January 12, 2017

Calle de Zurbano, Madrid. October, 2009

For me, one of the great joys of travel is heading off in the morning with just a vague idea of where I want to go, letting the streets and the sights lead me on. This morning in Madrid, after an early run through neighborhoods slowly coming to life with half-asleep university students on their way to class, I started down the Calle de Sta. Engracia to find Poncelet, the cheese store I’d been told was the best in town. It was. I left with some queso Manchego curado, some queso de Madrid de cabra and their recommendation to find la charcutería Mope, where I would buy the much-prized jamón ibérico de bellota -- the fabled Spanish ham made from the black-footed pig fed exclusively on a diet of acorns. Some bread from a nearby panadería, some olives...the makings of a terrific lunch. Along the lovely morning’s route, this hapless dogwalker and his three enthusiastic charges.

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