Wednesday, June 8, 2011

La Formatgeria la Seu

Tucked away in one of the narrow alleys that weave their way through Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is a tiny cheese store, La Formatgeria la Seu, that has developed a devoted following.

The store opened in 2000 on the site of one of Barcelona’s first butter-making factories. The owner, Katherine McLaughlin, formerly of Scotland, has travelled all over rural Spain, visiting farms and getting to know traditional cheesemakers.

Farmhouse cheeses
The store carries 20 to 25 farmhouse cheeses from small producers. The number varies, depending on the season and the availability. Katherine only purchases what she believes is good in terms of each cheese and its maturing age. For example, the Manchego has been aged for at least 6 months and must be unpasteurized.

I lunched on Queso de la Serena, an unpasteurized sheep’s milk cheese from Extremadura in southeast Spain. It was wonderful – runny and creamy with a sour note that gave it personality.

La Formatgeria la Seu offers tastings by appointment for small groups of 1 to 8 people on Friday and Saturday afternoons.

Bar Zim
Katherine, in partnership with her sister Mary and Francesc Mas Gutierrez, has recently opened a small wine bar next door to La Formatgeria. Bar Zim is a tiny bar with a huge personality and, if their choice of wine is anywhere near as good as Katherine’s choice of cheese, it must be extraordinary.

Values
La Formatgeria la Seu personifies so many of the values that I believe in. Katherine loves cheese and she has taken the time to know and understand the cheese-making process throughout Spain. Katherine knows each of the cheesemakers by name.

The store may be small with a limited number of cheeses, but each one of them is excellent.

Thank you, Katherine, for telling me about your store and sharing some of your cheeses with me. I only wish that we had a similar store where I live.

Barcelona
Click on the following photograph for a slideshow of Barcelona architecture:
Barcelona Architecture

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