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Monday, 26 September 2016

Malaga: Atarazanas Market

We could hear the sounds of the market well before we saw the building: the ordering, shouting, the conversation and laughter. In other words, the sound of a real food culture at work, all under one roof on a site that was once a shipyard. The only remaining part of the original building is a 14th century, horseshoe archway, the rest is 19th century and the huge stained glass window, with its scenes of Malaga, came later again.

I’m more street market than supermarket so coming to a place like this is sheer, unadulterated pleasure. It’s not just the sounds and the frenetic atmosphere, but the vibrant colours, the huge variety, the smells and the gleaming freshness of it all. Not surprising, given Malaga’s climate and maritime location.

You can buy fish and shellfish, fruit and vegetables, meat, ham (jamon), chorizo, cheese, bread, nuts, herbs, dried fruits, spices, olives, olive oil and more, all located within three naves. I took a few photographs, with one stallholder even slicing a melon to add colour to my picture. We later bought some coconut milk from him to drink.

Which reminds me. If you want something to eat, you won’t get it much fresher than here. Head for the busy and local tapas bars of El Yerno or Mercado Atarazanas. We went for the latter and took our pick from prawns, anchovies, whitebait, squid, octopus and much seafood else. Some grilled, some deep-fried. A team of five worked at full throttle in the small space behind the counter. It’s mainly standing room for customers inside but there are seats outside in the sun.

Smaller in scale is Mercado Merced, a mix of producer stalls and bars/restaurants. Pop in if you’re visiting Picasso’s birthplace in Plaza de la Merced because it’s only a few steps away.

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