Even if you weren’t remotely interested in markets (if there is such a person) the building itself is enough to attract you. Completed in 1928, the art nouveau architecture is visually seductive, but festooned with mounds of fresh produce and the perfume of the finest jamon…it was impossible to resist.
The broke travel budget took us to an airbnb only
two blocks from the market, so it was an easy trip on foot. We had a heads up from our Airbnb host, who was a chef with an inexplicable moose head mounted in his hallway. He couldn’t speak English and we couldn’t speak Spanish but somehow, the message got through.
It is our usual practice to conduct a circuit of the stalls for reconnaissance purposes, then an in depth examination of the offerings. This will usually involve some samplings and purchases in order to keep our strength up. I was also looking at the vegetables with longing, as it seemed like a long time since we had had been able to cook, just plain, simple steamed veggies. Its all well and good having them in a restaurant, but they always seem more wholesome when you’ve cooked them yourself.
As you would expect of a market in Spain, jamon was the star. It was also late November, people were giving thought to their Christmas jamon requirements, so important decisions were called for. Stall upon stall featured hanging legs – hoofs up, along with legs positioned on specialty stands where wafer thin slices are carved off on request. I am by no means a jamon expert, but it is said that when you have a good quality jamon, it simply dissolves on your tongue, leaving a salty kiss behind.
Many of these stalls had pre-made sandwiches, featuring charcuterie and cheeses, to ensure you were not faint from hunger.
Cakes and pastries
It’s always my first port of call, the bakery…
Naturally all manner of pastries and cakes are available but I have never seen a roasted pumpkin served, cake like, in slices. They are cut in half, roasted and caramelized, and there you have it. I saw this in one or two places in Spain but nowhere else…
Olives, onions, oil, oranges and a tomato or two
Whilst oranges are on all the street trees, they are apparently just about inedible. The Valencia oranges at the market, however, they were plump, juicy, sweet without being sugary, I felt that they were giving me an immediate hit of vitamins. So I ate many, many oranges. The oils from their skins wafted in the air around the stalls.
Naturally olives and olive oil were in abundance. We again were unable to cook so the oil had to stay there, but if I ever get back there, cooking facilities are a must.
Fish, Shellfish and Meat
To ensure your proteins are taken care of….shellfish, fresh fish and steak were on sale, the steak looked incredible, maybe airdried??
After the market, we felt the need for some churros, as you do
So I hope you’re inspired and thinking of something to whip up for dinner….what time do you want us there?