Monday, June 11, 2012
It’s been an incredibly busy week, and next week will be even more so. Looking at my calendar from last year, I realize I was pretty busy last year too at this time, traveling to Spain, France and London. But if a year ago I was busy reporting for magazines , this year my summer work schedule has become more focused on leading culinary tours right here in Rome. It’s great fun, and I love walking around the city, (except for the bit when a bucket of paint fell on me from scaffolding last week. Yes, really happened) I really do enjoy sharing delicious experiences with truly engaged visitors, but.....it’s left me precious little time to write.
So, folks, this week on the blog will be a bit of catching up. And by catching up I mean looking back over my last year of trips and meals. I realized that there were quite a few experiences that I never managed to post about. Great photos and delicious food, yet I never hit the 'publish' button.
We visited Madrid last fall. Emma spent the last year in Madrid, during her gap year, and oddly I’d never been there before. Other parts of Spain, many times over, but Madrid somehow remained an unknown. I reported on some of the delicious things we did here and here .
But I just realized that I never pushed ‘publish’ on our trip to the Mercado de San Miguel. I’d kept hearing about it and couldn’t wait to go. I don’t know why, but I thought it was going to be a madrileno version of the Boqueria market in Barcelona. It couldn’t have been more different.
The small turn of the century structure has been completely transformed from any semblance to a ‘real’ market. Yes, there are stands full of rare mushrooms, exotic fruits and glistening fish. But it’s pretty much all for show. A wonderful, mouthwatering food hall that could have easily found itself in London or New York.
So, no. It’s not ‘authentic’. But yes, it is worth a trip. It really is perfectly planned out, a ingenious example of the reuse of existing urban structure put to (at least in my opinion) good use. Yes, it’s a tourist destination, but if you’re getting tourists to eat local delicacies things like cod liver, wild mushrooms and cheese stuffed olives then that’s a good thing in my books.
Since Emma was leading us around, she knew the drill. Have a look around the food booths, especially the the ones selling prepared foods. Grab one of the few sought after tables and chairs in the center, and then have one of your group head back to pick up a plate of something scrumptious.
You can pretty much go any direction your stomach desires. And ours went down all paths. We shared a plate of sheep’s milk cheeses from one stand, all things cod from another, and finally several plates full of freshly shucked oysters. With a glass or two of sherry of course.
As we left, completely stuffed, I did manage to do some actual shopping. A bag of beans, a few cans of cod liver, and I was good to go.
Mercado de San Miguel
Plaza de San Miquel,