Paquito el chocolatero
Language Resources

Song: Little Paco the Chocolate Maker (Paquito el chocolatero)

A key part of any Spanish fiesta worth its salt is when all the guests get together to dance the very well known steps of “Little Paco the Chocolate Maker.”

This song is a quintessential part of any Spanish celebration. It’s never missing at village festivals and you can even hear it at weddings (and, if it’s not played, there’s always someone who asks the bride and groom to play it).

It seems like “Little Paco” has always existed, but the truth is, the paso doble (literally “double step”) that names it is more recent than it seems. It was composed in 1937 by Gustavo Pascual Falcó, from Concentaina (Alicante). At the beginning, it was composed for Moorish and Christian celebrations; but its popularity has grown, and it is now the most played Spanish song out there. That being said, few people know that it has lyrics and that they are the following (translated from the Spanish):

Paquito "El Chocolatero"
es un hombre muy formal
que cuando llega la fiesta
va siempre muy "colocao".

Se pone el vestido de fiesta
el puro, cafe-licor
y se va a la "filá"
para olvidarse de todo.

Por la calle van desfilando
entre flores y colores
y el pueblo se va entregando
a la gracia de este hombre
que sabe como nadie bailar.

Por la calle van desfilando
Cantueso y Herbero
para poderlo aguantar
mientras dure la fiesta
tan Valenciana, tan popular.

Después (mañana) se irá
a la fábrica y se pone a trabajar;
cantueso y herbero
para poderlo aguantar
hasta que vuelva nuestra fiesta
tan valenciana, tan popular

Little Paco "the chocolate maker"
is a very formal man
and when the party starts
he always plays his part

He wears his party suit
cigar, coffee liquor
and joins the marching band
to forget all his troubles.

They march down the street
full of flowers and colors
and the village is delivered
into grace by this man
who can dance like no other.

They march down the street
Contueso and Herbero
so that they can stand it
while the fiesta lasts
so Valencian, so popular.

Later (tomorrow) he’ll go
to the factory and start to work;
cantueso and herbero
so that he can stand it
until our fiesta returns
so Valencian, so popular.

After learning this little story you’re probably asking yourself, “who was Little Paco?” Well, it’s said that he was Gustavo Pascual Falcó’s brother-in-law, whose name was Francisco Pérez Molina, a chocolate seller in a small store, for whom fiestas, more than a tradition, were a religion.

Now that you know who “Little Paco” was you’re probably asking yourself, “why is the dance for this song that made him immortal, so strange?”  Well, it’s said that a member of the pirate troupe that acted in the Moorish and Christian fiestas of Villena (Alicante) created the style to make fun of his own limp.

How about that? Keep this information in mind, because it is very likely that you now know more about this topic than Spaniards themselves.