During the end of last year, I was fortunate enough to spend some time in northern Spain, in the Asturias region, in the coastal city of Gijón. It’s a lively little city of about 300,000 people, right on the water with all the modern conveniences and old-world charm you would expect in a European city.
If you’ve ever watched any cooking shows on Netflix, you’ll know that the Spanish cuisine is world renown, but what you may not know is that over 25% of the county is dedicated as agricultural lands, making Spain the largest food producer in Europe. It’s no wonder that this abundant country has a unique food establishment, practically on every street corner and it’s called LA FRUTERIA!
Watch the video as I check out Gijón's fruteria shops.
While I was in Gijón, I spent a lot of time getting to know my local fruteria shops. I love learning about new cultures when I travel and what better way to get to know people than with food, specifically, how they bring food into the home?
With just a quick walk around the city, it was easy to find all the grocery store chains like Masymas, Alimerka, Lidl, Super Cor, Dia & Go, Open Cor. I also really enjoyed shopping in the specialty food shops like La Cala Baza, Beta, Granel Gijon. And you better believe I checked them all out!
What I still found the most fascinating were the fruteria shops. This concept does not exist in the United States. The closest thing I could think of was a gas station convince store, purely based off the accessibility, but that doesn’t even come close because convince stores are full of processed shelf-stable food and fruterias are pretty much the exact opposite. I like to think of them like mini farmer’s markets located on practically every street corner. There were at least five different shops within a three-minute walking radius of where I was staying.
A typical fruteria is full of fresh and local produce. Don’t let the name throw you off; they also sell vegetables, nuts, beans, among other provisions. There are some franchises, but most fruterias are privately owned, so it’s best to compare prices, quality, and customer service.
Fruterias are usually small, and there’s hardly ever a line. Quite often you’re not even allowed to touch the food. You’re supposed to know the exact quantities of each food you want and the attendant will select it for you and place it into a bag. I found this a little hard to get over, but I managed. Spain uses the metric system, so everything is weighed in kilos. It’s best to try and keep a running tally in your head because you’re hardly ever given an itemized receipt.
The most magnificent thing of all are the prices! Everything is super cheap! Especially when compared to what I generally pay at a typical grocery or farmer’s market in the US. You can practically buy a cornucopia of food for under 10 euros. I never stopped being surprised by this.
Overall, I enjoyed getting to know the city of Gijon and Spanish culture better. My eyes are now open to something new. Fruterias can be found all over Spain, and if you ever get the opportunity to go, I highly recommend you pop into a shop and buy some fresh foods with the locals!
Thanks for stopping by the Grocery Checkout!