Andratx Market Day #
Market Day could sound like a mundane activity to those who have never encountered it before, but Market Day in a small Spanish town really is something to look forward to by the locals, expats and tourists alike. Freelancer friends curse themselves for arranging meetings or work on Wednesday mornings. How could they miss another Market Day?!
Once a week, on a Wednesday morning Andratx comes alive! This village, which is usually only lightly active and populated mostly by locals, welcomes an abundance of multinational visitors, meandering slowly through the small streets, taking in the sights, smells, touch and taste of all that is available to buy and at a good price. That’s right, Wednesday in Andratx is MARKET DAY!
The village plaza (square) is graced with the prettiest stalls: handmade clothes and bags from local fabrics, natural homemade soaps of exquisite scents and handmade farmers-market style straw baskets (and it really seems like everyone has one!). If you chat to the guy in the basket stall, he’s always busy weaving an example piece. It gives him something to do with his hands he says; like a smoker, but with a much healthier and lucrative habit!
The cafe terrace tables around the plaza are filled with croissants and paper-wrapped bunches of flowers fresh from the greenery stall. The smells from the local bakery stalls mix with the coffee and the lively sound of chatter in many languages is enchanting. If you’re on your own you can feel like you’re part of something, and the people-watching opportunities are not to missed! In the winter the few tables that sit in the sun are much coveted and hard to come by but in the summer, everyone is thankful for the abundant shade that the square throws, with only a few mad dogs and Englishmen basking happily in the sun.
Out of the plaza and further into the market, which is actually pretty big, you find the food stalls and veg stalls. The bakery stalls with their fresh breads and local cream and fruit filled pastries. The olive stall is definitely the place to buy your olives as opposed to the jars and tins in the supermarkets, and they are very good about letting you sample whatever you want. Seeing the buckets full of ripe juicy olives gleaming in the sunshine is one of those defining images that will remind you again (just in case you did forget!) that you are in the Mediterranean!
Ensaimadas; the famous Mallorquin pastry snakes, are delicious though warned if you’re a veggie like me as they are often made with lard which I only found out after eating a good few of them! Doh
There are impressive local cheese stalls and of course the various cured meats (which I’ll be honest, I don’t linger by for veggie reasons stated earlier, but am assured by my meat-eating friends and family they are of top quality!) And course there are more than just a few fresh fruit and vegetable stalls along with scoops of nuts and sweets too.
Prices and quality differ quite a lot between stalls so you may want to do a perusing sweep before settling on where to buy your goods. When you’re a seasoned market veteran (like me!), you know where to buy what from where. My free-range eggs (which they wrap quaintly in a cabbage leaf for protection!) come from this stall, the exceptionally good cherries I get from another, the outrageously oversized red peppers from another yet…
You get to know each seller and greet them with a ‘Buenos dias!’ or the local ‘Bon día!’ (‘good morning in the local language of Mallorquin - a dialect of Catalan) or if you want to really want to impress them try: ‘que val aixó?’ (‘how much is this?’ in Mallorquin). The sellers are generally super friendly and happy to chat to you especially if you’re happy to talk to them in Spanish no matter what level you’re at.
The clothes, leather, bags, shoes and jewellery stalls follow the fruit stalls. There are a lot of them and they do start to blend into one and, apart from a few stand-outs, I start to lose interest and enthusiasm by the top of Son Mas, even though that’s where some of the nicest clothes stalls are found. It’s not offensive to haggle though some sellers are more receptive to it than others. If you’re buying more than one item then I would say it’s nearly always worth a little discount. As always, a little Spanish goes a long way, so it’s always worth brushing up on a few market buyer terms!
The stalls that stand out for me are:
- The hand-painted ceramic stall near the square.
- The wooden toy stall at the bottom of Son Mas.
- The gemstone jewellery stall at the top of Son Mas.
- Pretty much every stall that is in the square, especially the one that sells Indian fabric printed clothes and jewellery.
If you’re in the South West of Mallorca on a Wednesday morning it’s well worth the visit, the only issue is parking but there are multiple free municipal car parks and free street parking everywhere. Be warned that the stalls tend to pack up around 1pm so don’t leave your visit too late and after your shopping be sure to take a rest and a cafe or a caña or a copa when you’re done!
By Holly Jazz
27 September, 2018