La Despensa de Frida is a Mexican produce stall located in the busy multicultural hub of Ruzafa market.
The stall, ran by married couple Michelle and Manolo, first opened 7 years ago. Michelle who is Mexican, had been working in catering and realised it was hard to find some Mexican ingredients and produce here in Valencia. They want to make Mexican produce more accessible and offer advice to clients on recipes.
I interviewed the couple to find out more about their store.
24/7 VALENCIA: HOW DID YOUR STALL ‘LA DESPENSA DE FRIDA’ START OUT?
Manolo: My wife, Michelle, is Mexican she worked in catering around Valencia preparing Mexican food. After a few years she was finding it hard to find some Mexican ingredients, so 7 years ago we both decided to start the shop.
24/7 VALENCIA: WHAT IS IT LIKE WORKING HERE IN MERCADO DE RUZAFA?
Manolo: We decided to open the store in the market because we love the market. We like that there is a Japanese store, Italian store and now there is a Greece store, it’s a very multicultural neighbourhood so there are people from different countries.
24/7 VALENCIA: WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY AS A STORE?
Manolo: Our philosophy is to have a great service to the clients, great customer service. We also give advice to all our clients, for example, how to prepare Mexican food. This is our main point because Michelle is a cook and knows about the Mexican dishes.
24/7 VALENCIA: WHAT TYPE OF CUSTOMERS DO YOU GET AT THE STORE?
Manolo: We get many kinds of customers here in the store, people from different countries. We have Mexican clients of course, Spanish people looking for Mexican products or advise. We have different clients from the UK and United States because they like spicy stuff and for them in Spain it is difficult to find.
24/7 VALENCIA: WHAT PRODUCTS ARE YOUR BEST SELLERS?
Manolo: The corn and flour tortillas. Also, the tortilla chips we sell a lot because they are completely natural no preservatives or flavourings like in the supermarkets. As well as our fresh produce, we have very good avocados.
24/7 VALENCIA: HOW DID THE PANDEMIC AFFECT YOUR STORE?
Manolo: It was not so bad because when they opened people realised the importance of markets and fresh fruits and now people come to the market more than before. We also started an online shop 3 years ago where our clients all over Spain can buy our products.
24/7 VALENCIA: HAVE YOU GOT ANY PLANS FOR THE FUTURE WITH THE STORE?
Manolo: Michelle loves cooking so maybe in the future we can plan to do something related with a restaurant or something but at the moment we are ok in the market.
Report by Rebecca Edmundson
Article & photo copyright Rebecca Edmundson/ 24/7 Valencia
LA DESPENSA DE FRIDA
Address: Ruzafa Market, Calle 4, 81-82-83
Plaza Barón de Cortes de Pallás s/n
Opening Hours: 7:30am -3:00pm