My reaction when we made our first supermarket visit was paralysis, as if fruit and vegetables and pasta and rice suddenly needed translation.
That strange feeling, plus being out of sync with the local schedule, plus having one picky eater and one vegetarian, meant our first few days were fueled by Special K, bread and cheese, and tapas and beer.
Now we’re getting the hang of things. We’ve found an American-style supermarket that is cheap, calm, and located just outside the Albaycín, so we’re guaranteed a workout carrying groceries back up the hill. And I’ve figured out that sugar is with the coffee, not the flour, and crackers are with the Melba toast, not the cookies. There’s a nice variety of foods, too, unlike the more limited choices we had in Argentina.
We’re a 12-minute walk from a plaza that hosts a daily produce market and is ringed by stores and cafes. Although I have to plan to get there between 9am and 1pm, the market is the best place to buy cheap, local fruits and vegetables so fresh they’re best eaten the same day.
In the streets around this same plaza are several bakeries, tiendas ecológicas selling organic and natural foods, at least one butcher shop and one fish market, and a handful of “supermarkets,” that is small stores that sell items in the same categories as the big supermarkets but with limited variety.
We’ve also treated ourselves to cheap Moroccan food (lentils, couscous and vegetable tajine, roast chicken) from some take out restaurants in the more touristy part of the Albaycín.
The way our landlord has emphasized that we can buy everything in the neighborhood makes me see that residents need to spend their euros locally or risk losing businesses, just like in any small town.