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.
I love visiting a city´s indoor market, wherever I travel, and Valencia Central Market was no exception. The produce on sale was wonderfully fresh and beautifully displayed and it´s housed in a beautiful building with an such an ornate dome in the ceiling.
On one of the days we visited, there was an exhibition of dancing inside the market, with everyone dressed in colourful costumes.
Valencia Central Market is well worth a visit as a tourist, but to be able to buy fresh ingredients to cook with every day, now that is a dream!
Thanks for the reminder.
Thanks for your great comments Marriane…!
I am a little embarrassed to say that we rarely make time to go to the market except when we are showing guests around! It’s not like we are pretending to them that we usually do it either, it’s just that work and life gets in the way and we end up in Mercadona most weeks instead. It’s so much pleasanter though to take the time and stroll around, the mercadillo in Denia is lovely and whenever I go I try to resolve to shop properly in future!
Thanks for your comment Maya!!I reckon that is the case for all of us!!
I hope these markets don’t disappear. Even though “normal” life means we shop in supermarkets for convenience, shopping in a market is so much more stimulating & fun! Supermarkets don’t have that wonderful mixture of smells you sense the moment you walk into a market! They actually seem to be on the increase here, but it maybe the nature of the place – small growers on a small island, and they are usually only on the weekend, which makes sense.
Hi Linda,Thanks for our comment.Yeas you are so right .It is a better experience than the supermarkets but nowadays we are all short of time so go for convenience.We all need to slow down a bit!!
In my opinion chain supermarkets can’t beat the local market’s quality produce. Valencia Central Market is really worth the trolley trip, not only to buy fresh and delicious ingredients but also for the experience in itself. Sellers here really care about what they sell and their customers, and they make you feel at home.
Very true Adriana,very true.