Food markets are my happy place. They are that temporary little nucleus from which a city’s food culture radiates. Producers beam over their 6 varieties of tomatoes, chefs gush about their “pasture-raised, totally natural” beef patties and coffee vendors moonlight as ambassadors of South American peace.
At the outdoor food markets in Madrid, it’s nearly impossible to separate the story from the product. The passion for food is intoxicating and I can’t help but giddily imbibe.
I am apparently not the only food lover in Madrid that’s hooked on the market day drug. As the weather got hot, Madrid’s outdoor food markets came out of the woodwork. Every weekend a new farmer’s market or tapas challenge or street food festival debuts on the city’s gastronomy grid. From food trucks to farm trucks, is there a better place to spend a Saturday than beneath the sun at one of the outdoor food markets in Madrid? Here are my favorites.
Madrid jumped on the food truck bandwagon so fast I nearly got whiplash. Credit for this street food revolution lies squarely with the MadrEAT food truck fair. What began last Fall as a baker’s dozen of food trucks circling a university garden has exploded into a sprawling conglomeration of gourmet finger food, stellar (if not overcrowded) picnic space and copious amounts of triangle fair flags.
The 63 food trucks that now make up MadrEAT represent some of the best chefs in the city, including two with an ever-prestigious Michelin star. While every dish is created to be eaten on-the-go, the lack of a table does not mean a lack of elaboration. Some of my favorites are Casa Ernesto’s grilled artichokes with serrano ham, Chifa’s chicken and huitlacoche empanadas and La Cesta/Meating’s rib sandwich.
When: usually the third weekend of each month
Where: the AZCA commercial park next to the Moda Shopping complex. Paseo de la Castellana, 89
Mercado de Productores
If passion were a place, it would be Madrid’s Mercado de Productores. Behind simple tables laden with artisanal cheese or organic vegetables or homemade jams or specialty olives are the proud faces of the men and women who produced them.
These are the people that inspire me. There is the olive curer who readily explained the spice profile of his favorite olives. And the winemaker who eagerly urged me to have an open mind when tasting his unique sobremadre wines.
The Madrid Producers’ Market sprawls through the open courtyard of Madrid’s former slaughterhouses. The storied history of this century-old brick complex provides a grand background for the local food market. Every product sold here was made within the autonomous community of Madrid.
With a craft beer in one hand and a reusable grocery bag in the other, I sample my way across this Madrid market. It’s both a perfect place for an afternoon of eating and an excellent market in Madrid for stocking up on local products!
When: last weekend of each month
Where: Matadero courtyard. Paseo de la Chopera, 14
Camara Agraria Market Day
Madrid’s largest farmers market meets a local wine tasting. Don’t mind if I do! The first Saturday of every month, beneath the trees of the Casa del Campo park, local artisans and winemakers bring their bounty for all to taste. Seeing as this outdoor food market is in the middle of a park, many people treat it as a picnic supply center.
There are local Madrid cheeses, thick empanadas, fresh pueblo-style bread, cured meats and fish, a couple different local craft beers and some of the most heavenly mini chocolate-dipped croissants this side of the Alps. Scattered among the plethora of food stalls are a dozen or so local bodegas. Buy a wine glass and tasting tickets at the entrance and you can wine taste your way across the market!
When: first Saturday of each month
Where: the Camara Agraria building in Casa del Campo park. Plaza de la Puerta del Ángel, 4
Have a favorite food market in Madrid that I didn’t mention?? Let me know in the comments… I’d love to try it out!