In talks with: Sissi Semprini
Last week we were lucky enough to be invited to an exclusive event held in a beautiful private home, just a few minutes’ walk from Little Venice. Showcasing a seasonal selection of originàrio’s handcrafted cuisine, along with its unique range of limited edition wines, the evening was a celebration of hitherto rarely imported produce from Italy.
So what actually is originàrio all about? As its Founder Sissi Semprini tells me, originàrio is a digital destination for food and wine lovers where uniquely exceptional Italian products can be obtained. Created by an Italian woman for those passionate about quality and sustainability, I felt particularly close to this brand – being an Italian woman myself – which although still in its early days, is already being credited for its innovation in the realms of food startups. originàrio is responsible for sourcing some of Italy’s rarest and most exquisite food and wine and making it accessible outside of Italy for the very first time. Not even available to purchase in any Italian supermarket or specialist food outlet, until now some of these ingredients have only been available to Michelin starred chefs via word of mouth or a special connection. This brand has effectively bridged the gap between the extraordinarily well informed restaurant professional and those of us who simply want to discover new products and eat well. What’s more, via the originàrio website us appassionati can discover more about the extraordinary produce and the inspiring stories about their artisanal producers. I met with originàrio Founder Sissi Semprini to find out a bit more about this concept inspired by love, passion and ambition.
Can you tell us about your background and how ended up creating originàrio? I’m originally from Tuscany, which is where some of Italy’s most superb food and drink can be found, so I guess that has a part to play in my passion for gastronomy. My background is primarily in communications and in addition to food; I’ve always been really interested in sustainability and innovation. I’ve been thinking a lot about a way to contribute to allow our extraordinary food producers the recognition they deserve. Three years ago I started thinking that maybe technology could be a means on which to build a project. Last year seemed the perfect time to do so.
Tell us more about the brand, what is its ethos? originàrio’s ethos is very much at the heart of the brand, it’s all about supporting small producers who are making high quality food and drink using sustainable, ethical methods in wonderful locations across Italy. Despite the beautiful produce these men and women are creating, they often don’t have the resources to promote themselves further than their regions. We’ve made it our mission to spread the word about these craftspeople, to make this produce accessible to as many food and wine lovers as possible, and now people all across the EU can buy it, which for me is really exciting.
How do you source your products and the producers you work with? Sourcing our products takes time because we visit every producer to discover everything we can about them first. It’s always such a lovely experience, to meet the people behind the food and drink, watch how they work and learn about methods of making food which are often incredibly charming and intricate in order to achieve the best quality possible.
All of our producers have a lovely story to tell about how they came to be doing what they do, whether they’ve taken over production from their parents or grandparents or perhaps it’s something they started doing to fulfil a lifelong dream; there’s always so much to learn. We want people who experience the originàrio food and drink to know their stories, it’s the only way to understand the passion and skill required to make produce of this quality.
Can you find originàrio products outside of the originàrio website? Mostly only in Italy and even then it’s not as simple as visiting the local supermarket or market to buy them. A number of our producers only sell their produce in their region, so if you really want to get hold of it you have to travel to quite remote locations. We’ve made most of this food and drink available outside of the country for the very first time.
“originàrio’s ethos is very much at the heart of the brand, it’s all about supporting small producers who are making high quality food and drink using sustainable, ethical methods in wonderful locations across Italy.”
What are the next steps for the brand? At the moment the produce can only be purchased as part of seasonal tasting boxes. Next steps will be to launch in September a subscription to the Tasting Box. Subscribers will then also be able to buy the originàrio food and drink items individually. Of course we’re always on the search for new and exciting producers and to ensure as many food and wine lovers possible know about originàrio.
What makes originàrio so unique is the fact that these products have never been available outside of Italy before until now. We left the event very satisfied with the wonderful dinner that chef Luca Zampa created for the occasion. Using only originàrio products, I felt proud knowing that these very unique homemade Italian products are now available for those who really want to taste good (Italian) food, for perhaps the first time ever, outside of Italy.
May 26th 2016