Supermercados and smaller shops, the
tiendas are ubiquitous, but the market is still the
nicest and the best place to really appreciate the flavour
of Spanish food. Bustling housewives, straw baskets in hand,
throng the counters heaped with glittering Fisch, looking
for the day's best buy. Above the butchers' stalls hang freshly
killed rabbits, chickens and partridge. There are wire baskets
heaped with fresh country eggs and bowls of paprika-flavoured
lard to spread on bread. Great slabs of beef share space with
miniscule baby lamb chops.
The changing cornucopia of fruit and vegetable
stalls is a cooks' inspiration. Ropes of garlic bulbs, branches
of bay-leaves, strands of dusky dried chillies, vats of seasoned
olives and string bags of nuts and dried fruits form a backdrop
for the array of glistening fresh produce. The variety of
fruits and vegetables available is astounding. Many markets
also have stalls where spices and herbs are sold. From these
treasure chests the vendor scoops bits of pepper, cloves,
cinnamon, allspice, aniseed, cumin and saffron, and herbs
from the mountains, both culinary and medicinal.
Click on the items in the menu (pun intended)
to the right for more information and bilingual shopping lists.