In a city as cosmopolitan and frenetic as Madrid, crowded with people, shops, and a lack of time, real gems are found in the most unexpected places.
Walking around the traditional market of Antón Martín, in the neighborhood of Lavapiés, the most atypical stall stands between a florist’s and a herbalist’s.
Under the slogan “Mens Creative in stomachus plenus”, food and culture come together in an unusual project called Sandwich Mixto.
Virginia de Diego, one of the creators, likes to define it as fanzinery; however, this project goes further, establishing an unlimited range of action which is governed solely by good taste and creativity, and, as if it were a sandwich, it chooses the ingredients one by one according to consumer tastes.
In this space two of the great passions of its creators are combined: food and books. You can enjoy their popular carrot cake accompanied with coffee, and you can wonder at the latest gastronomic fanzine or the Vermouth book-object La Más Bella.
But that’s not all: these versatile designers also serve beer, organize concerts, panel discussions, and publish books.
“Creativity is a sensitivity that enables us to adapt to changes”, says Virginia. And it is in the versatility of its founders and the return to the roots where the true essence of this project is found.
More than a year ago Virginia and her partner decided to take this step to the traditional: everything happened as they were walking through the market to check that a stand there could be the ideal physical space to develop the project they had in mind. This contextualization of the work is a long way from presenting a disadvantage for them and their business, so you just have to realize that from the Roman Forum or the Arab market, the market is established as one of the hubs of the citizens’ social life. Thanks to the market’s nature as a meeting point, it is not the first time that they experience what the buyers who come looking for their services are like.
“It’s about another way of understanding our work and being inspired by our surroundings.”
It is precisely the being part of the market that allows them to create this added value (they had already become the most cultural part of it and almost 100% of their publications are based and feed on it), “the idea is to return to the environment that provides for us”.
So it is not strange that the rest of the merchants feel surprised when Sandwich Mixto has not organized a concert or some other activity, and they come to ask for more; that the neighbourhood ladies win their omelette contests; or that for a toga party all the neighbourhood turns up dressed up as Romans.
We are talking about a return to the everyday life, the trades and sensations, with a project loaded with certain nostalgia towards human labour. But above all it is a project based on a return to simple pleasures, like having a beer while reading a book.
All this happens in a pure and folkloric spirit which is present in every activity. The ode to the local is part of their philosophy and it can be found both in their gastronomic offer, with products as typical as a slice of omelette or a beer, and in their publications, which are required to be national and self-published.
You do not have to go very far to find the real talent; sometimes it is just around the corner, in the middle of the market and as a sandwich, made with a good dose of creativity, imagination and a familiar and authentic taste.
If you want to visit Sandwich Mixto
Calle de Santa Isabel, 5, Anton Martin Market, Madrid
Metro Anton Martin
Bestsellers Restaurant Spanish omelette, carrot cake
Bestsellers Editorial Chuck Norris – fanzine, Vermouth – fanzine