Farm fresh produce, artesanal cheese and beer, and unlimited wine tasting at La Cámara Agraria
Madrid has a lot to offer the culinary-minded. From quesos curados to some of the world’s most delicious wines, there’s enough to keep any foodie busy for quite a while. Especially if you like your foods aged and cured, Madrid has got you covered. But where’s the fresh? Sometimes, I get the urge to go home and saute up some brussels sprouts or roast a head of broccoli and this is where reality doesn’t always live up to the hype.
I’ve found that fruits and vegetables in Madrid can be hit or miss. Some days, my local fruteria carries a healthy selection but other times, the onions have started to sprout and the cauliflower has begun to brown. I even went “undercover” to a couple markets in my area to document some of the worst offenders:
Hailing from Portland, Oregon (a self-proclaimed fresh food mecca), I’ve gotten used to being able to visit a variety of local farmers markets daily to get my fruit and veggie fix so I’ve become accustomed to produce perfection.
Luckily, the Día de Mercado at La Cámara Agraria, on the first Saturday of each month, features all the fresh produce I could want as well as meat, wine, olive oil, cheese and more, all made here in Madrid and the surrounding areas.
The star of the show, the produce, was crisp, clean and fresh. Since you’re buying directly from the farmers who grow them, the product can be less expensive as well. An impressively large head of cauliflower, for example, went for about half of what I’ve paid in my own neighborhood.
Even if you’re not a vegophile like myself, there’s still plenty to draw you in. For only 1€ at the entrance, you can purchase a wine glass (to keep – though carrying wine glasses home on the metro was a little precarious) for unlimited tastings around the market and if you fancy a bottle, the prices are very reasonable. There’s also plenty of food samples to try, though I wouldn’t recommend arriving on an empty stomach as they can be quite small.
I tasted some local olive oil from Campo Real, a producer located only 20km from Madrid, that rocked my world and went home with a bottle for only 4€ . Another of my favorite spots to stop and sample was Alambique de Santa Marta with its selection of licores artesanos. After sampling a few, including the delightfully smooth crema de orujo, I decided on a bottle of hierbas, flavored with thyme and rosemary, spending only 7€. That’s less than I’ve paid at my corner market and for inferior quality at that.
The market is open the first Saturday of every month from 10:00 to 15:00 at Pº de la Puerta del Ángel, 4 – Recinto ferial Casa de Campo (Metros: Puerta del Ángel or Lago). Free entrance or pay 1€ for unlimited wine tastings. Bring a carrito!