Let me start off by saying, I’ve always loved going to the grocery store. It’s always fun to just look around and think of dishes you can make.
By my apartment, there are two small grocery stores. They are great if you need to pick up a loaf of bread, some more yogurt or even some olive oil, but if you need to do some serious shopping, it’s not where you want to go.
After work on Monday, Lucia and I met to go to her favorite supermarket. It’s four metro stations away. I brought this green cart that sits outside on our terrace with to carry groceries. Let me say, at first i thought I looked kinda silly, but after doing a good amount of shopping, there was no way I would have been able to carry all that through the metro without a problem.
So we ended up winding through some little tiny streets until we were at Mercadona. The grocery store. That’s the other thing about Spain; to find all the good places, you have to go up and down EVERY little street.
The store is actually in the basement. So you go down a flight of step and there you are. You know how the grocery stores in America always are crowded an hour or so before dinner? Same thing in Spain. By the time we got there, it was about 6.45PM. So it was the rush before dinner. Remember that in Spain dinner is around 9ish.
And let me say, it was seriously crowded. There are little lockers at the front of the store where you can lock up the carts. In the supermarkets in the US, your options are a cart or a basket. It was pretty much the same. Cart or basket. Instead of the short handles though there’s a long handle so it rolls on the floor behind you. It’s kinda funny watching all these people trying to navigate each other with their little baskets trailing behind them.
A spanish grocery store really isn’t that different from an american grocery store. Except it is. There are a lot of the same things, but it’s all REAL FOOD. Yeah sure, there is a cookie aisle, but that’s because a lot people eat cookies for breakfast. And they aren’t chocolate chip cookies. It’s more like a sweet cracker than anything else.
But you want fresh bread? They have it. About 15 different types. That doesn’t include the regular loaves of bread that are on the shelf. Meat? They have it. What kind do you want? There’s always a guy slicing ham straight off the bone, but holy moly, it is expensive. There is no deli counter. At least at the market that I was at. But there’s every kind of meat, every kind of cheese already ready to go.
You like seafood? Oh, you are in for a treat. There were four different kinds of shrimp. Some were the size of my hand. There were about seven or eight different kinds of fish. There was octopus and squid and clams and mussels. People here love their fish. And there are people behind the counter taking orders and preparing the fish however you like. Cutting off heads, cutting fins, taking off the scales, filleting. Seriously. What ever you want. It was kind of amazing.
And when you go to get your fruits and veggies, be careful. At another supermarket, you aren’t even allowed to touch them! There’s an attendant whose job it is to pick your fruits and veggies. At Mercadona, you just have to wear a glove when you grab your things. Not too terrible. In fact, it seems like a pretty good idea. I always wash my stuff before I eat it but you never know who touched that apple before you!
And don’t even think about looking for the frozen dinner section. Doesn’t exist. In any supermarket. The only frozen dinner is the one you make and put in the freezer yourself.
Surprisingly, going to the grocery store was surprisingly cheap. It cost me 22 Euros and change for what I bought. And I bought a good amount of stuff.
We put everything in the green cart and we were on our way!
I’d say I was pretty sucessful for my first real trip to the supermarket!