Once upon a time, there was a girl. She moved to Spain. She loved it. She loved the walking, the language, and most of the food. But she would not eat seafood. Para nada. She went back to her home after some time, did a whole bunch of stuff irrelevant to this blog post, then she became a cook. Mostly out of embarrasment professionalism, she began to eat seafood. And some of it she liked, and certainly all of it she appreciated.
After nearly two years of cooking, she noticed that in the grocery stores near her house, there was absolutely no seafood anywhere near the quality of that of her restaurant.
Then she went back to Spain.
With her new eyes, she walked into the hípermercado and pretty much FELL OUT.
Crabs! Prawns! Barnacles! Cuttlefish! Mackerel! Baby octopus! Pollack! Clams! Eels! Sole! And the kicker here, people, is every single one of these looked like they were fished out of el mar that very day. And note. We were at the Carrefour, i.e. supermarket. NOT some artisanal stall or some boat deck. So there might even be BETTER fish out there somewhere!!
Then of course, the multitudes of jamón and chorizo (most of which are nothing like a)the crumbly Mexican stuff or b) the one kind of hard dried chorizo you can get in the US.
The best, in my and others' opinion, is the chorizo pamplona. Chorizo Pamplona is bright red, with both pork and beef, pimentón (Spanish paprika), garlic and fat (one of the most fatty chorizos around. yum).
Figs as big as my fist.
There is an outdoor market every morning on the edge of the Casco Viejo here in Donosti, overflowing with produce from vendors' fincas (little farms), flowers, eggs, cheese, jams, beans and more.
I was so pumped to see fresh herbs!
They're a bit hard to find here, so I bought a pot of thyme and a pot of HOT PEPPERS (another rarity). They now have a comfy home on our windowsill.
Slender leeks, huge heads of light green cabbage, giant mushrooms as big as my outstretched hand, bags of beans, melons, squash, small green peppers, big green peppers, big red peppers....
it's pretty much heaven.