Museums of Ham, Houses of Salt Cod, and Markets Galore in Madrid

Madrid! An amazing city of eating where the magical jamon receives the love and attention and hero worship it truly deserves.  Witness my favorite sight throughout Madrid: THE MUSEUM OF HAM.

The Museo del Jamon: a carefully curated aesthetic and historical homage to jamon and the role it has played throughout the course of human events…

Kidding.  Sadly it’s not actually a museum, but it does seem almost like a house of worship for Madrileños.

I passed by four crowded Museos del Jamon during my two days in Madrid, but of course that’s only one of many places to buy this gloriously rich, salty meatiness. You can buy it at the jamoneria at the outdoor market I happily stumbled upon, along with numerous other enticing meat products…

…so beautiful that I required a close-up.

Also to be found nearby were beautiful cheeses…

anchovies and sardines and other jarred fish…

some beautiful crusty loaves, and the most enormous chocolate covered donuts I’ve ever seen in my life.

I considered how much of a donut I could fit in my mouth in one bite, but decided instead to purchase sardines, anchovies, local olive oil, bread and chocolate to spirit back to London.  Before my flight though, I also made a pilgrimage to the gorgeous Mercado de San Miguel, a wrought iron turn-of-the-century building housing one of the oldest covered markets in the city.  

It’s a mecca for the food-obsessed and if you’re in Madrid I insist you go.  And bring me back lots of delicious stuff.

The glass-walled rectangular building consists of a grid of several rows crossed by a few avenues, each featuring a small stall at which you can purchase produce or fresh pasta or a whole fish to take home or a glass of sangria to drink or a few bites of tapas for a Euro or two each. Obviously, there is jamon

as well as enormous shrimp to be eaten with tortilla de patata and a glass of cerveza

and all types, shapes, and sizes of bread…

and rich, glossy, viscous bottles of port in which I’d like to luxuriously bathe…

and carefully crafted concoctions of olive and cheese and peppers and fish…

and mini shops of lavishly illustrated cookbooks and pretty kitchen related items that I covet…

and lest you get too exhausted or overwhelmed by all the edible options, there is a cafeteria at which you can stand around and drink from a massive bar selection and contemplate what to eat next.

And of course, there’s pulpo! You never know when you might care to purchase several small octopi for dinner.

Of course, only because I was about to get on a plane, I decided to forgo the pulpo in favor of more easily consumable seafood.  A city with museums of ham must also have houses of salted cod, so I hit up La Casa del Bacalao.

On left, Bacalao marinado con aceite virgen y eneldo (marinated in virgin olive oil and dill) and Bacalao con Caviar de Lumpo.

I had to rush off to the airport soon after, so I didn’t get to do lots of things on my list. The foremost example – eating churros con chocolate at the famous Chocolateria San Gines.

I walked by, walked in, and then…I’m almost too embarrased to say it…I was too full of jamon to eat any churros. Absolutely shameful. I’d also like to eat in this pretty restaurant…

atop the fantastic Herzog & de Meuron-designed CaixaForum, which is also a must visit if you’re in Madrid.  It’s an amazing art museum, but it’s true that I like anything involving enormous vertical gardens and an upside-down elefante.

My next trip to Madrid, I’ll make time to sit outside in the sunshine and eat on the Plaza Mayor…

where of course I can eat my fill from a well-located Museo del Jamon. Talk all you want about Madrid’s justly celebrated museums, but all you really need is a gallery of jamon

Mercado de San Miguel
Plaza de San Miguel, just west of Plaza Mayor. Just find the Plaza Mayor and go from there. Do not believe what Google Maps tells you. It is probably trying to keep all the tastiness to itself.
34 91 542 4939

Chocolatería San Ginés
Pasadizo de San Ginés, 11
91 365 65 46

CaixaForum
Paseo del Prado, 36
91 330 73 00

Museo del Jamon
Practically everywhere in the city, thank the gods of ham.

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5 thoughts on “Museums of Ham, Houses of Salt Cod, and Markets Galore in Madrid

  1. Jonny says:

    Mmmmmm reminds me how much I like Spain!

  2. irene says:

    Hammu! (Have you seen Ponyo?)

  3. Those olives look stunning……..Oh Madrid, how I love thee

  4. olivia says:

    VERTICAL GARDEN AMAZINGNESS!!!!!!

  5. annie says:

    UPSIDE-DOWN ELEFANTE AMAZINGNESS!!!!!!

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