Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mercado de San Miguel - Madrid, Spain

On my second day in Madrid, I stopped by the Mercado de San Miguel on my way to the Royal Palace. It's literally right next to the Plaza Mayor. It's a historic, turn-of-the century, wrought iron covered market that's gotten a recent facelift. It's been beautifully restored in cast-iron and glass and when you walk in, you feel as though you are in an open air market. During the summer, instead of air-conditioning, they spray you with a light mist every so often, just like the do with the lettuce at the supermarkets. hahaha. It's a nice place to look around, pick up some groceries or grab a mid-day snack. I hear it's quite popular at night as well.
Inside, you will find 33 booths selling fresh fruit and vegetables, cured meats, seafood, bread, pastries and a host of other prepared foods, including tapas. Here's one vendor with his wall of ham.
The most expensive ham is called jamon iberico, which is a type of cured ham produced only in Spain and comes from a black Iberian pig. There are several levels of jamon ibericos, the most desirable being the jamon iberico de bellota, which is ham from black Iberian pigs that are allowed to roam the oak forests along the border or Spain and Portugal and feed on its acorns. While other hams are cured for twelve months, the jamon ibericos are cured for up to 36 months. I don't know if this is a jamon iberico, because I can't see it's black foot, but this is how they typically slice the thin slivers of ham for you.
If I had only known I can mail prepackaged pieces of ham and cured sausages back to the states, darn! Rick Steves left out this critical piece of information in his guidebook.
Here's a huge iced seafood platter with some shrimp and some other crustacean that looks like a cross between a shrimp, lobster and a crab. Someone please enlighten me.
A variety of grains and beans for sale and freshly made pasta. Looking back now, I don't think I've ever seen pasta on the menu in Spain, so I was beginning to think Spanish people don't eat pasta, but I guess they do.

These mini donuts looked mighty tasty too.

Some different types of tapas. The Spanish really like baby squid and anchovies.

Although you can eat your tapas at the bar or counter at each stall, the mercado has a central area with tables and stools for you to pick up different goodies from the various stalls and enjoy them together.

There's a couple wine bars and an oyster and champagne bar called Daniel Sorlut that had French oysters.

Across from Daniel Sorlut's was a cheese stall offering artisan cheeses from Spain, Italy and France. I don't even know what I ate, but they were all really good. Especially that moldy looking one, yum!

No comments:

Post a Comment