- MOREKASHA Jun 19, 2008 09:44 AM
Spent about two weeks in Galicia on my honeymoon. We tried to check out as many markets as possible. Unlike France, the markets aren't chock block full of farmers selling amazing veggies 'n fruits, they're a mixed lot. Sometimes, they have lots of vendors selling clothes and household items as well. Other times, the markets are trad in outlook.
Ourense, an over looked little city with a great location for exploring the Ribera Sacra/Sil Valley. The Mercado de Abastos here is an old two story granite bldg just off the main drag. Look for the sign outside thats says something like "Productos a Campo" or products from the countryside. This is an alley that runs alongside the market. This is where you'll fing the abuelas/grandmothers selling freshly picked products from their little plots. Mainly grelos, Gallego greens, kale, or turnip tops as well as potatoes. There are also a number of vendors who sell breads, empanada, and other baked goods. We especially loved the pan a maize, the Gallego corn bread that is dense, hard crusted and ever so tasty. Soemtimes, the bead has a grainy texture to it.
Pontevedra, on the Riaxas Biaxas,has a great location for day tripping to the wine country where Albarino is from (max 1 hour North to Cambos and the Salnes Valley). The market here is just at the edge of the old quarter and was recently rebuilt. When we were there the other week, it consisted mainly of fish vendors with 2-3 butchers.
Padron, a small town known for it's Padron peppers, which every bar in Spain seems to serve. This is the site of the largest outdoor market in Galicia. Held on Sunday mornings. Coming into town from the South you'll see lot's of people waving you down for parking lots. 2 euros will save you the hassle or trying to find a free spot. This market is mainly clothes and other items but......there are 3 large tents @ the South side that are pulpo restaurants. Pulpo, it's breakfast food. Freshly cooked in large copper caldrons, dusted with the spicier pimenton and sea salt as well. Mainly of our fellow patrons were enjoying a bottle or two of the local plonk. The white was a Vino do pais, and the red was Barrantes. The Barrantes was pitch black red, and it stained the white riberio cups that were used to drink it. In fact, this was one of the few places we saw these trad cups used in Galicia.
In this market, the abuelas, also sold home made wine, home made Orujo (grappa) in 2 flavors (hierbas/green and clear) as well as the padron peppers. We also passed a stand selling copper pot stills. Boy did I want to bring one home and get to work. At the North end are a range of stalls selling great empanada, bread, biteca (Gallego desert sponge cake, more later) as well as tetilla cheese. This market is worth a visit if you are anywhere near it on a Sunday. It's sprawling, filled w/junk, and teeming w/Gallegos out to have their Sunday AM communal experience.
A Coruna, a decent size town on the Costa do Meurte/ Coast of Death. At the most, use A Coruna as a base for exploring the region, both East & West of the city. There are at least 2 markets here. We only made it to the market just off Plz Pontevedra, I have the name of it @ home. More fish vendenors, some great looking meat vendors and 1-2 bread vendors. We found a bread vendor w/excellent empanada and tasty corn bread. I'll add to this post a bit later.
This is a great post! I will be in Galicia this summer for about a week and am really look forward to exploring the markets. We will have a kitchen and hope to do a lot of shopping and cooking of local produce. Greens like kale and turnip tops are a bit diffiuclt to find in the rest of Spain so I am especially excited about visiting Galicia.
How are these greens usually prepared?
And pulpos for breakfast....I am looking forward to this trip already!
The market I mentioned in A Coruna is @ the Plaza Lugo. We liked the empanada and corn bread from Panderia Laurita on the 3rd floor. This what the French call a depot du Pan (Despacho de Pan), that is there main store is elsewhere and this is just a storefront.
The Pontevedra market has many, many more butchers than that. There are at least twenty or thirty. Maybe you were there at an off time. On a Saturday morning, the outer walls are filled with meat vendors. There are more upstairs, along with cheese.