For some time now we have been planning to go to the Matadero in Madrid. This is an old slaughterhouse which has been converted in to a culture and art center. The interesting architecture from the beginning of the 20th century is home to exhibitions, shows and many other forms of contemporary art, but not only this. Itâ€™s also home to a regular â€śMercado de Productoresâ€ť where you’ll find producers of organic food from around Madrid selling their goods. The market is held over one weekend each month.
A market on Sunday?! This may seem a strange idea, but you’ll see for yourselves that it’s in fact a pretty cool place. Madrid can really surprise you!
For the visit to the market to be really healthy and just that little bit more active, itâ€™s always best to start with a walk. As luck would have it, the Matadero is located next to Madrid RĂo, a park running along the banks of the Manzanares river, and so the task is made somewhat easier. The park itself is where many locals go to exercise and you’ll find many walkers with dogs, joggers & cyclists there. We live just outside of Madrid but public transport provides us with an easy connection (all 10-12 mins of travel! For this I really like Madrid â€“ in our much smaller home town of Poznan, getting downtown by public transport takes somewhat longer).
Upon entering the Matadero, you’re immediately greeted by the smell of food and you’ll find yourself getting hungry right away đź™‚Â All the tables (yes! Itâ€™s one of those markets where you eat) both those with chairs and those for standing were taken. Shortly after entering the market, we stopped at a stall selling organic seeds and plants, where we bought some tomato seeds. They will make their way to Poland. We’ll see what becomes of them! Right next to the seed stall, I was met by the biggest surprise of the market. It was something that I had been looking for in Poland but finally found in Madrid â€“ natural Aloe Vera! In addition to the creams and other organic Aloe Vera products, the stall owners were also selling pure Aloe Vera gel. I didn’t have to speak Spanish in order to understand the praises that they were signing about their product, as I am well aware of the fantastic properties that Aloe Vera has. It was in fact an Aloe Vera gel which rescued me from having a black eye (who said a photographer’s job was an easy one :)) as well as soothed a burnt hand. Bottle bought, Â time for lunch.
I was wondering if I’d find anything suitable for me to eat. The wonderful smells of the market struck me as soon as I entered, but I was wondering if I’d find any veggie options. Yet another surprise â€“ a stall with veggie-burgers. I really fancied some street food and whilst the burger itself wasn’t a vegetarian masterpiece, it was tasty none the less. It was great that I found something else to eat apart from patatas bravas.
The Mercado Productores is in fact a kind of streetfood festival â€“ Spanish style. Everyone’ll find something for themselves. For exampleÂ bocadillo de calamares (the famous Madrid sandwiches with squid rings), fresh seafood (to take home or to have cooked on the spot), burgers, croquetas (also a typical Spanish dish), olives, sweets, local beers, wine & vermouth. Of course, you can also buy some fresh organic fruit & vegetables as well as olive oils to take away with you. Even different varieties of tea which, whilst not a local product, where available for you to buy. It’s often difficult to find a really good cup of tea in the bars and restaurants in Madrid, especially if you take it without milk. Sometimes, when asking for a normal cup of black tea, I’m met with a surprised look. I get a â€śnormalâ€ť cup of tea (which is usually an uninviting bag of what I guess is black tea) or sometimes green tea, or even chamomile . For this reason I gave in to temptation and bought a really nice packet of leaf tea.
Getting back to the market. I can safely say that it really reflects what is a typical Spanish way of eating. There are other markets in the city â€“ shaped like market halls where you can do some shopping, have a meal of tapas and enjoy a glass of wine or beer (the most popular and elegant seems to be the Mercado San Miguel which whilst not offering much in the way of shopping, is the most frequented by tourists and probably the most expensive. Itâ€™s also worth taking a look at the Mercado San AntĂłn in Chueca) and where you often have to eat standing up at bar tables. Anyhow, food in Madrid and markets are broad subjects and there are countless blogs talking about them. At this market in particular you’ll find normal tables where you can sit down (providing that you can find room) although you’ll most probably end up squeezed in between groups of people eating at high â€śtablesâ€ť where there are no seats. Despite these minor inconveniences, I have to admit that I like this way of eating and socializing. Everyone can pick what they like from the many stalls and try various things.
Mercado La CĂˇmara Agraria de la Comunidad de Madrid
Whilst on this subject I have to mention another market â€“ the Mercado La CĂˇmara Agraria de la Comunidad de Madrid. This is held on the first Saturday of each month not far from the Casa de Campo metro station. Itâ€™s a great place to buy organic vegtables, cheese, ham & local wines. Of course, there are tastings too. Upon entering the market you should buy some vouchers which you can redeem for wine and tapas. You’ll see some photos below.