WARNING: Malaga’s Atarazanas market will EXPLODE your sensory perception

 Fruit and veg in Atarazanas market, Malaga

I’m a HUGE fan of food markets.  They are something I seek out, wherever I am in the world – from Barcelona’s Boqueria and Melbourne’s Queen Victoria to local street-markets in Cambodia and Thailand, I’ve visited them all.  So, a trip around Malaga’s Mercado Central de Atarazanas is always a pleasure, every time I’m in Malaga city, as well as featuring high on the list of places to take visitors to.

The Moorish arched entrance blends seamlessly with 19th century industrial design and the huge, colourful stained-glass window, to create not only a beautiful back drop but also to tell the history of the origins of this bustling market-place.

Stained glass window of Atarazanas market, Malaga

Set near the heart of the city, Atarazanas has undergone many transformations since it was originally built in the 14th century as a shipyard, when the waves of the Mediterranean Sea lapped at its entrance.  Over the years, changes have seen the building used as a convent, military arsenal, hospital and medical school before finally being demolished in 1868 and re-built using the current iron structure, as the city food market, in 1879.  Further renovation took place from 2008 to 2010, when Málaga’s Atarazanas market was once again restored to its former glory.

Wild mushrooms for sale in Atarazanas market, Malaga

You might not expect to be given a warning when you visit a city food market, but as you walk through the main entrance, which is the only remaining marble archway of what was once a seven-arched shipyard, I can guarantee your senses will explode!

Taste, sight, smell, hearing and touch – the clean interior of Mercado Central de Atarazanas has it all, from pig’s ears to pink Himalayan salt!

The market is structured into three navesfish, meat and fruit and vegetables, and with more than 250 stalls there is surely something to tickle your tastebuds.

Fresh fish for sale in Atarazanas market

As you wander around, take in the dazzling displays of freshly-caught fish with their scarlet gills and scales glistening under the spotlights.   Marvel at the kaleidoscope of colours in the artistically displayed fresh fruit and vegetables that smell like they’ve been picked only that morning.  And savour the counters of aromatic cheeses, spices, bread, olives, dried fruits, nuts, sausages and hams, where the stall-holders are usually happy to let you taste before you buy.

Fresh seafood for sale in Atarazanas market

A cacophony of sound fills the market, as the competing stall-holders call out to prospective customers and in turn are interrogated by discerning shoppers, eager to discover where the produce is from and how it should be prepared.

I love to watch the locals, who are not only trying to buy the freshest seasonal produce but also socializing with their neighbours as they block the aisles with their roller-trollies, discussing the latest gossip.

Shopping is a much more personal experience in Atarazanas market and, with so many stalls to choose from, cheaper than most supermarkets, too.

Tapas of skewered tuna and prawns

If you have time and are ready for some lunch after feasting your senses on all the wonderful produce, then make your way to one of the tapas bars at either end of the market, El Yerno or Cafe-Bar Atarazanas – they are both equally good.  Stand near to the bar and you will soon be noticed by one of the staff who will make a space for you.  It’s standing room only and always crowded, but well worth it to taste the freshly-cooked, mouth-watering pinchos de gambas, atun o cerdo (skewered prawns, tuna or seasoned pork), boquerones al limón (deep-fried whitebait with lemon) or frito de verduras (tempura-battered vegetables), which you can wash down with a caña (small beer) or vino tinto (red wine).

Tapas of freshly cooked mushrooms

Whether you are a foodie visiting Málaga or a local living nearby,  you won’t want to miss a visit to this authentic food market.

Where is YOUR favourite food market?


Mercado Central de Atarazanas
Calle Atarazanas 10

Open: Monday to Saturday, 8am – 2pm.



CBBH Photo Challenge: FOOD

We all need it.   Most of us love it –  some maybe a little too much!  But, whatever your relationship with it, FOOD is the subject of this month’s CBBH Photo Challenge.

Is there a food typical of your country or area where you live?  How about your favourite recipe or something you once ate that you would never try again?

Well, show me with a photograph!

Tapas of tuna and prawns in Malaga

Most people know that Spain is well known for it’s tapas – the tasty treats offered along with your drink.   I enjoyed these delicious prawns and tuna in the Atarazanas market on a trip to Málaga city, recently.  There are two tapas bars, one at either end of the market, both offering ultra-fresh ingredients, cooked to perfection, from the market.

Brujas - Ruta de la Tapa, Torre del Mar

During May, I’ve been following the tapas route around Torre del Mar.  One of my favourites has been this vegetable stack with a cranberry jus.  Yummy!

Figs stuffed with goat cheese wrapped in bacon

Talking of yummy, how about this dish made with fresh figs plucked straight from the tree, stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped with smoked bacon?

Chop the chocolate fudge into squares and ENJOY!

And, to finish, a piece of my easy, chocolate fudge that will make you drool, which you might remember I took on a recent trip with friends when we rode on Mr Henderson’s Railway!

So, now it’s YOUR turn.

Don’t forget that the CBBH Photo Challenge is a little different from some other challenges, in two ways. First, it’s only once a month – giving you lots of time to consider your entry before the end of the calendar month. Second, and most important, this is a BLOG HOP (after all, it is the CBBH – Conejo Blanco Blog Hop, conejo blanco means white rabbit in Spanish), so DON’T FORGET that in your post you need to add links to two blogs that you have visited and commented on during the past month.

That way, when we visit each other, we can HOP OVER to your links, connect with others and share a little blog love around!

CBBH Blog Hop

Before I move on to my two featured bloggers for this month, I want to offer my CONGRATULATIONS to Maggie Woodward who’s blog The Trepidatious Traveller I featured in May.  Maggie was about to commence walking the Camino Portuguese from Lisbon, Portugal to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.  I can report that during the month of May, she has walked a total distance of 669.9 km, completing her Camino walk on May 28th, and is now safely back home in Spain, only a few kilometres away from me.  I know that a few of you have been following Maggie’s progress as I’ve seen your comments on her blog posts.  VERY WELL DONE, MAGGIE – you are an inspirational woman!

 My Featured Blog Links for this month:

*** Christine of Dadirridreaming, lives near to the sea in Australia, surrounded by bushland and beautiful wild beaches.  Kangaroos and wallabies graze all around her house and red bellied black snakes hunt the frogs in the dams nearby.  Christine takes time to explore the spiritual side of life, which is reflected in her lovely blog posts, all of which have stunning photographs.  She is currently exploring my part of the world, and has visited Ronda, Seville and Córdoba, amongst many other places.  We will be meeting up in Málaga city on Thursday June 5th.  Can’t wait!

*** Another blogger I always enjoy visiting is Kathryn at Vastly Curious.  Her recent post in the WordPress Photo challenge had me amazed!  She showed a photograph of the buds of a plant that looked like liquorice twists and wanted to identify it.  It was only when I looked at Kathryn’s later photos of the flower fully opened that I realised that I have one!!  She has also been travelling recently to The Netherlands, from where you can see her wonderful photos.

Please HOP over and say HELLO to both of my featured links, and tell them Marianne sent you!

So that´s the CBBH Photo Challenge for June, folks.

Remember, all you have to do is post your entry by the end of the month, tag your entry ‘CBBH Photo Challenge’, link back to this blog and, most importantly, don´t forget to add links to any two blogs that you´ve commented on during the past month, so that we can all HOP OVER and have a look.

Make sure you follow this blog so you don´t miss next month’s exciting challenge!

For more information on how the CBBH Photo Challenge works click here.

I hope everyone taking part enjoys the exposure the CBBH Photo Challenge offers to featured blogs and, who knows, you may end up finding a new favourite!

I´m looking forward to seeing your interpretations.


[CBBH logo Image credit: (cc) Mostly Dans]

CBBH Photo Challenge: STREET ART

Street art in Malaga, Spain

In November, I featured some of the fabulous urban street art in the Soho district of Málaga – which proved to be a very popular post!

Since then, more murals have been commissioned by the city, including these two on the facade of the Colegio García Lorca.  The one the left is by British street artist D*Face whilst the other, (Peace and Liberty) comes from American contemporary street artist,  Shepard Fairey (aka OBEY).

There’s great street art in many cities around the world, so please share some with us in this month’s CBBH Photo Challenge: STREET ART.

Don’t forget that the CBBH Photo Challenge is a little different from some other challenges, in two ways.  First, it’s only once a month – giving you lots of time to consider your entry before the end of the calendar month.  Second, and most important, this is a BLOG HOP (after all, it is the CBBH – Conejo Blanco Blog Hop, meaning white rabbit in Spanish), so DON’T FORGET that in your post you need to add links to two blogs that you have visited and commented on during the past month.  That way, when we visit each other, we can HOP OVER to your links, connect with others and share a little blog love around!

Conejo Blanco BLOG HOP Photo Challenge

My Featured Blog Links for this month:

Casa Az provides an online scrapbook of daily events in the life the Queen of Tapas!  Canadian by birth, Shawn is a cancer survivor now living with her little friends in the Andalucían capital of Seville, where she conducts tapas tours for visitors to the city.

Caroline Angus Baker is a self-professed Duende-loving Kiwi novelist, commentator on modern and historical Spain and Spanish Civil War nerd, full of bullfighting praise.  She’s had a busy 2013, too!

I’d love to you pop along and say HOLA to both of these ladies.  Tell them Marianne sent you!

So that´s the CBBH Photo Challenge for January, everyone!

Remember, all you have to do is post your entry by the end of the month, tag your entry ‘CBBH Photo Challenge’,  link back to this blog and, most importantlydon´t forget to add links to any two blogs that you´ve commented on during the past month, so that we can all HOP OVER and have a look.  Make sure you FOLLOW THIS BLOG so you don´t miss next month´s exciting challenge!

For more information on how the CBBH Photo Challenge works click here.

I hope everyone taking part enjoys the exposure the CBBH Photo Challenge offers to featured blogs and, who knows, you may end up finding a new favourite!  I´m looking forward to seeing your interpretations.

[CBBH logo Image credit: (cc) Mostly Dans]

Let’s Talk About Tapas: Boquerones

Tapas: Boquerones in vinegar

Last month, I started a new feature called Let’s Talk About Tapas, when I gave you a general overview of what to expect if you want to eat tapas in Spain.

Each month I will be telling you about different tapas, and often I will include a recipe so you can make them at home for yourself.

So, what are tapas and how did they originate?

Well, it’s thought that originally in the wine-making regions of Andalucía, a cover in the form of a small plate or lid was placed over glasses of wine to keep fruit flies away.  Titbits of food were later placed on the lid to be eaten with the wine.  Remember too, that the word “tapar” in Spanish means “to cover”, which is where we get the word “tapas” from.

Let’s get started with one of my favourite tapas – Boquerones en vinagre (anchovies in vinegar).

Boquerones whole

You can buy boquerones from fish merchants or any supermarket with a fish counter such as Mercadona, where a kilo costs around €3.

They are not very difficult to prepare and are absolutely delicious!   When we first arrived to live in Spain and rented a house for the first twelve months in Frigiliana, my Spanish next door neighbour showed me how she prepared them.

First you need to head and gut the fish.  Do this by holding each fish using two hands – with the tail in one hand and the head in the other.  Squeeze behind the head and pull it off.  Split open the fish with your fingers and take out the guts, backbone and pull off tail.

Boquerones filleted

Rinse in cold water until the water runs clear and place the filleted fish white-side up into dish.

Boquerones soaked in white vinegar and sprinkled with salt

Sprinkle with salt and cover with white wine vinegar.  Depending on how many fish you have, you can arrange them into layers – making sure you perform this same task with each layer.  The top layer of fish needs to be covered with vinegar.

The boquerones will start to turn white almost immediately as they “cook” in the vinegar.

I usually cover the dish with clingfilm and pop it into the fridge overnight to marinade.

Chopped garlic and flat-leaf parsley

Boquerones in olive oil with garlic and parsley

Next morning, drain the salty vinegar away and cover the boquerones with extra-virgin olive oil, lots of chopped garlic and a little freshly chopped parsley – and by lunchtime they will be ready to eat with freshly baked bread.

Eat your boquerones with a glass of chilled white wine or manzanilla (dry fino sherry).

What are your favourite tapas?


Whilst you’re here, you might also enjoy:

Let’s talk about tapas, shall we?

Spanish Omelette: Tortilla Española

A Celebration of Fried Breadcrumbs