La Tienda de Plácido y Grata is a place where you can discover an exclusive and delicious gastronomic offer by enjoying the aperitif, lunch or dinner, or getting some of the products from our deli shop to take away.
Casa Orzáez it is a meeting point between conscious citizens and raw food, a proximity store based on the Slow Food philosophy where you can also sit down to try their products, including the cheeses that are available at La Tienda de Plácido y Grata. This is how they like to define this project that is currently moving to a new location where they can give shape to all their ideas. Behind this gastronomic initiative is Mare Nostrum, a family dairy workshop that has 20 years of experience in the production of raw cheeses, made with raw goat milk of native breed in the Sierra Norte of Seville.
The Mare Nostrum cheese platter is one of the great hits from our menu, and no wonder, since it is an incredible way to pamper our palate in the most natural and healthy way, surprising it with a great richness of flavors full of nuances and textures.
How did this delightful adventure begin?
Our mother, María Orzáez, has always been a pioneer, so she laid the first foundations of the project that brought the four of us together. 20 years ago, she decided to take a radical turn in his life, bought a piece of land in the countryside and went to France to learn how to make cheeses. But not just any regular cheese; this is an ancestral technology of slow lactic coagulation that requires humidity and controlled temperatures, hence the challenge of making it in the northern mountains in Seville. Working with raw milk and our own natural ferments was crazy at that time, to say the least. We grew up with that philosophy of defending things that are alive; safeguarding biodiversity with an environmentally friendly production, of hard work and trust in what we do, with criteria and an iron will.
Casa Orzáez arrived in 2016 as the visible face of our Mare Nostrum dairy workshop. Since we sold almost all our production outside Andalusia, the idea was to find a space in our hometown where we could raise awareness about the way we understand food, based on the Slow Food movement, of which we have been taking part for years and advocates for good, clean and fair food. With that intention, the three siblings came back from Barcelona; it was a risky venture, but it has made us immensely happy.
How did the project evolve over time?
Seville is not an easy place, much less when we opened 6 years ago. Since then, our space has evolved as we did; we are always in constant motion. From the beginning, our space has evolved as we did. We are always in constant movement, now we are just in a moment of change, of growth, so we decided to change location to a place with more possibilities to develop all the ideas we have, which are many! We like to create. In the beginning, we only had the shop and made tastings with raw cheeses and natural wines. Then, we realized the lack of places in the city where to enjoy a good breakfast with local and seasonal foods, the ones that are real, not avocados from Brazil’s season. From Málaga, and only in winter. We had these local products on our shelves and we thought about adding some tables so the customers could try them any time: from fresh cheese toast for breakfast to seasonal salads with cheese boards at noon.
It was a big risk since; not only were they different products but also more costly. This is the downside of making things right. We had to re-educate the customers and show them that there are other options. Bread or milk do not have to sit badly if they are good. Once they sat down and tried it, the products just spoke for themselves. This way, we closed the circle and inspired people to return to their kitchen at home and transform those products. That has been our greatest challenge, the best learning and the most satisfactory result: the food sovereignty of those who walk through our door. It’s a matter of choices.
Our mouths are watering just looking at that rich variety of raw cheeses… Can you tell us a little about their production?
Raw-milk chesses are actually alive. Small producers like us are committed to manual production processes in which respect for an exceptional material like raw milk material is paramount. This is one of our premises, we only work with this kind of products. Another essential value is that milk must come from extensive stock farming, where the biodiversity of the environment is safeguarded and the balance between animals and the environment is guaranteed. So we talk about local cheeses, which speak of the culture from the place they are from and are unique for their origin and transformation. This limits the search, but ensures success. Today we change many of them according to their season (which they also have) and we are glad that there are more and more references because many producers want to do things right. That gives us hope and allows us to enjoy them. They are simply delicious! In the new venue, we want to work more in the kitchen including such valuable products.
Do we feel like eating good, proximity produce when we are better informed?
When you turn on the light bulb and see what’s around, there’s no turning back. Not only because you are informed, but because there is no catch with food: you know when it feels good, and then the body just asks for it. That’s what happens with raw food. When we started making fermented food, many people with digestive problems that manifested in their mood, as stress, exhaustion or bloating, started eating them without much expectation. Now they come to thank us and ask us about the next one from the season.
Listening to your body and knowing how to take care of yourself, and the responsibility we have with our planet, are essential elements. There are no more excuses when it comes to buying fruit and vegetables that come from the other side of the Atlantic. That impoverishes us all: the environment, the producers who do not receive a fair price for their work, your local producers who throw away surplus food or are forced to sell their organic tomatoes in Germany, while you get them from Peru. As our mother says, that’s a ridiculous effect of globalization. And it happens with all foods. It is essential to be aware of how our decisions have consequences, and in order to be meaningful we need to be informed to know what we bring to our table. That is an increasing concern, and there we are, always trying to reach more people.
How did the idea of working with Plácido and Grata come about?
We just love your space! When we opened 6 years ago, we were basically alone in the city, without any reference partner who shared our values. We came from working in markets in Barcelona, where we saw beautiful synergies that were created across different projects that had something in common: entrepreneurship, enthusiasm and the vision to do new and necessary things. So, when we saw your beautiful hotel we said: finally. And so we have been teaming up with other beautiful projects in the city, to give Seville the life it deserves. And more things we will create together!
In your manifesto you advocate for the slow food movement in a world that is going faster and faster. Plácido y Grata is “a place where time does not exist” and all the elements contribute to that experience. Do you feel that we are approaching a model of slow living?
Of course. Globalization and the frenetic pace we are living at is unsustainable for the planet and also for ourselves. Everything that brings in calm, care, pampering, close connections, making a stop on the way to enjoy; this is the future and it’s happening now. Places like ours make a difference; they make people want to stay longer. But the discourse must be coherent and honest, if not, it is a charade. That’s where the real intention shows: these projects are what will mark the way to that dreamed slow living. Creating a comprehensive project is one of the main reasons why we are changing venues.
How is the experience at the store from Plácido y Grata?
Well, you tell us! (laughing). On our side, we feel happy to have our raw cheeses in such a neat space. This is the first store in Seville we have worked with since we opened, and we are confident that the product is taken care of, that the guests who sit at the table will appreciate it and enjoy it, and that is the most important thing. We are sure that we share many customers, because when they tell us that they have seen our cheeses at the store from Plácido y Grata, it’s always with a smile, so that’s a good sign!
Which products can we find at the Store and why are they distinctive?
Every time we make a new cheese platter for a restaurant, a store or a client, we customize it for that project. We ask ourselves about the people who are going to pass through their doors and we try to make a unique selection. For the store, we were clear that we wanted cheeses that are different: risky, delicious and with character. Something that could be shared among friends, family members or couples and would be remembered, just like the hotel.
And lastly, can you share some delicious ideas to serve on our tables and picnics this spring?
Spring is synonymous with flowers and summer is just around the corner, bringing in fresh fruits. Salads with young cheeses, seasonal fruits such as strawberries, apricots or cherries, flowers and green leaves of the likes of mint, cappuccinos or basil are a real must. We prepare them for our table and recommend making them at home or taking them to the park! Serving them on a platter of lactic cheeses drizzled with olive oil from La Cultivada or one of the canned preserves you have at the store makes for a perfect dinner; very complete, also at a nutritional level. That’s what we like the most about cooking; the possibilities are always endless.