A lot of people ask me what I like about living in Spain and if I prefer it to the US. It’s often difficult to answer. There is no specific reason I live here– not my job, not the city, not even my husband (he’d be perfectly happy to try living in the states). It just seems to be the place that fits at the moment. I could tell you some great things about life in Spain– the weather, food, beaches… but of course almost each of these things can also be found in the US. Yet every now and then I come across something I’ve never experienced back home. Today I’d like to talk about one of the reasons I love living in Spain:
The frutería is a glorious place, but not at all a Whole Foods kind of glorious. It’s produce may be just as good but that’s about the only resemblance. Contrary to its name it not only sells fruits, but also vegetables, nuts, and sometimes local honey and pastries. There are usually many fruterías in a neighborhood (I know of at least five within a two block radius) and one must diligently compare price, quality, and customer service before deciding which one to frequent.
A true frutería will never let you touch the fruit. There will probably be many signs warning you not to– but just in case there aren’t, don’t do it! A true frutería should also be very tiny– too small to ever be comfortable inside. This will hopefully force you to make some quick decisions and get out of there quickly to make room for the next person.
There will never be a line. You should always ask who the last person waiting is “Perdona, quien es la última?” because failure to do so will result in many people cutting you. Even when you do ask, various old women will probably try to pull a fast one. If they look at all handicapped I usually let them go… but the 60 somethings that are in better shape than me? Not a chance!
You’ll have to have some idea of the metric system because you’ll be ordering things by the kilo (usually). A kilo of this, half kilo of that, etc. Make sure if you only want 2 tomatoes you say “dos unidades por favor” because if you don’t specify your “dos tomates” will surely be two kilos of tomatoes (I know from personal experience).
Try your best to keep your tab running in your head because a receipt is rarely given and, even if one is, it rarely specifies the products. More than once I’ve realized I was overcharged. But one of the most glorious things about Spanish fruterías is the price of the produce! It is super cheap. Just take a look at what I bought today for 8,20€. For $11.29 I bought:
- 1 kilo (2.2 lbs.) Raf Tomatoes
- 3/4 kilo Chestnuts
- 2 large Sweet Potatoes
- 2 large Pomegranates
- 2 kilo Clementines
- 4 Red Peppers
- 6 Rustic Apples
It was so glorious I had to practice taking some pictures! All of the produce pictured came from Eva’s Frutería on Calle Valderribas in Madrid.
Do you guys have fruterías where you live? Do you prefer to shop in small stores or in large supermarkets? And if you live in Spain, how many times have old ladies cut you in line?
Go check out some more Spanish food photos on my Spanish Sabores Facebook Page. Just click “Like” on the sidebar! Gracias!