Anna Ziuzina – Top Food Markets in Spain

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Some of the best places to have a sample of Spain’s incredible supply of fresh produce are the country’s food markets. Spain’s markets are a good place to explore. Whether you want to buy fresh ingredients for a party or try ready-made dishes, this are the places to visit.

Here are the country’s best food markets:

Mercado San Miguel, Madrid
This is Madrid’s most famous market. It is located right at the center of the city. The market was built in 1916 but was renovated and reopened as a gourmet food market in 2009. The place offers the best freshly prepared foods to try like the classic jamon Iberico, juicy olives and vermouth, the locals favorite alcoholic drink.

Mercado Anton Martin, Madrid
The market is located in the Lavapies district of Madrid. The place is a combination of traditional food stalls. Here you can find local family-run restaurants, Japanese and vegetarian stalls. The place offers cheap prices which makes it a great place to pick up Spanish food and ingredients like olives, cheeses, chorizo and jamon.

Mercado de Abastos, Santiago de Compostela
This is the second most famous tourist destination in the area after the cathedral. This is the place to visit if you want to explore the city’s incredible supply of seafood. From prawns, scallops and lobsters, a wide variety of fish, this place has it all.

Mercado de la Ribera, Bilbao
Mercado de la Ribera is the largest indoor market in Europe. It’s art décor inspired by the 1930’s, makes it a beautiful place to visit. The market offers Basque meat, cheese and fishes. You can also visit the La Ribera Bilbao restaurant to try the market’s local produce.

Mercat Central, Valencia
This is Valencia’s main market and is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city. The place is worth visiting because of its marvelous architecture. The market sits in the middle of the city’s Ciutat Vella. The place is made of glass, iron and ceramic domes inspired by 20th Century Valencian architecture. It was opened to the public in 1928 and today caters almost 1200 stalls which makes it Europe’s biggest markets.

Mercado Victoria, Cordoba
This covered gourmet food market is located in the former place of the Cordoba Fair. It was recently renovated and now has 30 stalls selling the freshest produce and prepared food from Spain and around the world. Octopuses, oysters, salmon and tapas dishes are commonly found here. The market is a popular hangout for locals and tourists who want to have a taste of Mexican, Argentinian and Japanese specialties.

Visit Anna Ziuzina official website for the lists of top markets offering delicious Spanish dishes. Find out more about the food critic Anna Ziuzina on her official Twitter page here and read Anna Ziuzina news here.

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The Most Awesome Food Festivals in Spain

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There is no other country that celebrates food as awesome as Spain. Here, the obsession with food goes far beyond restaurant tables and bars. From harvest celebrations, food fights and parades, Spain is the place to be.

Saffron Rose Festival
The celebration takes place every last weekend of October at the small village of Consuegra, Toledo. The fields in Consuegra are the world’s largest saffron fields. When the saffron flower blooms, the entire village rushes to the fields to harvest their treasure. The harvested stigmas of saffron are very expensive when it comes to the market. After the harvest, the village celebrates. The Saffron Rose Festival, also known as Fiesta de la Rosa del Azafran, is a tribute to Machego tradition. The festival features street dancing, parades and local food stalls.

Erizada: Sea Urchin Day
This party is the start of the biggest carnival party of Spain. On a quite weekend of January, the Sea Urchin Day serves as the kick-off party for the Cadiz Festival. During the festival, fishermen crack open kilos of black, spiny sea urchins. They are served raw and free to tourists and locals in Cadiz’s La Vina neighborhood. By the end of the festival, almost 700 kilos of sea urchin are eaten.

Haro Wine Fight
The Batalla del Vino takes place in Haro, a wine making village in La Rioja. The wine making town turns to a battlefield every year on June 28 and 29 in the celebration of St. Peter’s day. Wine gun fights, sprays and buckets are used in this wild wine battle. Using purple wine, the gatherers soak each other as much as possible to win the contest. The festivities start on the night of the 28th as the entire village of Haro takes over the whole town. The celebrations last all night long until 7am in the morning. The attendants of the festival trek up a 5-kilometer hill to the sight of the wine battle. When a truck load of wine arrives, the wine battle begins.

Tomatina Tomato Fight
This festival is perhaps the most well-known food fight in the world. Tomatina takes place in a village 40-kilometers from Valencia, the town of Bunol. On the last Wednesday of August, almost 40,000 locals and tourists gather to the streets of the village to throw 100 tons of tomatoes at each other. The giant tomato fight lights up the lonely streets to a bright red city in the celebration of the town’s patron saint, St. Luis Beltran. Due to its uprising fame, the festival now requires you to buy a ticket in able to participate.

Like to indulge more in festivals and food fights? Visit Anna Ziuzina page for more information. Find out more about the best spanish food and restaurants on the Anna Ziuzina Twitter page and read Anna Ziuzina latest news here.

Anna Ziuzina – Basic Cooking Skills

Knife skills are the most basic skills anyone should have. Cutting your own vegetables, rather than buying them pre-cut, makes a dramatic difference in the texture, flavor and price of a dish. Mastering basic cutting technique shrinks prep time and makes cooking easier and more enjoyable. Many cooking schools offer classes in basic knife skills, but excellent online videos also are available.

Sear

Searing is the act of quickly browning meat over high heat using a pan, broiler or grill. Certain small steps — heating the pan properly, patting the meat dry before putting it in the pan — help ensure success.

Sauté

Sautéing is searing’s more delicate cousin. Used to soften and brown vegetables and meats to be eaten on their own or as a base for soups, stews or other dishes, sautéing involves quickly cooking ingredients in a small amount of fat. The process requires high heat and a pan large enough to avoid crowding the ingredients. Learn to sauté properly in a class or with an online video. And expect to make mistakes.

Blanch & Shock

The best way to preserve the color and the nutrients of vegetables is to boil them briefly in water (blanch), then cool them quickly with a dunk in an ice bath (shock). This technique also helps firm the flesh of a fruit while loosening the skin, which makes peeling (peaches or tomatoes, for example) easier. And it works for herbs, too: Blanch and shock basil before making a pesto for a sauce that stays bright green (not brown!) even after it’s been tossed with hot pasta or stored for several days.

Emulsify

Emulsifying is the process of combining liquids that generally resist being mixed together, such as oil and vinegar. It is used to make basic items such as salad dressing, pesto and hummus.

Temperature

Chefs test the doneness of meat by comparing its firmness to different parts of their palms. You can skip that exercise, Collin Davison says, and invest in a reliable shortcut: the digital thermometer. For a better and more accurate temperature reading, getting a high-quality thermometer and downloading a temperature chart from the Internet is a must.

Visit Anna Ziuzina official website for the lists of top markets offering delicious Spanish dishes. Find out more about the food critic Anna Ziuzina on her official Twitter page here and read Anna Ziuzina news here.