Born and raised in Jakarta (Indonesia), my experiences of food market visits were usually unpleasant. They were dirty and stink. My experience taught me the food market was the most unpleasant place to shop. Central market in Valencia, however, was in contrary to my childhood experience: the market was inside a beautiful building, clean and well organized. The building was built in between year 1915 and 1928 with “art nouveau” design. It was designed by Francesco Guardia, very impressive design and it showed somewhat of modernity of the era. The mixture of stunning design, history and the local market activities would make the Central Market as a perfect symbol as the heart of Valencia. As a visitor, you would feel the heartbeat of the city inside.
Famously called as Mercado Central de Valencia or Mercat Central de València in Spanish, the market is located in the old part of the city, across to UNESCO World Heritage building, La Lonja and a beautiful church, Santo Juanes. Reaching this market required a long walk from the metro-subway stop. And, it was busy on Saturday, which made it a lively market. Nice!
I believe there were more than two hundreds stalls inside the market hall. They were divided into several sections like dry food, meat, seafood, fruits-vegetables and few more. Dutchie did the shopping, and I was photographing the market’s activities and its architecture – it was a perfect place for us and no one was complaining that I took too much time in taking pictures.
Of course, we didn’t forget that Spain is the number one country that produces olive oil, and the world’s best olive oils came from Spain. Trying Spanish olive oil (and buying some bottles) was a mission. We did olive oil testing at one of the stalls. The best one had the highest price. It was so delicious but certainly not cheap stuff.
Jamón was obviously popular product. Almost in every corner there were stalls that sell the worldwide famous Spanish ham products: Jamon Ibérico (also known as pata negra) and Jamon Serrano. The price of one kilogram of good quality Jamón Ibérico started from 80 Euro. Not sure about the serrano, but the good quality one could have similar price.
I tried the local drink called Horchata (local name: Orxata). It was made from ground almond – the taste was like almond milk with too much sugar. As the weather is getting too warm, a glass of cold Horchata is a perfect refreshing drink. But please be warned, it is only for those who love sweet beverages.
I found providing a beautiful and well maintained building for the small scale business was charming and thoughtful policy. Maybe because I believe the economic backbone of every nation lays on its micro and small scale economy. This is the economy that usually help people to survive when the state economy collapsed. Providing them with a place like the Mercado Central meant valuing them as part of the state economy. Additionally it gives Valencia a characteristic.
Plaza Ciudad de Brujas, Old city of Valencia.
Monday to Saturday from 07:30 to 14:30
Colon (soon there will be a metro-subway station next to the market)
La Lonja de la Seda and Santo Juanes Church