The modernist Mercado Central in the center of Valencia, Spain’s historic district was designed by architects from Barcelona and built in 1914. It is considered the oldest continuously operating food market in Europe. Reputedly, with 400 interior stalls, it is the largest covered food market on the continent; the market spans 8,000 square meters (over 80,000 square feet).
We headed over to the market before breakfast to arrive while there was a good selection of the fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and seafood. Before we went shopping, however, we stopped at an outdoor cafe outside the Mercado Central for a typical Spanish breakfast — churros and hot chocolate. A great start for the day!
The market is a venerable feast for the senses with its fresh, high quality products, ranging from an abundance of seafood, meats, vegetables and fruit from the farm, including Valencia’s famous eponymous oranges. There are also several coffee and pastry stalls among the numerous vendors. The market is a favorite with professional chefs, home cooks and tourists, alike.
The market is architecturally beautiful and well laid out, making shopping a pleasure. We went home with 3 reusable nylon shopping bags full of purchases — great ingredients for daily breakfasts (more healthy than churros!), and several lunches and dinners to be prepared in our kitchen on the ship.