The Mercato de San Miguel has long served as central Madrid’s one-stop “farmer’s” market. I first visited here years ago when locals dropped in for fresh ingredients for a full meal. Here one can find fresh and smelly fish, harry legs of Iberian ham, countless bottles of wine, fresh and squeaky-clean vegetables and all the extras as well.
Arriving at the Mercato de San Miguel this year I found an enhanced market with the new additions of many vendors selling tapas to eat right away. Last night we decided to have a movable feast of tapas and drinks at the market. About forty of us descended on the market at 7:00 pm and munched and drank our way through dinner in a four hour moveable feast. What a great way to experience Madrid and get right into the heartbeat of the local culture.
Vivian found what she dubbed “the most amazing sweets ever.” A warm center of caramel surrounded by puff pastry and loaded with chocolate and cream topping.
My friend Chris and I enjoyed a plate of french fries at the hotel bar before we went to the market. Once there, he did not realize I was paying for their tapas hunting! Finally, with money in hand, Chris found somethings a little better than that plate of fries.
For 2,3,or 4 euros you can get a tasty selection of OLIVES. I enjoyed olives stuffed with calamari, cheese and ham. They also had one variety that tasted smokey and herbal. The flavor was so intense I could not get enough of them!
The Jamon Iberico is great. There are several varieties ranging in price from 5 to 16 euros per kilo. The best vareity is Jamon Bellota which is thinly sliced from the leg of a black Iberian pig fed only a diet of acorns and allowed to roam freely. You have to purchase at least 500 grams (about 9 euros) which will feed 4 people.
The cheesemonger’s kiosk was a popular place. For about 6 euros I asked the vendor to assembly six selections of her favorite cheeses. I don’t know what I got, but all of them were tasty! I chose one variety on my own and boy did I make a mistake. It was a mixture of sheep and goat cheese and when I pointed to it, the vendor wrinkled her nose in disgust. I don’t know why I decided to get it anyway!
So, if you happen to find yourself in Madrid make a point to enjoy and experience the Marcato de San Miguel. It’s on Calle Major between Puerta del Sol and the Royal Palace, just around the corner from Plaza Major.