Sunday, 3 February 2013

Mercado Central, Valencia

The Mercado Central claims to be Europe's biggest active indoor market, with almost 900 stalls of jamón iberico, fresh fish, fruit, baked goods and sweets. It's a great place to people watch and to be very jealous of the size of the vegetables (damn that Mediterranean sun). 

Una horchatería
 I had my first taste (that I actually remember) of horchata, the regional drink, a milky kind of drink made from chufas (tiger nuts), lemon, sugar and cinnamon. It's not the best thing I've ever tasted, so a small cup was quite enough for me. However I've clearly moved on from hating it 10 years ago in Barcelona, and it was nice and refreshing to sip it as I moved round the market after my hour-odd walk into town.
 I took this picture while I was waiting to buy pan de abuela (I got bored and wandered off). If it's what it looks like, it's just a cross-section of baked pumpkin, served by the slice. 
 For those of us who don't eat meat, even chicken thighs can look like cut up bits of animal. In Spain there are literally cut up bits of animal. I like the idea of not wasting anything but really, who wants a nose on their plate?
Strange cabbages
I managed to get myself two swordfish steaks after establishing that no, it wasn't tuna, and having a rare 'I'll eat whatever that is' moment. Doesn't happen a lot for pescatarians.

I also managed to cross fideuá off my list of '5 things to try in Valencia' (yeah, I literally have this list). It's basically paella, but with pasta. Mine had mussel and prawn (singular) and octopus in it. I definitely prefer paella but this was a novel alternative and I only had one moment where I could definitely feel the outline of suction cups in my mouth. Maybe I'm more barbarian than I thought.

Mercado Central is open 8.00-14.30 Mon-Sat. Saturday is the best and busiest day to go.
Plaza del Mercado; 

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