‘Noo fotos’ she said in her Scottish brogue, as I was happily snapping shots in the cheese room at Formatgeria La Seu, a cheese shop in the narrow streets of the Gothic quarter in Barcelona.
‘Just enjoy the cheese’ Katherine the owner implored. She’d put up the ‘No fotos’ sign three years ago out of frustration with people coming in and automatically taking photos.
‘They even had them on their heads! Moving this way and that!’ The go pros had been the last straw and since then, there’s been a policy of no photos. Not for me, not for her brother, not even the folks at Neal’s Yard Dairy she laughed.
You’ve got to admire her attitude. A Spanish tour guide once told her she’d never make any money, restricting tourists this way. ‘Pah!’ She said, ‘what does she know?’
Her unconventional response is emblematic of her commitment to small, local producers, her humour and her independence. How apt for a Scot in the heart of Catalonia.
‘It’s a public holiday tomorrow,’ she said with a twinkle in her eye, ‘Spanish National day. So all the Catalans’ [shops] will be open… I’ll be open,’ she grinned.
Along with cheese, Catherine offers great tasting platters. I had three cheeses and a glass of wine for €3, just standing at her counter chatting away. Her standing plates are like a painter’s palette with a hole for your thumb and one for the glass. She’d got them made when you could stand outside in the street, but now that’s not allowed, they work well in the small space of her shop (sorry no photo of the plate, not allowed). The cheeses were delicious and I took home four more which I devoured that night back at my AirBnB, hence the photos.
She’s also well known for her cheese ice creams, the flavours that day were smoked and blue cheese. Small and perfectly formed, cool and delicious.
‘Don’t bother with a photo’ she laughed, remembering a tourist who’d spent 20 minutes trying to get the perfect shot whilst ice cream melted down his arm, ‘just enjoy the cheese!’
Formatgeria La Seu,
Carrer Dagueria 16