In terms of great recipes and excellent food the secret is in the raw materials. This is what any chef in the world will tell you. It is ,of course, true and this concept can be applied to many walks of life. Spanish food without doubt is up there with the best in the world. It has a diversity and depth which makes it accessible and popular to all tastes. But where do Spaniards buy their food?
The crude reality, in these modern times, is that the average Spaniard buys his groceries from the normal modern supermarket be it Mercadona , Dia or Carrefour. However, it is also true that many people still go to the typical indoor food markets even though they are slowly dying out all over Spain except where they are subsidised by the tourists in the big cities where hordes of food loving visitors stroll through the markets marvelling at the fantastic produce on show.
So are there no Spanish buyers in the food markets?. Well,yes there are but they tend to shop in these markets for something special rather than as a daily occurrence .Before people shopped everyday in the markets because fridges were non existent or very small. My mother-in-law at her ripe age (I wont tell you her age because she would be mortified. Well ,actually she changes her age according to who she is talking to,so even I don’t know after all these years!) still goes to the Central Market in Valencia.
She goes to her local market on a regular basis and to the central one a couple of times a month to buy quality fish and seafood. As you may have read in another of my posts, My Mother-in-law Should be a Celebrity Chef, my mother-in-law is indeed a quite amazing cook and always uses quality ingredients.
Her trips to Valencia Central Market involve a good walk and a bus ride with her shopping trolley. It’s a sort of Iron Man course for pensioners because to come back with a full shopping trolley it is a real challenge to get on and off the bus. But there has to be a reason why she shuns her local round the corner supermarket with all the modcons and packaged goods to cross the city with her trolley packed with cuttlefish, squid, pescaditos, prawns etc. The reason is quality raw material,quality ingredients.She prefers to make the journey and suffer the difficulties in order to have what she knows, from her decades of cooking ,is best.
Using this simple analogy of quality raw ingredients then Spain as a country and as a tourist destination has quality ingredients in abundance: great food and wine, amazing cities,great rural interiors,fantastic architecture, lovely outgoing people, fantastic and unique historical monuments, quiet provincial towns where you can soak up that Spanish lifestyle, music, fiestas, real coffee, sunshine, spectacular mountains…………..the list is endless.
Spain is without doubt the best recipe around for holidays whether it be a cultural,food and wine, activity or beach holiday.
If you like the idea of experiencing Spain and its culture up close then visit the interior of this fascinating country with us. Have a look at our trips and see which one suits you best: The Spanish Thyme Traveller.