BCAE Instructor Spotlight: Marianne Staniunas

Posted by Marie Scarfo on Mon, Mar 20, 2017


Our Instructor Spotlight Series continues! The latest instructor, featured in our May/June catalog, is Marianne Staniunas, BCAE Tasting instructor and expert on all things cheese, wine, and honey! Catch the full interview right here, and stay tuned for more awesome details about our even more awesome instructors.

BCAE: First off, welcome to the BCAE! Tell us a little about yourself.
MARIANNE: I am an attorney who decided to seek out a different quality of life, almost four years ago, when I left private practice for the cheese and wine world - which had always fascinated me - beginning work with Formaggio Kitchen South End.  I still use my legal training to do pro bono legal work and volunteer work on the side and feel that I have achieved more of the balance in life I was looking for.

BCAE: What do you love most about teaching?
MARIANNE: My favorite thing about teaching, is being able to share information, flavors, experiences about and with things that I love with others.

InstructorSpotlight_MarianneStaniunas-1.jpgBCAE: So, you’re a cheesemonger, wine buyer, honey expert & beekeeper. How did you get into these trades?
MARIANNE: As I mentioned, I started out as an attorney with an interest in wine and cheese and food generally.  I had become an attorney because I wanted to help people, but after working in several different roles over more than eight years, I realized that I wasn't using my degree to help people in the ways that I had hoped.  I became disillusioned with the whole attorney life and lifestyle, and decided to make an abrupt shift on my career path. 

Working at Formaggio opened up so many opportunities for me to learn about all kinds of artisanal foods - from wine, to cheese, to honey - and for me to become more knowledgable in all of these areas.  I am the Honey Buyer for the South End Shop (as well as a buyer of several other products), a cheesemonger, and assistant to the Wine Buyer.  Working at Formaggio also has allowed me to pursue other interests, from using my legal degree to do the kind of pro bono legal work that is meaningful to me, to do additional volunteer work, and to pick up some other hobbies. 

I got into beekeeping as a result of my endeavors to learn more about the production side of honey - both in my role as Honey Buyer, and as part of some of the volunteer work I do for a non-profit in Uganda that was starting an apiary.  I was fortunate to get connected with The Best Bees Company here in the South End; I had a beehive last season, and the folks at Best Bees manage several additional hives for both the South End and Cambridge Formaggio shops.  My bees did not make it through the winter, but I am excited to try again this season.

BCAE: What’s your favorite thing about beekeeping? What do you find to be the most challenging?
MARIANNE: I still consider myself a novice beekeeper - I think it takes years and years of practice to move on from that status! - but my favorite thing about beekeeping is the bees.  Bees are incredible and the functioning of the beehive as a super-organism still boggles my mind.  There is so much to learn about how bees work, the challenges they face, and there are so many difficult decisions to make as a beekeeper, regarding when and how to intervene, and when to just observe.  The biggest challenge for me, is trying to figure out that intervention piece.

BCAE: Unfair question, but we have to know: what’s your favorite cheese?
MARIANNE: My favorite cheese??  Cheese is made by living organisms, and so every wheel is a little different - even when you use the exact same recipe, and provide the same aging conditions.  For me, that means that various cheeses move in and out of my "top five," depending on the flavors, textures, etc. of a given wheel.  That being said, one cheese that I always come back to as a standby is Colston-Bassett Stilton - a rich, earthy, musty, mouth-wateringly delicious cow's milk blue from Nottingham in England.  


Take a class with Marianne!

Inside Honey: The Bee's Cheese

Spring Cheese & Wine

Spanish Cheeses & Sherry

Honey Tasting & The Basics of Beekeeping

Artisan Olive Oil & Vinegars: A Tasting Tour



Topics: BCAE classes, wine, spring, things to do in Boston, wine education, Wine classes Boston, Spring activities in Boston, boston things to do, wine class Boston, wine tasting, Boston classes, beekeeping, urban beekeeping, Spring Classes at the BCAE, Wine & Spirits, BCAE Tasting classes, Boston Tastings, Boston Tasting classes, cheese, honey, BCAE Tastings, things to do in Spring in Boston

Spring is Here: Let's Get Walking

Posted by Kim Wieczner on Thu, May 08, 2014

Spring has finally arrived in Boston! And as Boston has been noted for being a wonderfully walkable city, we are pounding the pavement to explore some of our favorite Boston neighborhoods by foot!

 A Walking Tour of the South End - May 13, 2014

You may have been to the South End...for dinner? Maybe a night of theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts? But how much do you know about the neighborhood beyond that, about it's history? Did you know there is a burial ground from 1810? Dive into the South End you never realized existed with this tour on May 13th.

 South End Boston neighborhood

A Walking Tour of Beacon Hill: The North Slope - May 20, 2014

In addition to being home to some of our Boston-based politicians, Beacon Hill has a colorful cultural history, having been home to a wide variety of ethnic communities. Beacon Hill's North Slope is packed with sites to see, and this tour will go through the works, including an array of 19th century townhouses and a visit to the Boston Center for Jewish Heritage's historic Vilna Shul, Boston's oldest surviving immigrant-era synagogue.

Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston

A Walking Tour of Bay Village and the Theatre District - June 10, 2014

We here at the BCAE consider Bay Village home, but even we don't know all the fun facts about this fascinating neighborhood! This tour will give you the backstory to some of the most familiar (or so we thought!) landmarks, like the Castle, constructed in the 1890s, and the iconic Park Plaza Hotel. Go beyond Park Square to check out the "mini" red brick Beacon Hill row houses and former fire station of Bay Village before moving on to the Theatre District and its rich architectural history.

Theatre District Boston neighborhood

Bay Village Boston neighborhood

A Walking Tour of Fort Point Channel Neighborhood - June 17, 2014

Fort Point is quickly becoming a modern, trendy part of Boston, with newsworthy businesses and restaurants popping up so quickly, we can hardly keep track. Pastoral, a recent addition and favorite of pizza lovers, is no exception, giving Bostonians and tourists yet another reason to head across the channel. In this exciting summer walking tour, you will see past the shiny new exterior and get a glimpse into the history and the amazing transformation that has occurred. Did you know Fort Point was also the birthplace of the safety razor and Valentine's Day candy hearts?! 

Fort Point neighborhood of Boston

For more details on all of these walking tours and to sign up, head to our website.

Topics: BCAE, things to do in Boston, Boston walking tours, Boston neighborhoods, Spring activities in Boston, Boston Center for Adult Education