The colourful spectacle of El Mercado Central
Gary and I do love to try new and different culinary experiences, so wandering into the Valencia’s Central Market was a sight to behold.
We have visited many food markets around Spain and France prior to this, but the building is an ornate work of art.
The market was designed in 1914 during the Modernist era by Francesc Guàrdia i Vial and Alexandre Soler, although not inaugurated until 1928 by King Alfonso XIII.
The whole market covers an area of over 8,000 square metres, of which 1,400 square metres is devoted just to fish, why wouldn’t you with the vast array of seafood you have access to in Valencia.
The market was originally arranged over 2 floors, with the basement housing a fish auction, but this has now been converted into to a car park. The 400 stalls on the ground floor tempt your senses one after the other with every turn, it’s not just the visual spectacle but the wonderful aromas particularly the herbs and spices.
Legend has it that there has been a market of some description on this site since the 14th century.
The building itself is a work of art
The interior décor has been wonderfully maintained, with Valencian fruit being depicted on the tiles and windows.
Although this structure is fairly large the light streams through the many windows.
In the centre of the Mercado there is a stunning glass & ceramic dome.
All around the entire market are ornate iron supports and frames, interspersed with stained glass windows. Some including the colours of the Spanish flag.
And then there’s the produce
The selection of produce is endless, as you can imagine Jamon (pronounced ham-on) is one of the prevalent meats on display. This dry cured Spanish staple, which is widespread through bars and restaurants around the country, is taken very seriously.
The ham is produced to varying grades, which will then determine the quality and price. The finest being ‘pata negra’ or ‘black hoof’ which is from black pigs and they eat only acorns and roam freely around the countryside. A plate of this may first seem expensive, but treat yourself, we did and we loved it and now it has become a firm favourite.
One of the things that is very noticeable throughout the market is the quality of the food.
What particularly leapt out at me was the size of the fruit and vegetables, it’s difficult to quite get the scale in the photo’s, but believe me they are all large.
Even if you don’t buy anything, strolling around the aisles is a very enjoyable experience, just soaking up the atmosphere.
Whilst taking snaps and gazing around be sure to consider the locals, who use this market on a daily basis.
And it’s not just inside the building
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