Madrid enjoys a long tradition of sophisticated flavors, selective products and internationally renowned wines. With such a rich culinary heritage it could only but have great open markets with tapas bars, vegetables, fruits, seafood, meat and everything else that the human mind could imagine; leaving you no choice but to indulge in the wide variety of Spanish culinary surprises and tastes.
One such food market is Mercado de San Miguel. With a history stretching back more than 100 years (it was founded in 1916), the Mercado de San Miguel can be considered one of the best examples of architecture with glass and iron. In 2000, it was declared a Property of Cultural Interest (Bien de Interés Cultural) and after a thorough recent restoration, it can easily be considered one of the most exciting “gastronomic” temples in a city that spoils you for choice.
It is located in the center of Madrid, next to Plaza Mayor.
B. Dishes you should try on your visit to Madrid
1. Tapas is not a specific type of food. Anything can be considered tapas (paella, croquettes, small sandwich). As long as it is small (like a tiny bite-sized sin).
2. Bocadillo de Calamares (= small fried squid sandwich perfectly accompanied by a cerceza / small beer).
3. Churros con Chocolate (=τραγανά τηγανητά sticks προορισμένα για να γίνονται ένα με παχύρευστη, απολαυστική σοκολάτα!)
4. Pincho de Tortilla (= it has nothing to do with a classic tortilla that you may have tried. Pincho de Tortilla is a Spanish omelette – although it does not look like a typical omelette at all!)
5. Alioli ((= is a sauce / mayonnaise with garlic and oil, ideally suited for dipping potatoes and calamari)
6. Gazpacho (= cold soup that you MUST try.) I adore soups in general, but this soup is unbeatable. With basic ingredients such as tomatos, cucumber, garlic, onion and olive oil it is one of those dishes one must try to cook at home.
Note: What was particularly interesting was to watch the Spaniards drinking the soup from a cup (as a beverage) and without a spoon! Do it like them!
7. Jamón Ibérico. Madrid loves these high end cold cuts, especially the jamón! You will see them hanging all over the city in bars in markets, in restaurants and in special jamonerias, not to mention the skill involved in cutting it into very thin slices.
Not trying jamón in Spain is like being in Paris and not visiting the Eiffel Tower …
Note: Whichever jamón you buy, you will see a written description of both the pig’s diets and of the location where it was raised.
8. Patatas Bravas (= thick cut french fries with spicy red sauce, this is what we call spicy Spanish sin).
9. Paella (= Paella is a traditional Spanish dish based on rice with vegetables and chicken, seafood or duck. My favorite one, paella with seafood!)
10.Tinto de verano (= This is definitely the drink you need to try in Spain, and the drink that I completely fell in love with. It is considered the “red wine” of the summer, it is frozen (simpler than Sangria) and it based on red wine and lemon-lime soda)
Travelling means to try, to let go, to taste, to experiment, to integrate with the local culture. Travelling means to succumb to your imagination, to try new flavors, to discover this wonderful world.
And indeed it is worthwhile to immerse yourself in all these new things that each culture, each nation, each civilisation can narrate to you. This is the greatest wealth in life. And as soon as you set foot on Spanish land, let passion lead you…