Checking out a fish market is one way to ensure you wake up quickly. Jerez’s Mercado Central de Abastos is almost wholly given over to fish sellers and, from the piles of wriggling gambas to the huge chunks of blood red tuna from Barbate an hour south, there is no escaping the overwhelming produce of the sea.
The market, on Calle Doña Blanca in the historic centre of Jerez, dates from 1885, and is one of the oldest food markets in the province of Cadiz.
Today the building is divided into three areas: meat, fish and fruit and vegetables.
I’ve never been known for my love of fish and seafood, and I was sprinting for the vegetable market after a scant ten minutes exploring the fish stalls. (I learnt a lot, and now I need never return to that section.)
I was more taken with the piles of local produce: the baby artichokes, wild bitter asparagus, fat pods of broad beans and striated tomatoes.
I learnt something new today: tagarnina is the Common Golden Thistle and, once stripped of its spines, is cooked and served as a poor man’s asparagus.
Down each side of the central market hall are separate aisles, with one specialising in meat, sausages, ham, and eggs.
And rabbits. Lots of rabbits. Unskinned and suspended from hooks.
After a, in some cases visceral, reminder of where our food comes from, I was quite happy to settle down in the square to eat a huge pile of churros, dipped in hot chocolate for my breakfast.
LLG is a guest of Tio Pepe Fino in Jerez