” he says. To fatten his list, Camacho has prepared individual routes from several restaurants in a single day, and some do not offer individual croquettes: “Sometimes I come home with heartburn, in my case it should be occupational risk,” he jokes.
The croquette has at least three key variables: batter, béchamel, and flavor. “For example, I love that it melts in my mouth, but not when it is cooked, where I want to notice the threads of the meat. I also like that the ham pieces can be seen ”, he says. The quality of the coating depends not only on its texture but also on the oil itself and the uses it has had: “There are some that I call gold ingots, because the coating is very clean, as if the oil were freshly put,” he explains.
His passion for croquettes comes from a lifetime, but it was in 2016 when he decided to create a croquettes community in Madrid, where there was none. There are posts on gastronomic pages dedicated to the best croquettes, but the perseverance of discovering wonderful croquettes in scattered places is a dedicated effort by Camacho. “The level of croquette in Madrid is uneven, but there is more and more. If there are 20 restaurants in a street, in 19 they will have croquettes. Many buy them from bakeries, and some are very good, “he explains. Raquel is on this quest to discover the unique bars where they make their own béchamel, “hitting it with the little arm”: for now, she calculates, she will have about 500 different croquettes tasted since 2016, which probably implies more than twice as much ingested, because no he always eats only one and often repeats local.
His passion for croquette came from years ago, but his interest in social media also arose earlier. Camacho and his partner created in 2012 “Espacio Madrid”, a page dedicated to leisure. But with a twist: “It’s not a billboard, but I choose what I would recommend to a friend from another city,” he explains. It started as something complementary and now two people live on the income that comes from the initiative: sponsored posts, network management for the hospitality industry, promotion of specific events in networks. Although, Camacho warns, the croquettes are left out of the sponsors: “Sometimes they send me to try it, and I notice it in the post, but I will never say that a croquette is good just because they have paid me to say it, it would be to lose all the credibility, ”he says. Engtre Instagram, Twitter and Facebook already have about 125,000 followers.
Nor does she like to be destructive, although the famous ones she doesn’t like do come out as “bad” on her croquemapa. One of the most famous in Madrid, Casa Labra, near Sol, has lost size lately, he says, which is a statement shared by the croquetil community. “Sometimes I have gone to a restaurant with several locations and a famous croquette has seemed caked to me. In cases like this I am not destructive because perhaps it is the cook of that place, who does not have as much arm for the bechamel ”, she says.
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