##Meet Bertrand Mazurier: the Parisian turned Valencian with a passion for good cheese and wine. Resident in Spain since 1999, he moved from Dénia where he was making ceramics to set up his stall ‘Solo Queso’ at Mercado de Ruzafa (Ruzafa Market) in 2011. Nine years later and he’s still serving the freshest cheese and tastiest wines. We asked him about his story, how he set up ‘Solo Queso’ and what his favourite cheese and wines are.
24/7 Valencia: Tell us about your background and how you set up your cheese and wine stall, ‘Solo Queso’.
Bertrand Mazurier of ‘Solo Queso’: I studied at an art school in Paris, where I learnt about photography and textile design, and for one year in Halifax, Canada. When I came to Spain I was living in Dénia making ceramics with my girlfriend at the time. We made big pieces like tables and sold them to architects. Ceramics were very difficult to make a living from. Dénia was too small so, when I separated from my girlfriend, I wanted to move to either Alicante or Valencia and I chose Valencia! I looked for a job in a wine bar and I worked there for three years. Before art, it was always my passion. While I was living in Paris I was always in the wine bar, tasting wine and cheese. When I was working here in a wine bar in Valencia called La Lluerna, now Rodamón, I studied to be a sommelier: an official wine-tasting expert. You’re responsible for the wine and you have to learn a lot. My dream was to have my own wine bar with wine and cheese. Next week, I will have had my own stall for nine years!
Can you tell us about your products?
All the cheese I sell is Spanish and bought directly from the farmers; it’s all fresh. I have craft cheese made from raw milk (leche cruda). The product is alive; it’s not like industrial cheese from the supermarket with a lot of chemical products in. Supermarket cheese can last longer but it the taste is not good. This is real taste. The cheese is made once every day or once a week. And every time it’s different. The cheese you’re making in autumn, or winter, or summer is different because the animal is different. The fat of the milk can be more or less and the taste is different. The same with the wine; the wine of this year is not the same as the wine of last year, if it’s a craft wine. It’s interesting because you see the difference.
What do you enjoy about working here?
I like working here because I enjoy talking with my customers and I have all the afternoon free; my stall is open from about 8 until 2:30. I work with restaurants too, mostly in Valencia and one in Dénia. Not a lot of restaurants, but good restaurants. I provide them with wine and cheese. I’m working alone; I don’t have a boss. I don’t have people who work for me and I do what I want. I choose my wine, my cheese; it’s all my responsibility. It’s good.
What is your favourite cheese and your favourite wine?
I love El Gauc: a blue cheese from Girona. It’s made from cow’s milk and the taste is not too strong. It’s very easy to eat and very creamy, almost like butter. It’s very moreish. Granizo is very nice too; it’s made with black truffle and goat’s milk. The taste of the cheese and truffle is very well-balanced; you can taste more of the cheese than the truffle. They put too much black truffle in a lot of cheeses like this.
For wine, ‘Le Mouton Noir’ is one of the new red wines I have and I love it. It’s from Mâcon, south of Burgundy. It’s made from the ‘gamay’ grape: a purple-coloured grape used to make red wines. ‘Climat – L’Échenault de Serre Mâcon Chardonnay (2017)’ is a very good white wine. It’s from Mâcon too, from the village of Chardonnay.
Can you tell us about your ‘weekly selection’ that you post about on your Facebook page?
Every week I choose a wine; one week it’s a red and the next week a white. I look for three cheeses that match well with the wine to make a good combination. The lady I served just now ordered one to send to her daughter tomorrow. Guys who work at the market deliver them around Valencia by bicycle.
How have you had to adapt your business due to coronavirus?
Now I wear a mask and use hand sanitiser often, like everybody. The market has always been open so I didn’t have to close my stall because I sell food so it’s necessary. April was a very good month; there were a lot of people shopping here. May was also good but after that it was a bit less than normal. It is more or less the same as normal now. From Monday to Thursday it is quieter, but Friday and Saturday get busier.
What’s the most popular cheese and wine that you sell?
Mahón from Menorca and Marianne from Galicia are both popular. I have only Spanish and French wines. It’s unique; it’s only me in Valencia who has these French wines! I get them directly from France, from Burgundy, because I don’t want to have the same wine as everybody. The same for the cheese.
Later this month I’ll be changing the name to ‘No Solo Queso’, because I sell more than just cheese!
Solo Queso, Ruzafa Market, Plaza Barón de Cortés, 46005, Valencia
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Specialty-Grocery-Store/Solo-Queso-290231287660232/
Words and photos: Anna Hart
Copyright 24/7 Valencia