Madrid day 3 morning
It was time to go - I would be leaving Madrid today…taking the train to Avila to see the ancient walled city there.
But I still had the morning free, and I was determined to see the Mercato San Miguel and sample some delicious artisanal food there.
A ‘Mercato’ is a covered marketplace, where the various food producers used to bring their stuff and sell there in ancient times - butchers, winemakers, cheese makers, fishmongers, vegetable and fruit sellers, vinegar and garum makers and so on - much like Crawford market in Mumbai.
Over the years the place evolved to be a place selling artisanal food to be eaten there itself, rather than being a wholesale market. Now it is a place for tourists to find and try kinds of fancy artisanal food.
This particular Mercato is more than 100 years old - Today, this historical building stands out as one of the world’s main gastronomic markets. It allows visitors to experience the essence and most significant flavors of every corner of Spain.
From the finest Iberian ham and freshest fish and shellfish brought in daily from Galicia, to Mediterranean rice dishes and the most exquisite cheeses from Castile, Asturias and the Basque Country – at the Mercado de San Miguel, you’ll find all the highlights of Spanish cuisine. Spread out over more than 20 stands, the common denominator here is a commitment to high-quality tapas and pub fare.
COVID had forced the closure of this market for more than 8 months! It had opened just in July 2021 and now it was back to running full blast. The crowd seemed to be mostly local Spanish people - the only foreigners were a few Americans…and me.
I woke early and packed my bags and went down to have a local specialty at the downstairs cafe - churros and chocolate.
After that I ambled across the Plaza mayor and to the Mercato. I was not the only Bhukkad person standing around waiting for the Mercato to open - there were quite a few others hanging around with their tongues hanging out.
As soon as the gates opened, we all streamed in and strolled around looking at all the stalls - what a pleasure just to see the stuff. Spanish preparations, wine, cheese, beers, fried food, tapas stalls, sea food - and of course, the famous Iberian belotta ham!
I made a beeline there and asked how much the ham was.
I whistled mentally. That was expensive…
‘…for a 100 grams!”
‘How much you want?’ The stall owner replied casually, picking up his carving knife.
I mumbled something and backed off and went off looking for something more affordable.
I nibbled this and munched that - empanada, cheese, tapas, etc.
but then I thought that this was too bad. I should have something hammy. So I went back to the stall.
Luckily he was selling other cheaper stuff as well - ham bocadillos (crusty bread sandwiches) and cured sausages and so on. So I did have some fine Iberian ham after all.
Just not the 25 euro for 100 grams one!
I blog about my travels - and the thoughts they set off! Sometimes the simplest destinations can be the most thought-provoking!