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Delightful Discoveries Made At A Spanish Grocery Store

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spanish grocery store
spanish grocery store
Delightful Discoveries Made At A Spanish Grocery Store. Photo via Ashim D’Silva/Unsplash.

By Erin Christine

After living, teaching and traveling around the south of Spain for nine months, I have grown to love and appreciate the simplicity and freshness of a trip to the market, or family-run “frutería.” After initially struggling searching in larger supermarkets for the items that I thought I couldn’t give up, or trudging over a mile home with four heavy plastic grocery bags hanging off my arms for the third time, I decided to adopt the Spanish market style of food shopping and stick to buying only what I needed for the next couple days.

This is when I discovered the beauty of carrying a light reusable bag to and from a locally owned shop that was on my home anyways. These light bags soon became heavy with fresh produce from farms within a thirty mile radius of Seville where I was living. Not to sound dramatic, but it was a life changing experience, and one I easily assimilated to.

Articles always talk about delicious paella and tasty tapas hopping, but what they don’t mention is southern Spain’s local fruterías. Feeling better about the quality of my food and the ease of transporting and cooking are just a few of the perks I discovered. During my frequent trips to the fruterías, I stumbled upon some special Spanish produce highlights that don’t get the attention they deserve, including:

Here's what I discovered exploring #Spain's delicious fruterias. #Yum! Share on X
spanish grocery store
Fresh local almonds are delicious and rich in Vitamin E, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Yum! Photo via Juan José Valencia Antía/Unsplash.

Fresh Local Almonds

The best almonds I have ever tasted. The kind with the skins removed, where you can actually taste the nutrients entering your body as you eat each one. These became a staple on my list every time I visited my favorite frutería in La Puebla de Cazalla during breaks between teaching classes.

The Oranges

If you take a train ride, car ride, bus ride or flight through, in or over Andalusia, chances are you will see orange trees; many many orange trees. And the oranges are just damn delicious. Period.

The Olives 

I will repeat again: if you take a train ride, car ride, bus ride or flight through, in or over Andalusia, you are going to see olive groves; many, many olive groves. And the olives are just damn delicious. In the fruterías you can find jars of olives specially prepared within the local community using different marinades and flavorings. I never got too fancy with branching out to different flavors because the traditional green — cured, and marinated in a simple vinegar and oil — were too good to pass up to try something new.

Tip: The #olives in #Spain are so good they're worth the trip in themselves. Here's why. Share on X

The Dates

These can be found behind the counter at some, but not all fruterías. There are the fat (gordo) dates and the smaller ones. The sweetness and juiciness of these miracles of nature should not be overlooked as one of Spain’s delicacies. Thought to be a food for royalty, I made an exception for myself. A trick I learned as a delicious dessert from my Spanish friend is to take out the pit and replace it with a nut — like an almond or walnut — for the perfect sweet with a nutty crunch.

spanish grocery store
Farm fresh eggs pack lots of healthy flavor. Photo via Joseph Gonzalez/Unsplash.

Farm Fresh Eggs

These can be found frequently next to the register in large cartons. As a single person cooking for herself, being able to ask for a small plastic bag of four eggs for the week became very convenient. One of my favorite aspects of the eggs found in the fruterías is how natural they are; brown out of the fridge and covered in little chicken feathers showing they had not yet been washed.

Extra Green Swiss Chard

I have never seen greener or bigger swiss chard in my life. The flavor after being washed, chopped and sautéed in a little coconut oil or butter and salt was incredibly simple and delicious.

Melons, Galore!

I loved going into the little Spanish grocery store and blindly choosing an array of different types of melon for the week. It was like having a healthy buffet with dizzying variety constantly within reach. And a little recommendation: in Andalusian spring you can savor one of my favorite Spanish tapas, fresh melon gowned in the ever-so-famous jamón. To die for.

Exploring #culture through #food was my favorite way to experience #Spain! Share on X
spanish grocery store
Fresh berries lead to equally fresh dishes. Photo via Epicurrence/Unsplash.

Crates Of Perfect Strawberries

Once spring hits in La Puebla de Cazalla strawberries are everywhere. A surprising fact is that Spain actually grows many of the berries you see in the grocery stores in the United States, keeping very few for themselves. Strawberries seem to be the exception. Crates upon crates of the most plump red strawberries you can imagine sat outside of the Spanish grocery store calling my name as I walked by. A dessert eaten by many of the Spanish friends is sliced berries tossed in homemade whipped cream; the perfect, sweet end to a Spanish meal.

The freshness and quality I tasted through the produce from various fruterías in La Puebla de Cazalla and other areas in the south of Spain easily became one of the many alluring pulls Andalusia had over me.

Have you visited a Spanish grocery store and made a simple yet delicious discovery?

Erin Christine

Erin Christine is a traveling teacher documenting her experiences in writing to share cultural experiences through short stories, narratives and poetry. In her poem "An Ode To Andalusia" she highlights the natural beauty of the Spanish countryside she experienced while living in the small Spanish town of Marchena. Being surrounded by olive trees with endless paths to discover and an inability to sit still, she found herself discovering views of Spain that felt so unique and rich in culture each time she went out. These views became a sort of refuge and source of reassurance that she was exactly where she needed to be in the world.

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