Walk into the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle these days and the first thing that grabs your attention is the aroma. No, not of coffee roasting...
“I am most passionate about bringing my knowledge [of tasting] to consumers, “said an enthusiastic Orietta Gianjorio, a native Italian from Rome, when describing her motivation and drive for tasting. “My Italian values are shopping for the best ingredients, conviviality around the table, and slowing down to enjoy food,” she added.
Gianjorio will be hosting an Olive Oil Tasting and Seminar on Friday, September 4th from 5:30 to 7:30pm in Little Italy’s Italian Cultural Center. The program will be divided into an educational and informative, practical information session, and will offer participants a guided tasting of four olive oils. The event will include how olive is produced, what makes it Extra Virgin, what to look for when shopping and a question and answer session.
“I’m on a mission here,” said a smiling Gianjorio, adding “I want to help Americans slow down, be in the moment and enjoy looking at, smelling and tasting foods, wines and olive oils.” The passionate tasting professional was born and raised in Rome, and moved to California in 2008. Since then, she has been active creating, producing and hosting several TV shows, besides leading tasting and cooking classes. She is also busy conducting food and wine tours in Italy and is working on another children’s book, as well as a first novel.
Having graduated summa cum laude in Film Studies Gianjorio holds a Master’s Degree in the discipline of Editorial and Journalism. She also has a Diploma of Sommelier from the Associazione Italiana Sommeliers of Italy with 15 years’ experience and a Certificate of Olive Oil Taster of 6 years’ experience. She is the Delegate in the greater Sacramento area for the Academia Italiana della Cucina, a Panel Taste Member of the California Olive Oil Council, the Applied Sensory Olive Oil and the Mars Chocolate-UC Davis Chocolate Panels.
She also serves the Honey and Pollination Center, and has served as an international judge for several wine and olive oil competitions around the world. As a member of the Associazione Italiana Giornalisti (Italian Journalist Association) and of the Actors Guild in Italy, she was also a member for five years of the former UC Davis Olive Oil Taste Panel.
The tasting connoisseur suggests approaching food like a taster: “with love, curiosity, appreciation and fun.” She advocates learning how to taste like a taster, being in the moment, admiring shapes and colors, appreciating differing aromas and anticipating the passion of a single bite. In so doing, consumers could understand the value of high quality ingredients and shift their attention from quantity to quality. “Learning to shop for quality ingredients while having fun, cooking together, and sitting down to share the experience of a meal, consumers enjoy the conviviality of the table and start considering food a joy and not only a physical necessity.”
During her tastings and cooking classes, she educates consumers on quality standards, motivating them to retrain their senses and focus on simple recipes for everyday home cooking. She strives to inspire her patrons to take the time to enjoy food and wine as an overall leisure experience, to be shared with friends and family. Her motto is “forget the nonsense and retrain the senses.” The “nonsense” is today’s beauty trends that promote counting calories or nutritional values, and the fast paced society that encourages consuming enormous portions of prepackaged food “on the go.”
In addition to Gianjorio’s public tastings, the gastronomic aficionado offers a professional website, complete with additional knowledge of other tastings, recommended books, and cooking classes. “Like drops of excellent wine and olive transform your meals, drops of knowledge can forever enhance your culinary pleasures,” she assures her internet visitors. Here she discusses Olive Cultivars, the difference between Virgin, Pure and Refined Oils and a special section on Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO).
Her cooking classes offer Spaghetti e Polpette, Ragu alla Bolognese and Gnocchi e Ragu to name a few dishes. She also lists culinary trips to Sicily, Rome, with asides to other towns which offer Polenta, Insalate and Tiramisu courses. “The offerings can be enjoyed in the comfort of your own venue, from small parties to large events, even incorporating team building events and company parties.