SHOPPING IN MADRID>FOOD
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traditional market is still very much a part
of the Spanish way of life. There are many
small markets distributed about the city,
so you should never find yourself too far
from one. For those interested in food culture,
or the more traditional Spanish way of life,
a visit to any of these markets is a must.
They provide a huge array of excellent quality
vegetables, fruit, meat, fish etc.
If you plan to shop in the market it's worth knowing a few of the rules to follow at the stalls. When there are more than a few people at waiting to be served, even if there doesn't appear to be a queue, the locals know exactly when its their turn. If in doubt, you should ask who was the last person to arrive (know as el último). After that, you are el último until when the next person arrives and asks. Locals can get very indignant when this order is not followed. If you plan to shop regularly in the markets, its worth choosing your stalls and sticking to them, even if the prices are a little cheaper next door. You will get better service and better quality produce from a merchant who knows you.
In 12th century many streets of Madrid used to have small markets where the neighbours could find meat, fruits and vegetables. Most of the times this markets were just a line of boxes on the pavement and the groceries sold there would not have any sanitary warranty.
Worried about the risks for the citizens, Madrid ’s Government started to build several markets that would help organize the sellers and would also improve the quality of the products.
The first three big markets built in Madrid were Mercado de la Plaza de la Cebada , Mercado de los Mostenses and Mercado de la Paz , which is the only one that hasn’t been demolished yet.
The Mercado de la Cebada (De la Cebada Market ) was very similar to Les Halles Market in Paris. It was inaugurated by the king Alfonso XII, it had 2 floors and it was mostly made of iron and glass. The original Mercado de la Cebada was demolished in 1956 and rebuilt as the Cebada Market that we can still visit today. The Mercado de los Mostenses (Mostenses Market) was built on the site of an old convent and it was almost identical to the Cebada Market but smaller.
The big Fish Market of Madrid used to be located where we can now see the Centro Comercial Puerta de Toledo (Puerta de Toledo shopping mall).
The San Miguel de los Octoes church was destroyed by fire in the 19th century. Its site was soon turned into a square where people could buy meat, fruits and vegetables. Between 1913 and 1916 the architect Alfonso Dube y Diez built in this square the famous San Miguel Market, which nowadays it’s the only one that still has the style and charm of the original markets built many years ago
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