Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New and Old Organic Discoveries at the Mercado Central

I love that I can discover new wonderful places even after ten months of living some place. Yesterday I went down one of the many aisles at the Mercado Central and discovered SuperGourmet where lovely Ana showed me the many local products they carry as well as the organic (ecologico) selections. SuperGourmet actually has three stalls in the Mercado Central de Valencia (Central Market) - one for cheese and cured meats, one with fresh baked goods including breads, pastries and olive sandwich rolls, and the third with a very full selection of foods and wines from Spain as well as gourmet products from other countries.

SuperGourmet offers a number of organic products including LA Organic olives oils from Cordoba, Spain (not Los Angeles), local, organic Valencian Orxata de Xufa (horchata de chufa in Castilian- see below), Cueva wine from Utiel-Requena, plus a myriad of other local products - rice from the Valencia region, salt from Andalucia, seaweeds from Galicia, pates, jams and honey. At SuperGourmet you can taste much of what they offer and they sell sample sizes of a number of products which make great gifts.They can also prepare platters, picnics and cater for parties, or you can buy the supplies yourself for a fantastic picnic.

A note about Orxata de Xufa for visitors to Valencia - it is a very popular beverage in Valencia having been introduced by the Arabs hundreds of years ago. You will find it sold on street corners and most cafes. The botanical name for the xufa (or chufa) is Cyperus esculentus, an edible tuber used to make a "milk"- horchata. The organic brands simply contain paste of the chufa and organic sugar. Other varieties can have additional ingredients. The prepared versions can be a little heavy on the sugar for my liking but you can buy the dried chufa and make your own milk and sweeten it to taste. You can find bags of the chufas with instructions at SuperGourmet .

A few aisles down in the market you will find a favorite organic stall, La Morhada, run by wonderful Lucia. Here you will find all manner of organic products and a bouquet of produce. Favorites here include the sheep and goat cheese from Los Corrales, as well as the divine organic fruits and vegetables.

The Mercado Central, a beautiful indoor market, is open from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm Monday to Saturday although sometimes individual stalls have slightly different hours.


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