I had a great time in November! First was the excitement of Diwali and then was a road trip through Spain with my children. The fact that my son, Karn, is in Barcelona for 3 months was the incentive which spurred us to do a road trip through this beautiful country. My daughter Ria was also able to get leave to join us from New York. We began our adventure in the grand city of Madrid. This vibrant city with its friendly people, historic sites, beautiful parks and great restaurants was the best place to start our travels.
From tasty tapas to superb seafood and traditional roasts, Spanish food is all about making the most of the best local produce. One of the first things I noticed here was that locals are quite casual about their dining hours. Lunch was served late and dinner even later.
The quality of their meats and seafood and freshness of their breads make for some amazing food. The Spanish are obsessed with Jamón. Jamón is a dry cured meat specific to Spain and is served in very thin slices, with an amazing texture to it. It should be somewhat glistening, but not oily or greasy. There are 2 types of Jamón – Jamón serrano (ham from the sierra or mountains) and Jamón ibérico (ham from the Black Iberian Pig).
One of the best snacks that can be found all over Madrid is the Jamón bocadillo, which is a small crusty bread roll cut lengthways, filled with a few slices of Jamón. This can be enjoyed with Sangria which is very freely available everywhere.
A trend in Madrid has been to revamp old market sites as new, fashionable eateries. The food on offer at these places is of high quality, there’s lots of variety, and it’s surprisingly affordable. Mercat de San Miguel which was built in 1915 is a must visit for foodies. It was quite close to where we were staying and we decided to walk there for lunch. There were a number of stalls selling a variety of local produce, as well as dishes to be eaten at the market itself. The food was fresh and ready to eat.
It’s one of those places where you can spend as little or as much as you want to, but either way you’ll be guaranteed to have eaten some of the best food that Spain has to offer. Fish, meat, Jamón, cheese, fruit, vegetables, bread, coffee, cakes etc – it’s all here.