It is said that one cannot be in two places at once. Sometimes though, the heart does not follow what is said; my heart is always in two places at once. For me, growing up was an interesting experience. My mom, a newcomer to Canada in every way, raised me in Coquitlam the only way she knew how – as an Italian. As a child growing up in Canada, my first experiences were…Italian. My first meals were Italian, my first words were Italian, my first T.V. shows were Italian.
Some of my earliest memories were of Italian songs on the radio while my mom prepared dinner for family and friends. The table was always full, not just of wonderful food, but of life and laughter.
Every summer, after the school year was over, I would board a plane on my own and travel from Vancouver to Italy. An attendant would escort this little girl through the airport until she was received by her Italian family, always with open arms and a kiss waiting. From there, I would travel to my mom’s hometown, Sperlonga. My summers in Sperlonga were the visions one conjures when thinking of Italy: Sun-soaked, the cobblestone of small towns, beaches, and only the freshest ingredients at each meal. Each summer was simply magic. I would play with my cousins, go for bike rides along the sea, and meet friends in the piazza. Not only that, when it was time to gather to prepare the family meal, it was there I learned the secrets of a true Italian kitchen with my Nonna and Zia.
These women were masters of the cucina, carefully and expertly handling every ingredient. Every turn, every fold, every pinch of salt had its purpose, and the food was made with love and passion. Seeing them at work inspired me and grew in me not just a love of food, but a love to share it with friends and family. Those summers left a mark on me, and my heart remained in Italy.
Vancouver has also given me so many things that have shaped my love and passion for food. The diversity of cultures and the thriving local markets inspire me daily. It is no secret that Vancouver boasts some of the most natural beauty in the world. I am always filled with pride when visitors come to Vancouver and are in awe of the scenery we get to enjoy every day. The natural elements and the blend of cultures provide an endless source of creativity and experiences to share. I am fortunate to live in Vancouver with friends, family, and the opportunities that wait. Vancouver has given me so much, and my heart is in Vancouver.
As one can see, my heart truly seems to be in two places at once. My love and passion for food dwells in the traditions of the Italian seaside and kitchen, and the vibrancy and diversity of Vancouver. This is why I started this blog, as it makes my heart whole. Here I can share with you all the things that matter most to me: Food, family, my heritage, and my love of creating dishes inspired by tradition and new experiences. Along the way I will share stories and recipes that I hope will bring happiness to your life. I hope that my passion for food makes its way to your heart. And, if I’m fortunate, perhaps I will inspire you to bring your friends and family to your table, to share in each other’s company, and to live and love. Buon Appetito.