Monday, 9 May 2016

Cadiz Central Market - a seafood heaven

Local markets are a foodie traveller's heaven. Bursting with life, colours, sounds, tastes, and smells they are an experience that will charm every sense in your body. 

Mercado Central de Abastos de Cádiz is city's famous central market and my, what a place it is. One of my favourite places in the whole of Cadiz. 

City's location on the coast of Atlantic Ocean guarantees a mind boggling array of fresh fish and seafood that will leave any seafood lover speechless. And cursing the fact they, too, don't live here.

Built in 1838 the market has gone through series of renovations, all of which have been completed cherishing the original look, supported by impressive stone pillars.

Most recent renovation was in 2012 and as a result the market is divided into three parts: the covered fish market inside, the specialty shops hiding under the pylons and Rincón Gastronómico; a courtyard full of little restaurants.

Sure, there is an extensive selection of fresh fruit and veg, too...

...though alarmingly quickly I find I've settled on a daily diet of Iberico pork and octopus, completely void of either of those. Though... wine qualifies as fruit, right? And if you look really carefully, I think you'll find a couple of decorative slices of tomatos in at least two of the food photos on the blog's social media feeds...?

Even prices are reasonable and especially Saturday mornings are really, really busy as the locals (along with those shopping trolleys...) are doing their shop. No-one's in a rush anywhere; the familiar vendors always have time to catch up with their customers.

Though there are treats for every need, its incredible fish market is really the star attraction that pulls the people in.  At latest it becomes evident as yet another busload of tourists charges in after having been dropped off for a day by yet another one of the cruise ships and they start going crazy with their iPads, camcorders and mobile cameras. 

It won't take long before the vendors lose their patience with the camera army that's taken over their stalls and start motioning them off. My nerves have taken a blow too (ooh, so this is what it's like to travel with me...?)...

... but before I bow out I shoot some video footage from the market to share with you on the blog's Twitter feed.!)

I'm in heaven. For about 400th time that day I find myself thinking why I don't just live here. Anything rational (I don't have a job, I don't speak the language, I have no networks, no friends, nowhere to stay...) won't stand a chance as I stare adoringly a langoustine the size of my forearm. 

Local tuna is wildly popular and is currently having first one of its two annual seasons. In May blue fin tuna passes here on its way from Strait of Gibraltar to the Mediterranean and for 3 000 years now its long awaited arrival and traditional fishing method of Almadraba have been celebrated in the form of various festivals. 

In May tuna is considered the be at its best and even Japanese star chefs are queuing up to snatch the best of Cadiz's catch.

Another local specialty in season right now is caracoles. these tiny snails. More (not terribly appetizing, I'll admit...) footage of this on Twitter feed, too...!

I can guarantee you'll be starving after a tour here. Luckily, the help is near. The courtyard offers everything from sushi to Mexican street food and everything in between. 

Take my word for it - you won't get seafood fresher than this anywhere in Cadiz...!

Much like rest of Andalusia, the most popular way of preparing their fish and seafood is frita, coating them in flour and deep-frying it. 

When seafood is this divinely fresh I prefer it a la plancha, quickly tossed on the grill. But hey - if you can't find anything that takes your fancy at the courtyard, just head inside to the market, grab your favourite kind of seafood to go and take it to one of the restaurants around the market (such as Taberna la Bollita) where, for a small fee,  they will turn it into your lunch, cooked just the way you like it. 

(Seriously, I have to live somewhere anyway - surely it could just as well be here...?)

What do you think? Shall we all head over to Cadiz and start a new life in a commune? Who's in?






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