Shopping in Madrid can become a cultural experience that will allow you to explore the material and artistic heritage of Spain and its influence in the world. In this one of the largest cities in Europe and the capital of Spain, you will find an impressive number of unique and high quality items.
The Best Typical Spanish Gifts and Souvenirs to Buy in Madrid
Madrid is a traditional, cultural city with many shops specializing in typical Spanish gifts. Nowadays, Spain stands out for its gastronomy and the great quality / price ratio of its fashion, driven in recent years by Zara and Desigual phenomenon and a multitude of small businesses that have grown significantly.
Below, you will find all the typical gifts and souvenirs you can find while shopping in Madrid:
1. Manila Shawls
It was actually a product of Chinese origin, which became very popular in Spain, Latin America and the Philippines during the colonial era. Nowadays such shawls are used in celebrations, especially in the south of Spain (Fair of Seville and others), related to flamenco. You can find it with all kinds of patterns and colours. Remember to buy it rather in specialized shops or department stores like El Corte Inglés to obtain a decent quality.
2. Espadrilles (Alpargatas)
Espadrilles are a typical footwear for hot months, widely used in Spain, southern France and Latin America. One of the main producers of this footwear is Spain, which provides espadrilles to the best brands in the world. One of such companies, which has its own designs is Castañer.
Spain has a long tradition of the production and design of fans dating (in a documented way) back to the end of the 15th century, even before the trade with Asia expanded. The Spanish fans stand out for their vivid colours and flower patterns. In terms of quality, they are robust and have a good finishing that is immediately perceived when compared to others of lower quality. In Casa de Diego, a specialized store existing since 1823, you can find quality Spanish fans.
An interesting fact is the function they had in the past to communicate. For example, if a woman dropped her fan in front of a man it meant “I belong to you”, whereas if she supported it on her left cheek it meant no, in a categorical way. More information here.
4. Paraphernalia Related to Bullfighting
Bullfighting is becoming less popular both inside and outside of Spain because of the useless suffering caused to the animal. However, it must be recognized as a historical and cultural symbol of Spain. You will find many cheap and kitsch souvenirs, but also a large amount of graphic art and photography worthy of being framed and presented as a typical Spanish gift.
5. La Violeta – Violet Candies
While shopping in Madrid, remember to indulge yourself with something sweet! La Violeta is a traditional shop producing violet candies typical for Madrid. Their characteristic colour, flavour and aroma, together with their history, have made it an attraction for tourists and locals.
6. Paella Pan
Paella is a typical dish of rice from the region of Valencia. It is one of the most typical dishes of Spain offered in all tourist restaurants. To make a good paella, it is necessary to use a special pan (paella pan) which is characterized by having two handles instead of one (to support its weight) and being less deep than conventional pan, to evaporate water differently. The typical paellera is made of polished steel and is usually no smaller than 20 centimeters in diameter.
7. Olive Oil from Extremadura
Spain is the largest producer of olive oil in the world and together with Italy offers the best quality of the product. Spain for years has been taking the first or second place the podium for the best olive oil. Therefore, there is hardly a better place to buy olive oil than Spain: you will find it in the best quality, variety and prices. My personal recommendation is olive oil from Extremadura, a little known region next to Andalusia and Portugal. Extremadura oil has a very intense flavour and is more rare, since almost 90% of the olive oil produced comes from Andalusia and Castilla La Mancha.
Spain is one of the largest producers of saffron and stands out for both the quantity and the quality of the product. The intense aroma, flavour and golden colour that saffron gives to food and its scarcity make it an almost luxury item. A small bag is a perfect gift or souvenir for those who love cooking.
9. Iberian Ham With Black Label (100% Acorn-Fed)
Iberian ham – jamón ibérico – comes from Iberian pork and is considered a delicacy in the Iberian Peninsula. Spain is the largest producer of this cold meat, widely associated with the country along with bulls and paella. There are several types of Iberian ham and the most appreciated is black leg (black label) – pata negra (etiqueta negra), Iberian ham 100% acorn-fed.
Important: Do not confuse Iberian ham with Serrano ham. There are differences in pig breed, taste and maturation process. The Iberian ham is more appreciated because the Iberian pig breed is only found in the peninsula and has a genetic peculiarity that others do not have. The Iberian pig infiltrates the fat in the muscle and that gives the meat its unique flavour and texture. The meat is juicier and the flavour varies according to the breed percentage, the amount of acorn with which it has been fed and the exercise it has done.
10. Bota de Vino – Wine Bag
It is a special leather bag generally used to store wine. Very traditional in Spain, although in decline since it is only used in some rural areas or during bullfights. It tends to have a tear shape. It is a typical and original gift. It is usually seen more often during festivals such as San Fermín or the festivities of Teruel.
11. La Rioja Wine
Spain is one of the largest wine producers in the world and has a large variety of grapes. The most famous wine both inside and outside of Spain is the wine from La Rioja, and from this region my recommendation would be that of La Rioja Alavesa. This product is a safe bet.
12. Licor 43
The most famous and most consumed liquor in Spain, a perfect gift for those who love cocktails. The number refers to the amount of ingredients that are used and is supposedly based on a Roman recipe known as Liqvor Mirabillis typical of Cartagena. It has a very characteristic sweet flavour. My favorite combination is with rum, coke and lime.
Any Other Idea For Shopping in Madrid and Typical Spanish Products?
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