What to buy in Madrid: discover the city’s most typical products
Typical products to buy in Madrid
Madrid offers visitors the chance to buy unique products that embody the traditional side of a cosmopolitan city that opens its doors to all. Here we describe some typical items from Madrid that you could take home as a souvenir of your trip to the Spanish capital.
A place as thoroughly traditional as La Violetera is perfectly symbolised by its violet sweets that were a favourite of King Alfonso XIII. This legendary establishment located next to the Puerta del Sol in Plaza Canalejas has been making sweets with the essence of violet flowers since 1915. Their wonderful flavour and stunning presentation boxes make these violet sweets the perfect gift.
Pain au chocolat in La Mallorquina
La Mallorquina is located opposite the Sol Metro station exit towards Calle Mayor and it’s one of the most traditional patisseries in the capital. The inviting scent of pastry and chocolate will lead you straight to its door. Its most typical products are pain au chocolat and cream-filled croissants but once inside you’ll find it hard to choose between so many delights.
The Bear and the Strawberry Tree is the symbol of Madrid and you mustn’t miss the famous sculpture in the Puerta del Sol, opposite the Apple store. After snapping a classic photo with the statue, take the essence of the strawberry tree home with you and surprise your family at the end of a meal. Madrone liqueur is made from the fruit of this tree that is typical to Madrid.
Christmas lottery tickets are already on sale at the beginning of August and when you visit Madrid, buying a tenth-share ticket at Doña Manolita is almost obligatory. This lottery shop awards the most prizes in Spain and, although you can now buy tickets on-line, the large queues that form outside the shop during the days leading up to the Christmas draw are legendary.
The oldest fan shop in Madrid is also located at Puerta del Sol. Casa Diego has a wide range of hand-crafted fans that are made from mother-of-pearl, palo santo, ebony and different textures such as lace and fabric. Size is also important here, and you’ll discover that there are fans for your handbag, for gentlemen, etc. A whole world of ways to beat the summer heat in the capital.
Hats are back in fashion so why not treat yourself to a typical Madrid parpusa? These black and white hound’s tooth caps perfectly accessorise with any outfit. Do you dare?
Hand-made jute-soled alpargatas or espadrilles are the summer version of traditional rural footwear and you’ll be spoilt for choice with the huge variety of colours and styles. They can be found in classic espadrille shops in the centre such as Casa Hernanz, Casa Crespo and Calzados Lobo.
Meninas in every shape and size
After enjoying your visit to the Prado and being amazed by Velázquez’s Las Meninas, you might like to take a souvenir of the painting home with you, for example, the silhouette of one of the girls as a pendant. There is a huge amount of merchandising related to Las Meninas, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how some contemporary artists have chosen to pay tribute to this work.
People who still feel nostalgic about the sound of vinyl can rejoice—it’s making a come-back. Madrid has numerous record stores where you can have fun flicking through records until you find what you’re looking for. The perfect gift for music lovers.
Passion for football
The capital’s two big teams, Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid, have a huge official store on Gran Vía where you can find souvenirs of your favourite team, including shirts, pens and even alarm clocks. Football merchandising goes places you can’t even imagine.
Tinned Spanish potato omelette
Have you ever seen a picture of a typical tinned sardines shop in Lisbon? Well, Madrid’s Plaza Mayor is home to a store with the same idea except that instead of sardines, it sells tinned potato omelette. Similarly to its Portuguese cousin, each tin is decorated with a year, starting at 1939, plus a list of the anniversaries and significant people born that year. So just find your year of birth and you have the perfect souvenir.
Wine from Madrid
Since 1990, Madrid wines have had Designation of Origin classification and they’re mainly produced in Navalcarnero, Arganda and San Martín de Valdeiglesias. In recent years, their quality and varieties have earned these wines a deserved place in the wine market.
Anisette and garlic from Chinchón
Chinchón, a town in Madrid province, is well worth visiting for its square and wineries; you won’t be able to leave without a bottle of anisette and a string of garlic. There are four varieties of anisette depending on its alcohol and sugar content: seco especial, extra seco, seco [dry] and dulce [sweet]. Meanwhile, garlic from Chinchón is top quality. Don’t hesitate to buy a whole string because it will last all year.
Olives from Campo Real
Despite the small size of the Madrid Autonomous Region, a wide range of foods are grown on its land. Olive groves in the south-east produce delicious olives that are marinated with aromatic herbs including thyme, fennel and oregano. You simply have to try them!
This is just a selection of some fantastic typical products you could buy in Madrid to surprise friends and family, but there are many more exciting things to discover.