Thursday, February 3, 2011

Where to buy typical Spanish food products in Madrid

Spain is a food lovers paradise and here you will find excellent hams; serrano, ibérico and bellota, with bellota having the highest quality. You will also find other types of meat products here such as lomo (fine cured pork), chorizo (spicy sausage), salamis, and morcilla (black pudding). The country also produces much of the world's olive oil; look out for brands such as Coosur, Hojiblanca and Carbonell. Castilla La Mancha, the region to the south of Madrid, produces very fine cheese known as manchego made from goats milk. It has a firm texture and comes in various levels of maturity. You will certainly find it in any café or restaurant in the city if you wish to try it.

Typical Spanish food products

There are many delicatessen shops around the city where you will find these products as well as many other specialities. The newly renovated San Miguel Food Market, an old wrought iron building just off Calle Mayor, should not be missed by anyone wants to discover the delicacies of Spain. Here you will find food from all over Spain and it's all excellent quality. You can hop between the stalls and buy a delicious tapa for around 1-2€, so it's also a good place for a cheap lunch. If you facy something a little less touristy and more local, try the Mercado de Maravillas, which is located in a typical Madrid suburb. This is where many madrileños come to shop and you will find great produce at lower prices. Its at Bravo Murillo 122,  a couple of kilometres from the centre, although easily accesible from Cuatro Caminos or Alvarado metros. If you want to try some of the traditional shops in Madrid (although a little touristy and overpriced), the delicatessen Lhardy (Carrera de San Jerónimo, near Sol), is Madrid institution and has been going since 1839. You could also try Fiambres La Madrileña (Arenal 18, near Sol and Opera) or Casa González Quesos y Fiambres (Leon 12 in Huertas). If you don't plan on buying anything, we recommend checking out the shopfront. The Museo del Jamón cafés sell ham products and there are many in the main tourist areas. They are quite dated and rather seedy, but it's quite a curiosity for tourists to see all the legs of ham hanging up. The gourmet section of El Corte Inglés is another place to try, although it does not have quite the same charm.

For cakes and other patisserie items, we recommend Mallorca on Calle Mayor on the corner with Sol. This is a very well known establishment in Madrid and has been going for many decades. Casa Mira (Carrera de San Jeronimo 30, near Sol) supplies cakes to the Royal Household and is famous for its nougats and festive sweets. Caramelos Paco (Toledo 55, La Latina) with its fantastic window display, and La Violeta (Plaza de la Canalejas 6, near Sol) are two very famous sweet shops in Madrid and both retain their traditional charm. La Violeta sells sugared almonds, chocolates and glazed fruits typical of the Madrid region.

Spain produces many high quality wines and is one of the world's biggest producers. The main wine producing regions are La Rioja, Rias Baixas and Ribera del Duero for reds and Penedès for whites. Tempranillo, Albariño and Garnacha are popular grape varieties although there are several hundred in Spain. The Catalonia region produces a wine made in the same way as champagne known as cava. It is much cheaper than champagne and many prefer the taste. Of course Spain is famous for its sherry (jerez), which is a fortified wine and is much sweeter than other wines. It comes from the region around Jerez and is popular with desserts.

In terms of what to look for, Crianza wines are the youngest and reservas are the most aged. As you can imagine, prices vary greatly, with vinos de mesa or table wines being the cheapest and denominación de origen calificada the most expensive. A good compromise in price and quality would be a vino de tierra. Some wines to look for include Torre Muga, Tres Picos, Viña Godeval, and Petalos. The Wine Doctor website has an excellent guide to Spanish wines if you wish to find out more.

To buy wines, Madrid Is User Friendly highly recommends La Vinia (Ortega y Gasset 16, Salamanca district). It is one of Spain's top wine merchants and you can also order their products online.


  1. I think you have misled somewhat with your comment on Sherry. There is a large range and some are very dry, to be taken with your "aperitivo" (e.g. Tio Pepe)There are intermediates through to "PX" (Pedro Ximenez)which has been described as "liquid Christmas Pudding". There is a similar wine from Cordoba porvince called "Moriles", very similar to a dry sherry. Just as good, but much cheaper.

  2. Thanx for that comment- Moriles is a delicious "sherry" wine...