properties Travel Series

Let’s Go Exploring! Madrid, the Food or Food Poisoning Capital of the World?

Let's Go Exploring! Madrid, the Food or Food Poisoning Capital of the World?


FIRECracker is Canada’s youngest retiree. She used to reside in a single of the costliest cities in Canada, but as an alternative of drowning in debt, she rejected residence ownership. What resulted was a 7-figure portfolio, which has allowed her and her husband to retire at 31 and travel the world. Their story has been featured on CBC, the Huffington Publish, CNBC, BNN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance. Thus far, it’s the most shared story in CBC history and their viral video on CBC’s On the Money has garnered four.5 Million views.


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I closed my eyes, resting my face on the chilly toilet tiles. The tremors in my abdomen had briefly subsided, however the room was still spinning. Oh God, why oh why did I order that stupid seafood tower?

After what felt like hours, I knelt on the rest room flooring shivering and coated in chilly sweat. Oh crap, I assumed, as one other wave of nausea hit me. With shaky palms, I crawled over to the rest room and started puking once more.

So how did we end up right here?

Let me back up a bit.

Before we came to Madrid, we have been each huge followers of seafood. Specifically uncooked seafood—oysters, sashimi, and clams–principally something that smelled like the ocean. Provided that Spain had some of the world’s most famous seafood dishes, we thought we have been in for a treat. And once we came upon about the “tower of seafood” provided by the fashionable native restaurant beneficial by our Airbnb host, we have been ecstatic.

Having eaten at food stalls all-over Southeast Asia, Mexico, and Central America, meals poisoning never even crossed my mind. And now that we have been in Spain, I utterly dropped my guard—in any case, some of the greatest costliest Michelin restaurants are in Madrid. What might probably go incorrect?

Turns out so much. But I’ll get to that in a second.

Fortunately, at the starting of the week, we principally stuck to cooked tapas, churros, and jamón. Madrid gave us some of the most memorable meals experiences we’ve ever had in all of Europe:

Chocolate Con Churros

Should you’re ever having a nasty day, order a plate of chocolate con churros. Trust me, the mixture of deep-fried fitters coated with cinnamon and dipped in thick melted darkish chocolate will brighten even the darkest day. I inhaled the entire thing in 5 seconds flat and then upended the cup to get the last drops of darkish chocolate into my mouth. Sadly, the waiter took away our dishes before I might embarrass myself by licking the entire cup clear. Oh properly.

For the greatest CCC (that’s what the cool youngsters call it lately) in all of Madrid, head to “San Gines”. PROTIP: there’s all the time an extended line up however in the event you hold walking past it, via the tunnel, you’ll see another café referred to as “La Escondida de San Gines”. It’s the similar cafe with the very same menu however individuals don’t understand that, so you’ll already be seated and consuming your churros whereas all the different vacationers are distracted by the long line.


All Tapas, all the time

foie gras tapas–my favorite!Salmon, crab, and cream cheese tapas. Yum!Assorted seafood tapas

You will discover delicious tapas all over the city, but our favourite spot was Puturru De Foie in the Mercado de San Antón. That they had the greatest foie gras tapas for €four each! (Provided that foie gras sets you again at the least $20 for a tiny appetizer, I do not know how they earn money, but I’m glad they found a approach) I can truthfully say this was one of the greatest issues I’ve ever put in my mouth.

The preferred mercado in Madrid is San Miguel, but we found it to be overrated and approach too crowded. I might advocate checking it out for the architecture—a stunning ornate historical building with iron pillars and floor-to-ceiling glass—however I assumed the food was just so-so.

Consumer: (WT-shared) Aiko99ann at wts wikivoyage [CC BY-SA (] 

Another place that served up nice tapas with a implausible view is the rooftop meals courtroom in the El Corte Ingles at Plaza Callao. It’s fairly properly hidden and full of locals, but vacationers do not know where it is, so you’ll get this gem to yourself.

I wasn’t a huge fan of tapas in different elements of Spain (pay extra for much less food and SHARE it with other individuals, say what?) however in Madrid the tapas have been distinctive. I might go back to Madrid in a heartbeat only for that.

Jamón Ibérico—my newfound love

The Spaniards are critical about their jamón—or ham—so much in order that savouring paper-thin slices of the glistening cured pork is a Spanish rite of passage.

Before coming to Madrid, we didn’t even know the distinction between Jamon Serrano and Jamon Iberico (tragic, I do know). And the phrases “Pata Negra” didn’t even register in my mind.

Since then I’ve been educated on the distinction between Serrano and Ibérico and why you hadn’t lived till you’ve devoured a slice of “Bellota Pata Negra” shaved ever-so-carefully from a severed pig leg hanging from the ceiling, hoof nonetheless hooked up.

You see, Serrano ham comes from the widespread white pig raised on a farm and fed a traditional weight-reduction plan of cereals. Ibérico ham, on the different hand, comes from a one of a sort black-hoofed pig that’s raised on a particular weight-reduction plan of acorns and left to run wild on oak-filled pastures, their backs “caressed by mountain air” (the Spaniards is usually a tad melodramatic).

For this reason the value of Ibérico ham is 10-20 occasions costlier than Serrano ham.

So is it value it? Being the skeptic that I am, I decided to seek out out for myself.

At €165 ($185 USD) per kg, the Bellota Pata Negra (acorn-fed black-hoofed pig) was the costliest ham in the complete store and I half expected a loud alarm to blare the minute the butcher took it off its hook.

Here’s what it appeared like sliced.

As quickly as I put it in my mouth, it practically melted on my tongue. I tasted an earthy, nutty, virtually sweet flavour that resembled nothing of the Serrano hams I’d had earlier than. Serrano hams tastes like being punched in the mouth with a fistful of salt, but Ibérico ham was so beautiful I didn’t need to spoil it by clobbering the style with any bread.

So, now it’s formally. I’m a total ham snob. And in case you go to Madrid to attempt Ibérico ham, you may be one too.

World class museums that includes Picasso and Dali

I’m not even into artwork museums, however I liked the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, the Museo
Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, and the Museo Nacional del Prado.

When you go to Madrid, you have to hit up these three, as they are referred to as the “golden triangle
of art” and listed in the prime 10 greatest artwork museums in the world.

I went there principally to see Picasso and Dali’s items, but I additionally ended up discovering Francisco Goya, who made one of the most disturbing paintings ever, entitled “Saturn Devouring His Son”

Soerfm [CC BY-SA three.0 (] 

Yeah, Spanish artists may be dark. And speaking of dark…

Bull preventing

Now, this one is a controversial one. Discover how I stated “memorable”, not essentially “best or most fun” at the beginning of this listing.

Bull preventing has been a Spanish custom for tons of of years, but in recent times, the sport has been banned in Barcelona because of its cruelty in the direction of bulls. I didn’t know this however the matador stabs and kills the bull at the end of each struggle. He even takes house the severed ears and head as a trophy! So understandably, some see this custom as barbaric and have petitioned for it to be banned.

You possibly can go to the Museo Taurino to seek out out about the artwork of bullfighting and all the casualties that got here from collaborating in such a dangerous sport. Warning: this isn’t for the faint of heart.

So now that I’ve informed you every little thing I really like about Madrid, let me inform you about the one factor I didn’t love. Specifically getting food poisoned within an inch of our lives.

All we heard was “seafood tower” from our Airbnb host and we headed straight to “Ribeira do Miño”, the fashionable native restaurant to eat our fill.

Six hours later, I ended up with my head in the rest room, swearing to never eat seafood once more.

Little did I know, Spain has been dubbed “the food poison capital of the world” in response to a survey of 2000 holidaymakers. And just lately, there’s even been an outbreak of meals poisoning which lead to a demise in a Michelin star restaurant! Yikes!.

I can truthfully say I didn’t need to take a look at a single oyster or shrimp after that ordeal and it’ll be a long time before I can even think about raw oysters without freaking out again.

Luckily, our dangerous expertise was made up by the proven fact that our Airbnb host was nice sufficient to allow us to keep for 2 nights without spending a dime, and we didn’t should catch a flight the subsequent day.

For sure, we discovered from that have and will probably be super careful any more.

You’d assume that entire meals poisoning thing would bitter my experience on Madrid, however I still assume it’s one of my favorite cities that we visit in Europe—principally as a result of of the fantastic food and world class museums. Just watch out with seafood and ensure to avoid Ribeira do Miño like the plague.

We ended up spending extra in Madrid (totally on food) than many other elements of Europe, however it was value it:

Category Value in USD/couple Value in CAD/couple Notes Lodging: $46 USD $71 CAD Although it was costlier than places like Japanese Europe, lodging in Madrid have been nonetheless quite affordable for an enormous city. Our Airbnb was tiny but properly laid out and close to major points of interest. Food: $56 USD $73 CAD ($47 for consuming out, $26 for groceries) We ate out in Madrid greater than another metropolis in Europe and it exhibits. I regret virtually nothing except the seafood tower which set us again 45 Euros and destroyed us afterwards. Be additional careful with raw seafood–especially in Spain. Transportation: $15 USD/day $20 CAD/day Transportation to Madrid from Malta was 68 Euros every by way of Ryanair. Getting round Madrid by way of subway was straightforward and relatively inexpensive. We have been additionally in the middle of the action so we might walk to most points of interest. Entertainment: $1.70 USD/day $2.30 CAD/day One of the issues I really like about Madrid is the museums which are literally free to go to on certain days. The downside is the lengthy strains, however if you’re retire, who cares about strains ;). We ended saving a ton of cash because we scheduled our time around free museum days. Complete: $128 USD/couple/day $166 CAD/couple/day Madrid was one of the costlier places we visit in Europe however nonetheless one of our favourites. Even with the meals poisoning, I’d nonetheless advocate it.

What do you assume? Are you courageous enough to go to the meals/food poisoning capital of the world?

Observe: Shout out to Chautauquans A&D for the tip on utilizing the Rick Steves app for road excursions. For those of you who wish to travel in Europe, be sure to obtain the Ricks Steves travel app. It’s utterly free and tremendous helpful.

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