Thursday, July 8, 2010

Gone Shoppin'

At the risk of being one of Those Bloggers (you know, the ones who post every six months, and each time apologizes for the lapse in posting)...yeah. In my own defense, I've been busy: I've done a lot of traveling (Honolulu to San Francisco to Virginia to Spain), working (including a photo shoot for the book), and, yes, eating.

While in Spain, I've gone heavy on the market visits, from la Boqueria in Barcelona (Europe's oldest operating market) to the Mercadona supermarket to Alicante's also-old open-air market.

There's la Boqueria, from front and side...


...and here are some displays of stuff in there. I loved the rustic "chicken coop" feel of this egg vendor.

The fish displays have been amazing. So abundant, and also with useful signage (the bottom one tells you where the fish is from and how it was caught).

Oh, and PS, you can buy bulls that met their death in the bullring at this particular vendor. Which, of course, I did!

I've picked up some other pretty cool stuff, too...

Sobrassada, aka my New True Love. Despite holding its shape in this display, sobrassada is spreadable. It's like salami you can slather onto toast! It's from Mallorca (or, like this one, neighboring Menorca), which turns out to be the source of many delectable treats. Who knew?

The most beautiful salted anchovies ever! I used them in my Fourth of July deviled eggs and they were divine.

Gazpacho in a carton! It's convenient AND delicious, and comes in several varieties. Here I have the normal tomatoey version as well as the white kind that's made with almonds, bread, and garlic. Even though they're flash pasteurized, they taste just as fresh as "raw," homemade gazpacho.

Contraband! By that I mean Cuban rum, which gives me a zesty "rule breaking" feeling every time I drink it. There are also a lot of bitter sodas, which taste a lot like Campari. Several are made by the Coca-Cola company. (Which begs the question: If they can sell them here, why not in the States?)

Tonka beans? I found these next to the tonic at the fancy liquor store, and so I assumed they were some sort of natural quinine source. Wrong! Wikipedia tells me that it's something else altogether - the beans are used to infuse a vanilla/almond/hay flavor (I can see that...) into desserts and perfumes. I haven't tried using them yet - it might wait till I get back - but I can see them steeping into a little vodka with other aromatics.

And I nearly forgot to mention Marcona almonds, amazing and abundant. I buy these from one of several fruit/nut (fruitas secas) sellers at the market. In a moment of lust for these oil-roasted, salt-sprinkled beauties, I asked for a whole kilo last time. That's 2.2 pounds, friends! It's a lot, but I don't foresee a problem getting rid of them all.

Finally, a more mundane grocery item...
Bagged ice. It's really big.