Jazmin and Blake Go to Market: A Guide to Grocery Shopping in Madrid (By Jazmin)

Dear friends,

Today Blake and I walked to the grocery store but not to buy a fat hog. We chose our lovely AirBnB precisely because it includes a small furnished kitchen, which makes for cheaper meals if you have groceries. So step one for this morning was to find some grub to stock our kitchenette. 

In Spain, one has the typical Kroger-style grocery store, but there are also panarerias (bread shops), open markets, and corner stores (think gas stations or small versions of Save-a-Lots).  I’ll just be focusing on the typical grocery store we visited. 

What to expect in said store? You’ve got your similar set up of aisles, cheese sections, and meat counters. Same drill: Get a cart, walk around, pick what you want, and then buy it at the checkout stations.  Plastic bags included, but you may have to bag your own items. 
What may surprise you? The different cart styles. This particular grocery store’s carts look like laundry baskets in wheels.  And I could not believe the plethora of meat and cheese options at such cheap prices! Blake was surprised by the non-refrigerated items like eggs as well as milk and juice in cartons (This is a Mexico thing as well. I’m not a big fan of the carton milk). 

What to avoid? In the US, Americans tend to stockpile food like guns: buy enough in case of apocalypse. Okay that is an exaggeration, but we still tend to buy enough for a week or two and to keep the pantry stocked. Here, it’s not uncommon to grocery shop every other day. That’s why there are smaller portions and packages. If you were shopping here, I’d recommend that you try not to fill up your entire laundry basket and remember that you’re going to have to walk back with all of those heavy bags as well. #paceyourself #midete

Also, I learned to be careful when picking up fruit. For some reason, when I picked up a peach, the peach fought back with a few tiny and almost invisible barbs, like splinters, that gave me grief until I retaliated with the tweezers. “Jazmin, you touch one peach…,” Blake declared emphatically. 

Our bounty. 

Blake’s favorite foods from the store so far? Mini discos. Shaped like a moon pie. Consistency of angel food cake. Chocolate in the middle. 

Jazmin’s favorite foods from the store so far? Gouda cheese slices. Creamy. Perfect for sandwiches. 

Tomorrow we will attempt to make a warm meal without burning the food, ourselves, or the apartment. We’ll keep you posted. Stoves work the same wherever, right?