Unlike cured meats, cheese is constantly evolving. From young and bland, it goes on to develop mature flavours until it reaches its apex. A fixed moment in time when it’s at its best before beginning its descent. A well-made cheese is a metaphor of life as much as it is a food. A memorable cheese has to be good from when it is a mere tingle in a teat. Every step is essential to the end result. The artisan plays an important role, helping the cheese through its transformation to the point that it’s ready to be sent off.
To be received by yet another essential player in the chain, the affineur. Part scientist part artist, coaxing the cheese to be the best it can be until you get to eat it.
That is a glimpse into artisanal cheese maker but there is so much more. And yet – I feel cheese does not receive the respect it deserves. Not in Spain. In contrast, I was in Toulouse this summer where I watched the quiet awe with which customers perused the displays at the renowned cheese shop Xavier. The extraordinary care the staff took to wrap up the cheese.
Probably because a supermarket Manchego is perfectly edible or maybe a result of spending all their disposable income on Jamon and seafood – cheese doesn’t get a significant look in. Which makes finding a great cheese shop a reason to rejoice.
Fromagerie Luc is just off Plaça de la Llibertat. A small shop with antique looking refrigerator cabinets and a large marble slab where the cheese is wrapped. Opened 4 years ago by a Frenchman, they supply restaurants in the city, people in the neighborhood. As the owner, Luc told the online magazine: Plateselector “French residents come to fill their fridges whilst Spanish people come when they have a special occasion.” The result? This cheese shop goes from strength to strength.
And if you, like me, can’t quite wait to unwrap your purchases at home – there are a couple of seats at the window where you can sit and enjoy your cheese.
Fromagerie Can Luc
Calle Berga, 4