A journey across some of the most delicious markets
At no time in the past were markets more popular in Spain than now. Maybe it is because of the freshness and superior quality of its products, or because some of those markets have redefined themselves as gourmet or touristic spots. Whatever the case, these temples of gastronomy are a must-visit during our Spanish itinerary.
Going to the market in Spain is not just worthwhile for a “foodie” because some of those spaces are equal to cathedrals or museums in architectonic interest.
Our delicious route takes off Northwest of the country, in the beautiful Galicia, a region whose gastronomic charms -with fresh local seafood and excellent meats from animals raised in the meadow- would already merit a visit. But if we add to those charms a tour of Santiago de Compostela’s Local Market the whole becomes an irresistible experience.
Did you know that, in terms of visits, the Local Market is only second to Santiago’s Cathedral? This is even more of a feat considering that the whole of the city brims with Heritage Sites.
But, on the other hand, it is perfectly understandable for people to be attracted to this place, dating back to the XIXth century and having been built upon the ruins of its predecessor “The City Market”. It must as well be stressed that the market is run by the food-sellers themselves in a cooperative fashion so that its purpose and dutiful service to the city be preserved.
The market contains not only the traditional food produce (with specialties such as seafood, fish, fresh and dried cattle meat, fowl, bread, cheese, eggs, vegetables…) but also several places under the same roof where it is possible to taste then and there a varied selection of local delicacies.
We recommend you choose your favourite among the superb seafood choices and have it cook inside the very market. You will never taste fresher seafood!
Along the shores of Bilbao’s estuary the fantastic Ribera Market is found in all its 10,000 m² of glory devoted to gastronomy. The Ribera Market was recognized in the 90s by the Guinness World Records as the biggest roofed market in Europe and as the most complete market worldwide in terms of the variety of its offer. A diafanous work of art, the building’s eclectic Art Decó style combines glass-walls with manifold decoration, lattices and marigold-windows. Moreover, its location figures prominently in the city’s landscape given that it is only five walking minutes away from Bilbao’s old town, next to the meandering Nervión river, the San Antón Church and the Bilboko Euskal Museum.
The wedding of Hannibal and Himilce is certainly one of the most startling events of the festivities. With the peerless Port of Cartagena as a background the betrothal between the Carthaginian general Hannibal and the Iberian princess Himilce is reenacted. With this strategic maneuver the young Hannibal Barca obtained the trust of the Iberian people.
During the 90 years this historical milestone has stood up it has undergone many a refurbishing resulting, however, in an evolution that kept the market’s essence intact. Everyday, scores of tourists and locals alike enjoy the Ribera Market thanks to the prestigious chefs of the surrounding restaurants, the produce therein and the attractiveness of the spot itself for those wanting to get a quick, albeit accurate, picture of how Bilbao, its people and daily life really are.
This is, undoubtedly, a marvelous place to enjoy the best of the farm-food and the sea-food of Bilbao, to admire the glass-works beautifully commanding the atmosphere or to discover the history of a place whose evolution goes hand in hand with the whole city’s
Our market route has a mandatory stop in a city chief among those of the Túria region: València. Valencian citizens do not content with just one beautiful market and thus there are two who are worth paying a visit: the Colón Market and the Central Market.
First one for us will be the Colón Market, which can without a doubt be considered one of the comeliest countrywide. Planned at the start of the XXth century, its interior harbours many marvels, yet none is so distinct as its exterior façade designed in the Modernist style and heavily influenced by the master architects Gaudí and Lluis Domènech: here forged iron and bricks are uniquely combined, as are the colorful pottery and glass sprinkled all throughout. So pretty this exterior is that it has received recognition as a national “Cultural Interest".
With the passing of time this market has become a touristic attraction, yet three original stands remain for locals to keep enjoying regional produce: a premium charcuterie, a fish-shop and a fruit-shop. Next to these we can find a varied offer of alehouses, restaurants, a gourmet-market, several places to enjoy ‘horchata’ (the traditional Valencian drink) and even art exhibitions, pottery, live music...
The market, all in all, is an apt option to discover some of the best Mediterranean produce while marveling at the sunray-bathed Modernist gem where it is contained.
Of course, there is always the Central Market for us to enjoy too, considered by a sizeable portion of the international media as one of the most beautiful and spectacular markets worldwide. This Art Nouveau building contains, unlike the Colón Market, an ample variety of fresh produce stands, from fruits and greens picked out of the Valencian orchard to fish, seafood, salted appetizers...
This building is likewise to be known and enjoyed from the outside: adorned with beautiful mosaics and glass-windows its glass-domed roof with steel beams even manages to outdo the rest
Due to the brevity of the route we must forgo many markets which can be visited in addition while accompanied by one of our expert foodie guides: more traditional, and equally attractive, are markets the likes of The Central Market in Zaragoza (classed as both “Historical National Monument” and “Of Cultural Interest”) or the Market of Zamora. Other, more touristic, spots such as Madrid’s San Miguel Market of Barcelona’s La Boqueria shall not evade our mention either.
Maybe we should cover them in future entries… See you soon! But, meanwhile, bon appétit!
Let us complement your itinerary with a fantastic visit to some of these places so that you enjoy their architecture, gastronomy and local thriving life. An unmissable 3 on 1!