What do you get when you mix a creative merchant Italian family from Sanza, Italy, south of Salerno; and a food-loving Spanish family from a small town called Navia on the coast of Asturias; and the place them right smack in the middle of a cultural melting pot…Argentina?
Growing up working with his father, Sabino Ciorciari, who owned businesses ranging from petroleum and fresh fish transportation to automobile tire importing, Manuel acquired a good entrepreneurial sense that took him on a journey of businesses that eventually landed him in the United States.
His mother, Aurora Dolores Garcia, an ardent lover of life with all its simplicities, music, food, and nature, would venture through the family garden picking fresh vegetables and fruit, making daily trips to meat and fish markets, farmers markets, and bakeries. She always looked for the freshest ingredients to prepare meals that were beyond food. These gatherings became celebrations. While making feasts for the family of traditional Spanish Asturian dishes, such as Fabada Asturiana (a rich stew made with large white beans, pork shoulder, bacon, morcilla, chorizo, and saffron), Faba Beans with Clams and Estofados, Aurora Dolores shared her passion for all Spanish cuisine, from Paella and Gazpacho to Tortilla de Patatas and Gambas al Ajillo. Such was her love for food and culture that she even embraced her husband's southern Italian background and his appreciation of good, hand-made fresh pastas and seafood. Hungry yet?
As if that were not enough of a culinary potpourri, add the Argentine devotion to the grand Asados (Barbeques) with vast components including Chorizos, Morcillas, Chinchulines, Mollejas, and the national addiction to Dulce de Leche and Yerba Mate, which you can find in almost every single home and restaurant, and now you have a GauchoGourmet!
GauchoGourmet is our desire to share with every family what our family has been enjoying for generations. While we cannot send you the dishes already made, we attempt to share the best ingredients we find in the market. The food of Spanish origin includes everything from Jamon Serrano, Spanish Chorizos, Manchego Cheese to Balsamic Vinegar, Saffron–Azafrán, and Piquillo Peppers. The Italian food products range from Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil to Espresso Coffee and Coffee Makers, along with an extensive list of Argentine delicacies, including Dulce de Leche, Dulce de Batata, Dulce de Membrillo, Chorizos Parrilleros, Morcillas, Sal Parrillera, Empanada Shells, Chimichurri, and a vast line of Yerba Mate Tea (the largest selection in the United States) and related Yerba Mate products featuring Mates, Bombillas, Termos, Matermos, and Mate books.
You will notice that a big part of our store highly focuses on Yerba Mate Tea and everything Yerba Mate encompasses. Why? Simply because in addition to Yerba Mate being part of our history, tradition, and daily lives, Yerba Mate Tea is now in high demand throughout the world because of its wonderful health benefits, symbolism, and ritual of friendship and community. For us, drinking Yerba Mate begins at an early age. While most societies prevent children from developing a coffee drinking habit at an early age, for us in Argentina, drinking mate is part of our childhood diet. Take a look at Francisco, one of many Mama Cuqui's grandchildren. As you walk in the streets of Argentina, it is very common to see students, business people, and young and old folks walking around with the Gourd: Mate, and Termo in hand. The Mate Gourd holds a dear place in every home and business. It is a companion to help us get through the daily hassle of our lives by not only delighting us with its unique natural flavor, but also by giving us a constant soothing boost, maintaining our mind's alertness, nourishing us with vast amounts of vitamins and minerals, and helping keep our weight under control.
We want to share all of this with you in the simplest manner possible just as if you were to come into our home and enjoy it with us. Manuel raised three boys, and lived a very fulfilling and joyful life, and those who knew him know that his faith and family was his heart and priority. Manuel was a very welcoming, kind and generous person. He held a strong passion for engaging people in conversations and thus built a very strong network of over 10,000 customers that we now call "neighbors." Manuel left this world on February 13, 2007, at 64 years of age, but remains dearly missed. The tradition now continues with his beloved wife of over 40 years, Mama Cuqui (Cookie) and her sons. Juan Manuel, overseeing all aspects of service operations, and her youngest son Luciano, who handles all purchasing and selling, and Luciano’s wife Sylvia, in charge of website maintenance and marketing. In one way or another, the entire family is involved at some point. We are just what you see, nothing less, nothing more. We are people dealing with people, sharing our passion for great food, traditions, and life.