Atarazanas Market, Malaga

There comes a time in every holiday when the lure of the market becomes just too much to resist . . . .  .

Malaga was no exception and we had the distinction of being a two minute walk away from Malaga’s main fresh market – Atarazanas Market.

There is a stunning stain glass window that depicts the city in glorious multi-colour, high above the rows of stalls, stacked with slippery fish, ridiculously large vegetables and vats of lardy meats.

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The market has beautiful Moorish architecture alongside the more contemporary 19th century building styles. The main entrance is a huge archway that is the only remaining part of what was once a seven-arched shipyard.

Apparently until the 18th century the sea reached right up to the present-day, middle of the city, land locked, market. Fishermen sat alongside the south-facing wall of the building and cast their lines into the waters.

Here’s a couple of the characters you can find at the market, a charming poser and a rather stern looking snail seller!

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As a vegetarian, a visit to the very visceral reality of continental markets can sometimes be a bit stomach churning but the way that every single piece of an animal is used, from head and tongue, to liver, lungs and wind pipe, is a very good example of waste not want not.

We seem very squeamish in the UK about utilising all of the fleshy bits available to the carnivore. Is it because the bits are actually identifiable that make people so adverse to scoffing them?

A case in point – a sheep’s head complete with glassy eyes, still a delicacy on the continent, boiled until the meat falls off the bone.

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Decades ago people in the UK would think nothing of plating up liver, tripe, pigs trotters and other, now almost defunct, meaty mouthfuls. What happened?

Why has a society that is still a meat eating majority, become so picky and so unwilling to be presented with the visual reality of the origins of their meal?

Given the current climate of ever decreasing resources, increasing population and more and more pressure on food production, isn’t it time that meat eaters started to embrace and eat all the bits of the animal, not just the unidentifiable, easy to mentally and physically digest, parts?

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