Valencia market

While we were in Valencia we stayed in an apartment just 50 metres from the mercat central, the main market hall for the city. It was a fantastic place to wander around and to buy food.

Some of the stalls where I couldn’t resist buying included this wonderful one selling olives and pickled vegetables.

Notice the almagro aubergines just right of centre above? There’ll be more about these at the end of this post.  There were huge sacks of paprika from Murcia:

beautiful tomatoes (we saved some seeds from this variety so we hope to grow them next year)

There were snails – I didn’t buy any of these.

and herbs

and a few cured hams:

A lot of pumpkins, raw and already roasted – more about these in a later post.

We bought a lot of ready made charcuterie, olives and pickled vegetables to take back to our apartment for supper (on the nights when we weren’t going out to some of the many tapas bars nearby), but I only actually cooked one dish while we were there and that was with almagro aubergines. I’d seen them at the pickled vegetable stall but then a few minutes later saw a stall holder arranging fresh ones from a sack to display on her stall. I just had to buy some – they looked so beautiful.

I invented a dish based on what I’d seen on the stall and a quick internet search, leaving the aubergines with their stalks as they are here, cutting a slit in the ‘fat’ end and putting half a clove of garlic and a piece of red pepper into it. I then laid them all on a bed of sliced tomato in an oven-proof dish, added salt and pepper and poured a lot of olive oil over them. I put them in a slow oven for about an hour and a half while we went out for drinks in a nearby bar. I had Agua de Valencia, a mix of fresh orange juice, Cava and vodka – tasty and quite potent!

When we came back the aubergines were cooked and they were ready to eat.  The ones we didn’t eat straight away tasted even better cold the next day.

18 thoughts on “Valencia market

  1. That’s a beautiful market – I’d buy the snails and hang around the hams for half an hour (weird i know, but there’s something nice about the smell of Jamón Serrano).
    Your aubergine dish looks delicious, not to mention, very attractive 😉

  2. Fantastic market – talk about “Compare the Mercats”! The produce looked wonderful and I would love some of those tomatoes. We seem to have ended our tomato season earlier this year. Normally the road side stalls have boxes of tomates de champs for about 5€ for 5kgs, but this year – nothing. Very good aubergine dish:)

  3. What a market! The structure itself is remarkable, like something you’d see in a movie. And from what you’ve shown us, the selection is varied and bountiful. What a credit to that community to build and maintain such a great market!

  4. Thanks for the market tour! My husband and I always make a bee-line to local markets when we travel, it’s always so interesting to see what is available. I will have to try your aubergine dish, I’ve got them stacking up in the kitchen right now and loads of sweet peppers too.

  5. I think those ceiling rafters are the prettiest I’ve ever seen. Great idea for those aubergines, too. You amaze me–even cooking while on holiday. I can’t seem to do it even when I’m at home. Sigh. But with appreciation.

  6. Wow, Valencia market has gone straight onto my “must visit” list. What a beautiful building. And whatever the building is like, I always enjoy Spanish markets — although some of the produce is the same, they are somehow quite different from French ones. Especially the preserved food stalls.

    Yes, I could hang around a jamón stall breathing in the scent too 🙂 I’m not a great meat or charcuterie eater, but jamón is a food group of its own.

    The aubergine recipe looks really wonderful too.

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