Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Touring like a local in Valencia's markets

And back to the focus of our trip - markets!  Valencia has one of the best markets in Spain.  Coming from La Boqueria in Barcelona, I was ready for other markets less known.  Mercat Central, or Central Mercado or Central Market, is one of the oldest running food markets in Europe.

La Boqueria is so famous and talked about consistently, but I actually prefer Valencia's market.  There are less ready to eat foods compared to La Boqueria, but there are far far less tourists and crowds.  The market is so clean and well-lit with natural sky lights.  On top of that, the vendors are incredibly friendly and so happy to explain their products and how to properly utilize them.  This is the best place to get a feel of local life and local living in Valencia.

In another part of town, L'Eixample, Mercado de Colón is a former market built in 1916.  In 2003 the space was renovated to house boutique shops and cafés, with a lower floor containing a cafetería, wine shop, deli, and spaces for events.  It is a perfect stop for an afternoon drink and snack.  The deli below also has some great ingredients to take away and cook at home, if you happen to have a kitchen where you are staying.

Mercat Central

Inside the market

Wide aisles

Well-lit and spacious

Muscatel.  Grapes from Alicante

Varieties of garbanzos, legumes, and rice

Chufa.  Tiger nuts.  The key ingredient in horchata.

Fish section

Incredibly clean for a wet market

HUGE squid

Paellas to take away

Sizes of paella pans

Even gigantic ones

Mercado de Colón

Full of cafes

Perfect for lunch or an afternoon snack

Access to the lower floor for the cafetería, deli, wine shops, and events centers

Burgers ready to grill

Breaded food ready to fry

The bluest of blue cheese

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