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Beginners’ Spanish: food and drink
Beginners’ Spanish: food and drink

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Actividad 4

You are now going to listen to a radio documentary about the Mercado Central in Valencia.

The Central Market building
Figure 6

Read the following questions. Then listen to the audio track below and answer them in English.

Escucha y contesta.

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  1. How big is the market?
  2. What produce is sold in the market?
  3. Why do people go to the market instead of the supermarket?
  4. In what way was the market a world first?


  1. It is enormous - the biggest fresh food market in Europe.
  2. Fruit, vegetables, fish, seafood, meat, charcuterie, spices, nuts, flowers.
  3. Because there is more variety, the produce is fresher and the prices are cheaper.
  4. It was the first market to use online ordering.

Skills: Listening to longer extracts

Listening to longer authentic recordings is a good way of building up your listening skills, but you shouldn’t worry if you only catch some of the words or get only a very general idea of what is being talked about. The purpose is to understand the key points rather than every detail. Listen first for the gist before listening for specific information. Remember that you can do this without understanding every word; even when you listen in your own language you will find that you rarely hear every word, unless you are really concentrating on the message (as in airport announcements).

Culture: Shopping in Spain

A wine merchants'
Figure 7

Although large supermarkets have become more and more prevalent in Spain, many families still do part of their weekly and daily shopping in smaller local shops.

Bread, for example, is something that Spaniards buy daily in the many panaderías that can be found in every town and city. Cakes and pastries, which were traditionally sold in pastelerías, are now commonly sold in panaderías too.

Many people still prefer to buy fresh produce such as fruit and vegetables in the market, whilst meat, fish and cooked meats are often bought in small local independent shops which may offer better quality and service than large supermarkets.

A few bodegas still exist where customers can bring their own bottles or garrafas to buy wine by the litre. Although the expression vino de garrafa is given to cheap, nasty wine, some wine sold in bodegas is very good, and a lot cheaper than bottled wine!


  • la garrafa demijohn, carafe