travel bite: a visual odyssey of food in Madrid

IT’S a wonder that I even managed to fit onto the plane home following a recent trip to Madrid. And after what you’re about to see you’ll understand why.

Having spent 48 hours of my business trip in Madrid eating poor excuses for local cuisine at ‘authentic’ venues or hotel buffets (whilst at the same time discussing in depth the ins and outs of regional Spanish cuisine with my Spanish companions) I felt myself starting to panic at the thought of not getting a chance to sample all of the delicacies that I knew were out there.

So you can imagine my delight – and surprise – when the penultimate day of my trip turned out to be one continuous  glorious food journey. From food markets and bakeries, to canapes at lunch and a mammoth amount of tapas at dinner, it was one whole day of extreme indulgence. And it was all washed down with delicious wines, cocktails and champagne. (Don’t worry, the luxury of the situation wasn’t lost on me; it was a very rare and much appreciated treat.)

But instead of rambling on for pages about this flavour or that texture, I’ve chosen to present a photo essay of the variety of food stuffs that passed the threshold of my lips that day.

This visual odyssey of my 24hr food fest in Madrid begins with the Mercado San Miguel, destination of choice when seeking out breakfast after a long night of drinking…

freshly squeezed orange juice : 3 euros

cured fish counter

bacalao : dried and salted cod

pickled cod : 1 euro

piquillo peppers piled high, accompanied by freshly made tortillas

mountains of olives

giant green olive stuffed with anchovy and red pepper : 1 euro / black olives with mozarella and sun-dried tomatoes : 2 euros

salmorejo #1 : thick and silky smooth cold tomato soup whose base ingredients are tomatoes, bread and olive oil

salads such as goats cheese and walnut encased in puffed up breads, surrounded by a variety of tapas

blood sausage on mini flatbreads topped with goats cheese and a sprinkling of sesame seeds : 2 euros

on the seafood counter: percebe (goose barnacles)

This was followed by a quick stop off at a bakery found near to the Plaza de Oriente.

enchanting bakery with a very friendly non-English speaking owner...

...who gave me these tasty crisp rosemary and seeded flatbreads for free!

And then off to lunch: an amazing spread of tapas ‘canape-style’ at the Hilton Madrid. Not pictured are the wedges of manchego cheese with walnuts and grapes, the fine slithers of Serrano ham, and superbly succulent chargrilled pork and beef steaks.

tapas spread for lunch at the Hilton

warm bread selection at the Hilton : the salty flat bread discs were the winner here

not-at-all-rubbery octopus on olive oil infused potato with paprika

lightly battered roasted red pepper pockets containing delicate fish in a tomato sauce

salmorejo #2 : this time with pipettes containing olive oil to dispense into the soup as your tasebuds desire

close up of said pipettes

Finally, following a tour of the Puerta America’s thirteen floors, a cocktail at one of its bars, and a quick nap in my room (8th floor: Katherine Findlay) it was off to dinner at the hotel’s Lagrimas Negras restaurant. If only I’d known earlier in the day that we were about to be subject to over 20 different items of food…

Here’s the list of what we sampled:

Vegetable crisps with salsa

Green olives stuffed with anchovies

Parmesan Crisps

Black olive breadsticks

Serrano Ham

Toasted flat bread with a fresh tomato spread

Smoked fish mousse

Foie gras with lentils and vinaigrette dressing

Rye crackers with tapenade and anchovies

Razor clams on a bed of sesame seaweed

Oysters

Crab in a rich tomato sauce topped with potato puree

Salmorejo (#3) with king prawn

Octopus in a tomato and potato sauce

Ham and cheese croquettes

Battered cod with a red pepper puree

Baby scallops on a bed of fresh vegetables

Grilled pork with a sweet and sour coriander sauce

Blood sausage casserole

Petit fours

Mango puree shot topped with cream

(Below are only a few images of the dishes as to post it all would be just too obscene.)

parmesan crisps and anchovy stuffed olives

cube of foie gras on lentils and vegetables with a vinaigrette dressing

smoked fish mousse

rye crackers topped with tapenade and anchovies

oysters

baby scallops on a bed of vegetables : it pains me to say it, but these were overcooked. a very great shame

blood sausage casserole : possibly one of my favourite dishes of the night with its wonderfully rich texture and peppery spice

after dinner petit fours : a slight disappointment to what was an exhaustingly good meal

and then this was brought out - mango puree with a creamy top : poor photo but brilliant taste

This never-ending stream of dishes was polished off with champagne at the Puerta America’s Skynight Bar, and eventually the evening concluded with me sliding into bed feeling very full and content. If only I hadn’t had to drag myself out of the bed at 5am the next morning to catch a flight…

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