Love your local market

Every time I visit a Spanish city I always try to visit its food market or ‘mercado’ as its known here in Spain.  Every town seems to have at least one market and cities will often have two or three. You could argue that the heart of any Spanish city is its central market.

Recently I found myself in Barcelona and I was excited to visit the famous “La Boquieria”. This market has a worldwide reputation and I really enjoyed my first visit nearly 20 years ago.
I have to say that this time I found it extremely disappointing and nothing more than a sad tourist trap with every stall filled with diced fresh fruit & juices on ice for the amateur Japanese photographers to take away. It made me realise just how good our “Mercat de L’olivar” here in Palma really is and I truly believe we are blessed with one of the best markets in all of Spain.

A bustling market and a feast for the eyes, I always love wandering around L’olivar and it is where local residents and chefs come to buy their food. I enjoy the smell and admire how beautifully the vendors display their produce from hanging hams and cured sausages to the often intricately stacked vegetables. My favourite is the fish section. Everyday it is packed with fantastically fresh fish and seafood; it never ceases to inspire me no matter how many times I visit. It’s also amazing to see the level of customer service that’s provided and how local and seasonal produce is championed.

Buying from your local markets allows you to support local agriculture. This means that the food you are eating comes from nearby, and does not require us to waste lots of energy and petroleum to ship the food halfway around the world. By shopping at the local market, you will eat seasonally, fresh and ripe. This is another great way to increase your overall health but I’m also convinced that locally grown foods just simply taste better.

Visiting the local market is also a great social experience. At L’olivar there are packed Tapas bars loaded with fried fish, guy’s preparing fresh sushi amongst the fish stalls and a Champagne & oyster bar to help you with your shopping. There has never been any more reason to support your local market.

Mercat de L'Olivar was founded in 1951 and was completely renovated last in 1997. It is open Monday to Saturday.