With the introduction of an invasive species – the mini Carrefour – the indigenous and once-abundant Spanish mercado has inevitably gone into decline, or at least as we know it.
When the carnicería, pescadería, frutería and conservas stalls pack up and leave, the only next step is to close the mercado, right? Well not anymore. It’s at this point you’ll find a small surge of start-ups opting to set up shop in one of the empty units with a bit of an ulterior motive: to save the mercado. It’s happening all over Madrid and La Casquería in Mercado San Fernando is just one example of this philosophy.
FROM SPANISH ENTRAILS TO WORLD TALES
La Casquería (in Spanish: tripe and offal shop) is a quirky, small second-hand book store which has fun-lovingly maintained the ways of its previous tenants by selling its products by weight. You can find books and maps in Spanish, English and many other languages. The usual sections are there, plus a great crate of old guides to Madrid – my favourite. There are also lots of travel guides to elsewhere in the world so if you’re after one, make sure you check out here first. They may be out of date, but that’s even better – many bars and restaurants mentioned should no longer be in the current guide so the tourist rush of previous years will have expired and you’ll find a hidden gem all to yourself.
Quirky postcards and keepsakes are also sold here, and lots of classic scales can be found dotted around the shop. The original signage is also still on the façade:
- Address: Mercado San Fernando, stall 20 (Calle de Embajadores, 41)
- Nearest metro: Embajadores, Lavapiés
- Website & Facebook
- Opening hours: here
Read our Markets of Madrid article we wrote for MuchBites and find out my three favourite mercados in central Madrid.