Articles by: N. L.

  • Dining in & out

    Gelato - Ice Cream - Sorbet

    Gelato is gelato and ice cream is a totally different thing: it is easy to fall in the trap of thinking that actually one is the synonym of the other but in all truth they are two different things. We all experience an uncontrollable desire for something cold and sweet yet not too fattening so gelato and/or ice cream immediately come to mind. 

    Gelato is made with fresh and genuine ingredients, it is lighter because it contains less butter fat and less air. Its main ingredients are fresh milk and egg yolks mixed with sugar and cream. We already said that the ingredients used are of top quality but what is even more important is that who makes gelato takes into serious consideration the correct balance of all the solid components of the various ingredients. The right balance is what makes gelato softer and creamier. These solid components are stabilizers of the emulsion water-fat, binding thickeners of water and the skim solids of milk.

    Ice cream is made with different ingredients: powdered milk, fruit juice concentrate, and additives such as coloring agents, sweeteners, emulsifiers, stabilizers and aromas. Ice cream is made in large batches and kept frozen for long periods of time while gelato is made daily in small batches with fresh ingredients. Indeed if it is frozen for too long it looses its silkiness. Gelato's density requires a slightly higher serving temperature, the perfect point between firm and hard, soft but not melting. Ice cream instead can be stored at arctic temperatures.

    It is produced several months in advance thanks to air – it increases its volume. More air makes for a lighter ice cream, less air makes it richer and creamier.

    Here are a few basic rules to figure out the quality of the gelato or ice cream you are about to eat. If it is a high quality cream ice cream (meaning chocolate, hazelnut, stracciatella) it should not be too liquid nor too thick, the creamier it is the less noticeable the ice clusters are. If the ice cream is flaky or wrinkly it is likely that something went wrong during the process of preservation.

    If either one is too sweet it could be hard to digest. The cause could be the excessive presence of sugar or vegetable fats that have a higher fusion point as compared to animal fats.

    Colors tell a lot too: if they are too bright (i.e. almost fluorescent green for pistachio) it means that the ingredients used were not 100% natural but were enhanced by chemical components. This is even more evident in fruit gelatos: the color should be similar to the color of the fresh fruit itself. If there are pieces of fresh fruit that is a sign of quality too. Last but not least, if the gelato does not melt quickly, especially if it extremely hot outside, it means that it contains hydrogenated vegetable fats... simply avoid it!

    There also are sorbets. These simple refreshments are all about fruit, sugar and lemon juice with no addition of milk, cream or eggs. The secret is to use fresh fruitas the ones made with cooked fruit taste like cold jam. Sorbets are generally eaten at the end of a meal to cleanse the palate, but they can also be a lightest choice for a hot day.

  • Life & People

    Honoring Italian American Women @ the 2018 NOIAW Annual Luncheon

    The National Organization of Italian American Women (NOIAW), the only national organization for women of Italian ancestry, holds its Annual Luncheon and Silent Auction at the St. Regis New York on Saturday,April 14, 2018 at 11:30 AM and honors two accomplished Italian American women: Lorraine Grillo, President, New York City School Construction Authority, began her career at the SchoolConstruction Authority (SCA) over 23 years ago as ma Community Relations specialist for the borough of Queens and was promoted to a variety of positions within the agency. After successfully opening 26 new schools, the single mostsuccessful year in SCA history, she was appointed to the permanent position as President and CEO. Through a reappointment by Mayor Bill de Blasio in February 2014, Ms. Grillo has held her current position of President under his new administration making her one of only two re-appointments from the prior administration and the longest serving SCA president.

    Gina Gionfriddo, playwright and screenwriter, is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist for Rapture, Blister, Burn and Becky Shaw. She has received an OBIE Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, an Outer Critics Circle Award, The Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, and an American Theatre Critics Association/Steinberg citation. She has written for the television dramas “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Law and Order True Crime: Menendez,” “Cold Case,” “Borgia,” “The Alienist,” and “House of Cards.”

    Also receiving the Preeminent Friend of NOIAW Award is Mr. Joseph M. Mattone, Sr., CEO, The Mattone Group, LLC a development, construction and property management company in Queens. Many organizations have benefitted from his generosity as he has been an active philanthropist throughout his successful and distinguished career.

    Tickets for the luncheon start at $300 and are available at More than 200 guests are expected at the event, including the Consul General in Italy to New York, Hon. Francesco Genuardi. The celebration begins with a silent auction and reception featuring gift certificates to some of New York City’s best restaurants, travel packages to Italy, designer handbags and accessories.

    “Since our founding in 1980, NOIAW has supported and inspired Italian American women,” said Maria Tamburri, NOIAW Chair. “As we begin our 38th year, we are extremely proud to honor Lorraine Grillo and Gina Gionfriddo, two women of distinction and prominence in their respective fields. We look forward to acknowledging Mr. Joseph M. Mattone, Sr. with the Preeminent Friend of NOIAW Award in appreciation for his generous support of our organization and its mission.”



    The mission of The National Organization of Italian American Women is to unite and connect women through Italian culture and heritage; to celebrate the achievements of women of Italian ancestry; to inspire and enrich members with shared interests in cultural programs; and to empower and advance the educational and professional aspirations of current and future generations.

    For more information about NOIAW, its members and programs, or to become a member, visit, call (212) 642-2003, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The National Organization of Italian American Women, Inc. is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization. Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent permitted

  • Art & Culture

    RE(F)USE ME! From Reclaimed Objects to Artistic Treasure

    Inspired by her community and engaged with her social environment, NYC- based mixed media Italian artist, Annalisa Iadicicco is the founder (and driver) of The Blue Bus Project.
    The Blue Bus Project is a cultural vehicle that shatters the confines of the insular art world by taking artistic expression onto the road, promoting dialogue for economic, social, artistic and political change by way of performance and visual arts. Iy is a platform for participants to contribute to their community while enhancing its beauty and cultural identity. It provides a safe space for conversations by partnering with educational institutions, local art organizations, city agencies, and individual artists. It brings joy, cultivates creativity, and serves as a bridge to connect people with their community.
    Annalisa is known for breathing new life into repurposed materials with an ability to transmute reclaimed objects such as corrugated metal, found wood, rusty nails and car bumpers into enchanting yet powerful forms of artistic expressions.
    Through her work, Annalisa gives voice to social injustice and environmental problems as a means to explore overlooked issues and encourage conversation and social change. Her work has been included in various group shows in New York, Italy and India. 
    The Blue Bus Project presents RE(F)USE ME! From reclaimed objects to artistic treasures, a series of sustainable art workshops for the youth, aimed at raising public awareness on recycling and re-purposing materials. The workshops' main goal is to stir up a conversation about waste and, through art, to motivate participants to think about their environment and how to collectively get involved in their community.
    Held in 4 different parks on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens - Beach 30th street PLGD, Bayswater Park, 59 street Playground and Hummel PLGD - the workshops,each with its own theme, are hosted by “The Blue Bus Project” (TBBP), a school bus that functions as a mobile art gallery and incubator that provides a safe space for artists and communities to merge. Art is used as a tool to connect, interact, explore and stimulate discussion leading to action and social change.
    The RE(F)USE ME workshops will run during summer school break as a way to give kids, whose families cannot afford to send them to summer camp, an opportunity to have a fun, interactive and educational experience during their vacation. The workshops takes place in four locations to express how different areas of a larger community can come together and connect through an invisible web made of art with a social purpose.
    The overall intention is to bring elements of everyday life directly into an artwork. The work done in each individual workshop will culminate in the creation of a sculpture. The final unveiling will be held on August 6th at the Shore Front Pkwy.
    Why the Rockaway? As one of New York's favorite beaches, the Rockaway area becomes increasingly filthy with the approaching of summer. Despite countless efforts of the local Parks Department (stricter rules and larger amount of garbage bins) and Volunteer Associations (shoreline/beach cleanups), the problem is still consistent. On top of that, visitors make no effort of cleaning up after themselves, and at the end of the day the sand is covered with cigarette butts, used plastic cups,forgotten toys, morsels of food and much more. All this waste ends up in the ocean thus having a negative effect on marine life.
    Created by The Blue Bus Project, RE(F)USE ME! From reclaimed objects to artistic treasures welcomes artists representing works in different media. The program also involves volunteers and supporters.
    RE(F)USE ME! From reclaimed objects to artistic treasures
    Grant: Citizen Committee of NY
    Workshops: July 22/29/30 and August 5, 2017
    Final Exhibition: August 6, 2017
    All events are free and open to the public.
    To register for the workshop
    email at [email protected]
    Facebook: thebluebusproject
    Instagram : @thebluebusproject
  • Oven-baked lamb with potatoes
    Facts & Stories

    The Italian Table: So Many Easter Specialties

    After 40 days of food abstinence and sacrifice for Lent, Easter is not just a religious holiday that celebrates Christs' resurrection it is a day that marks the beginning of spring by delivering its freshest ingredient to the dining table.   

    In Italy, the Easter menu varies from region to region, each region has its own irresistible andflavorful dishes, but no matter where you are, there are three main ingredients that shine in every kitchen: eggs, lamb and Colomba cake. Their consumption is not just casual, it is has a deeper meaning as they have earned, through the ages, a Christian symbolic meaning. We can safely say that eggs represent birth and the never-ending renewal of life, lamb means sacrifice, having been a religious offering since the beginning of time. In Christianity it represents Jesus Christ, who is also called “the lamb of God.”  

    Colomba cake, a sweet bread in the shape of a dove, represents peace. The reason for its use as a symbol of peace is the story of Noah and the release of the white dove to find land after the Great Flood. When the dove returned with an olive branch, which is another peace symbol, it was clear that the world was ready to welcome back man.

    Colomba's origins are legendary. Apparently, around the second half of the 6th century (it was the year 572), Alboino, the king of the Longobards, received, after besieging Pavia for three years, a gift from a local baker that was simply “curious.” It was a leavened bread, shaped like a dove that was given to him as a request of peace. Its ingredients were simple: eggs, flour and yeast. With the passing of time richer ingredients, such as butter, sugar and candied fruit, were added. This sweet bread is dotted with pearl sugar, almonds or chocolate.   

    More recently, in the early 1900s the Milanese company “Motta” decided to make a product similar to the panettone (a type of sweet bread loaf originally from Milan that is prepared and enjoyed for Christmas), but with an aspect decidedly connected to Easter. The Colomba was born a dessert cake with a similar composition to the panettone, but that is enriched with the flavor of amaretto. In 1930, the Motta Company requested an artist specialized in public adverts, and produced the slogan “The Easter Colomba by Motta, the dessert that knows of springtime.” Colomba is a delicate dessert cake, it must be soft, aromatic on the outside, and moist on the inside. It is eaten as is or warmed up with mascarpone cream on the side, melted chocolate and even ice-cream.  

    The Easter table also features a wide variety of spring vegetables (such as artichokes and asparagus, chard, fava beans, young green beans, spinach and lettuce) and first fruits, religious offerings of the first agricultural produce of the harvest, symbols of earth's continuous rebirth. Vegetables are used as side dishes or as main ingredients in flavorful salads and quiches.

    Then there are chocolate eggs; the story behind them is traced back to the city of Torino in the 1800's. They were created to honor, with a touch of sweetness, the traditional exchange of chicken eggs, symbols of the end of Lenten fasting and spring's rebirth. The first chocolate eggs were solid soon followed by hollow eggs.  

    The following are some traditional dishes that are always featured on the Italian Easter tables.


    Torta pasqualina, a salty cake with puff pastry, veggies (like spinach or black cabbage) and cheese Frittelle di carciofi, artichoke fritters Carciofi con uova sode, artichokes with hard-boiled eggs Uova strapazzate al tartufo, scrambled eggs with black truffles

    First courses

    Ravioli di ricotta, ricotta filled ravioli Ravioli ai carciofi, artichoke filled ravioli Risotto al forno con carciofi, risotto with artichokes Risotto alla crema di asparagi, risotto with asparagus cream

    Second courses

    Agnello al forno con patate e pomodoro, oven-baked lamb with potatoes and tomatoes Abbacchio brodettato, lamb in lemon-egg sauce. This is a Roman dish; the egg-and-lemon combination in the sauce is quite similar to what one finds in Jewish Italian dishes. Costolette d’agnello fritte, fried lamb chops Agnello al verde con carciofi, lamb with artichokes Agnello di Pasqua alla moda pugliese, lamb Apulian-style, served with peas, onions, eggs and grated pecorino cheese Agnello in fricassea, stewed lamb with artichoke and egg Arrosto d’agnello con coratella, roasted lamb with coratella (the heart, lungs, and liver of a young lamb). This is typical of the cuisine of Lazio  


    Colomba mascarpone e cioccolato, colomba with mascarpone cream and chocolate Colomba di Pasqua farcita, cream-filled colomba Colomba pasquale al cioccolato, chocolate covered colomba Uova di cioccolato, chocolate eggs Pastiera napoletana, Neapolitan cake filled with ricotta cheese. “The modern pastiera was probably invented in a Neapolitan convent. An unknown nun wanted that cake, symbol of the Resurrectionperfume of the flowers of the orange trees which grew in the convent’s gardens. She mixed a handful of wheat to the white ricotta cheese, then she added some eggs, symbol of the new life, some water which had the fragrance of the flowers of the spring time, candied citron and aromatic Asian spices.  

    Regional specialties:

    Abruzzo > Caciaovo, lamb stew served with eggs and cacio cheese

    Calabria > Sgute calabresi, sweet dough topped with hard-boiled eggs

    Campania > Pastiera napoletana

    Friuli Venezia Giulia > Pinza pasquale triestina, semi-sweet focaccia bread, that can be enjoyed with salty ingredients, such as cold cuts, or sweet ones, such as fruit jams and chocolate.

    Lazio > Arrosto d’agnello con coratella

    Liguria > Torta pasqualina

    Molise > Insalata pasquale, mixed salad served with hard-boiled quail eggs

    Puglia > Scarcelle, shortbread covered in icing and chocolate eggs

    Sardegna > Pillus, puff pastry “lasagna” stuffed, in alternate layers, with meat, prosciutto and tomato sauce

    Umbria (and central Italy) > Pizza di Pasqua, a bread loaf that can be baked in a sweet or tasty fashion. The sweet version features candied fruit and sugar, while the tasty features sun-dried tomatoes and other vegetables.  

    In Italy, the Monday immediately after Easter Sunday is also a national holiday, called Pasquetta (literally “Little Easter”) or Lunedì dell’Angelo (Angel’s Monday). The usual custom on Pasquetta is to go out—usually for a picnic, though many choose to eat out at a restaurant, or at a friend’s or relative’s instead.

  • Dining in & out: Articles & Reviews

    Dining Out Special: Northern Italian Cuisine in New York

    A brief disclaimer before we move on: our suggestions might not always lead you to dishes that wholly conform to traditional Italian fare. Yet you will find interesting variations, even experiments in fusion cuisine, which we found pleasantly surprising and believe ought to be tried. Cooking is becoming globalized too, and it’s normal for even the most local recipes to change things up when they cross an ocean, while at the same time many prestigious American chefs have found inspiration in Italian cuisine. As long as innovation is coherent and, most importantly, the results are good! Buon appetito.


    390 Park Avenue (at 53rd St) 

    (212) 888-2700

    cuisine traditional
    ambience elegant 
    price $$$

    Casa Lever is located inside the landmark Gordon Bunshafts Lever House Building, an iconic master- piece of modernism built in 1951, where guests can dine among one of the largest collections of Andy Warhol’s work, including portraits of Rudolf Nureyev, Aretha Franklin, Al- fred Hitchcock, Judy Garland, Ernesto Esposito and Gabrielle Navarra. It is an extremely special place that weds Milanese hospitality and New York cool. Chef Alessandro Caporale and sommelier Gaetano Muscatello will help guide your dining experience on the spot and the timeless architec- ture will make you feel like you’re in a modern day dolce vita. The menu is vast, with traditional antipasti, pasta and risotto dishes, fresh-caught hamachi, ahi tuna and Santa Barbara sea urchin at the raw bar, and main courses like the famous veal milanese and vitello tonnato. We suggest indulging in dessert, too, such as millefoglie lay- ers, vanilla Chantilly cream, granite, sorbet or gianduja. We would be re- miss not to mention Rebecca Apple- baum, the head mixologist & bar manager, whose cocktails will blow your mind. And if you want to learn to make them yourself, Casa Lever organizes a series of cocktail classes taught by Ms. Applebaum. And don’t forget—even if it’s still winter—that from May through October they also have an outdoor bar that includes a Milanese menu of small plates like fried calamari, crocchette di baccala’ and fontina-stuffed olives. 



    717 5th Avenue

    (212) 207-1902

    cuisine contemporary 

    ambience styish

    price $$$

    Immerse yourself in Giorgio Armani’s philosophy. Balance, harmony and carefully considered combinations are not only hallmarks of the furnishings but of the dishes here; the ingredients are meticulously—almost obsessively selected. “Contemporaneity for me starts with the classical,” the Milanese stylist has said, “it doesn’t rock the boat yet still aspires to experimentation and innovation.” The venue stands out for its clean and sheer lines, its minimal- ist décor with touches of red and black in a large dining room surrounded by windows with views of beautiful 5th Avenue.

    The menu reflects those same principles, so that Armani’s restaurant really gives you an experience that affects all the senses. And that experi- ence just happens to bear Armani’s stamp. If you’re looking for a gateway into fashionable Milan from the far reaches of New York, look no further. Chef Sandro Romano makes splendid dishes including a Treviso radicchio salad, gnocchetti with red mullet and prized Ligurian Taggiasche olives, tagliolini with shrimp, risotto milanese, T-bone Fiorentina, and a chocolate mousse trio for dessert. But Armani/ Ristorante will suit your needs if you just want an appetizer or some excel- lent zucchini chips at their long bar area. The Armani Martini is exquisite. One thing Italians always lament about American restaurants is the poor quality or complete absence of bread served with meals. That certainly isn’t the case at Armani. The breadbaskets they bring are exceptional and include various types of bread and breadsticks you won’t soon forget.



    145 W 53rd Street % (212) 581-4242

    cuisine northern italian

    ambience elegant

    price $$$

    This scenic spot was designed in the 1980s by Adam Tihany, the renowned Romanian-born, Milan-trained hospi- tality designer who also co-owned it at the time.The trendsetter designer who famously stated he views restaurants “not just places to eat but as theaters” also hired a French artist, Paulin Pâris, to paint the massive 120-foot mural representing—in Tihany’s words—“fun Venice, not real Venice.” The Venetian- inspired theatrical experience at Remi is indeed stunning, with the main dining room (called the Grand Canal) sporting glass chandeliers, Gothic style arches and nautical-striped seating. Add a smaller private room (the Rialto Room) and another called the Chef’s Table located downstairs in the wine cellar, a glass-roofed, all weather outdoor seating atrium garden and a more casual café (Remi to Go)—and herein lies the magic. When the new proprietor Roberto Delledonne took over in 2005, mak- ing it the domain of Executive Chef Giovanni Pinato (now replaced by Mirco Delvecchio), he kept the sump tuous style of this landmark restaurant and built upon its peculiar mix of Venetian atmosphere, architecture, and cuisine: a perfect spot for Italy- loving Americans.

    The menu offers culinary specialties from Veneto and Northern Italy — keep an eye out for Remi’s signature dishes such as ravioli Marco Polo (ravioli filled with fresh tuna in a light tomato sauce with shaved pecorino cheese) or fegato alla veneziana (Ve- netian-style calf liver sauteed with onions and served on polenta). Don’t forget that you can have a multi- regional Italian experience at Remi, with bucatini all’amatriciana (from Rome), cavatelli alla pugliese (from Puglia), and tonnarelli sciue sciue alla moda napoletana (from Naples).




    Sant Ambroeus

    1000 Madison Avenue

    (212) 570-2211

    cuisine traditional/milanese

    ambience elegant

    price $$$$


    A classic neighborhood meeting place serving an uptown clientele, Saint Ambroeus is the American version of a Milanese pasticceria. Ambroeus is Milanese dialect for Sant’Ambrogio, the early medieval patron saint and bishop of Milan. To this day, the Milanese often refer to themselves as “Ambrosiani” in his honor. The original location in Milan is just a stone’s throw away from La Scala theater, at the heart of the city, where artists and businessmen and politicians all rub shoulders. It later became a restaurant and to this day is a landmark for Milan’s tastemakers. The restaurant occupies several locations in New York that, despite differences in ambience, all have quality in common. There are countless dishes we’d recommend, but one that we particularly love is an authentic Milanese dessert that you can dine on at the restaurant or take home with you. Gianduia cake has layers of moist hazelnut dacquoise, crisp hazelnut feuilletine and heavenly gianduia mousse surrounding a center of hazelnut cream. Besides the location on Madison Avenue, we recommend stopping by one of their other locations:

    ● Sant Ambroeus West Village (259 West, 4th Street): The contemporary café-style area of the restaurant has a great selection of wines with the contemporary feeling of an Italian enoteca.

    ● Sant Ambroeus SoHo (265 Lafayette Street): A contemporary interpre- tation of traditional Milanese cuisine and hospitality set in a chic and vibrant atmosphere.

    ● Sant Ambroeus Coffee Bar at Loews Regency Hotel (540 Park Avenue): The best in Italian traditions, creatively translated for modern diners.

    ● Coffee Bar at Sotheby’s (1334 York Avenue): Situated within the Sotheby’s World Headquarters in Manhattan, Coffee Bar offers patrons a quintessentially Italian café experience.

    ● Sant Ambroeus, Southampton (30 Main Street): Whenever you are in Southampton, pay a visit to this pot, which originally opened in 1992 and has recently been restyled by designer Robert McKinley.




    321 west. 46th Street

    (212) 246-9171

    cuisine traditional/piemontese 

    ambience elegant

    price $$$

    Established in 1906, Barbetta is the oldest Italian restaurant in New York City and the only restaurant in Amer- ica to have been named an “Historic Establishment” by the Italian associa- tion Locali Storici d’Italia. In 1962, its spectacular interior was refurbished by Laura Maioglio, daughter of founder Sebastiano and now its owner, with Piemontese antiques. This made it the first elegant Italian restaurant in town—which, as its website states, “represented a radical departure from the prevailing but erroneous notion... that Italian restaurants are invariably ‘rustic’ and that Italian food must be similarly ‘rustic’.” But even rustic meals can be reinterpreted in an ele- gant way.This is the case with typically Piemontese Bagna Cauda, a gregarious “country” dish where guests around the table dip raw vegetables into a simmering pot of an anchovy -flavored olive oil sauce. Pair it with Barbera d’Asti 2013 Cascina Castlét—one of 1,700 dif- ferent labels on a legendary wine list. If you are in the mood for a white, order Ceretto’s Arneis Blangè 2013 with Veal Tonnè in a classic Piemontese pairing.



    Le Zie 2000

    172 7th Ave (btw 20th & 21st st) 

    (212) 206-8686

    cuisine traditional/venetian ambience friendly

    price $S

    There’s a new joint in trendy Chelsea, a small trattoria with a friendly atmosphere where you can nibble on classic Venetian dishes, like Venetian Style Calf Liver, Sautéed Onion, Polenta and Venetian-Style Bean Soup. The dishes at Le Zie 2000 don’t disap- point. In Italian le zie means “aunts.” The word brings to mind those middle aged women at the markets in Venice’s rioni scouring for fresh foodstuffs, especially fish, to throw into some deli- cious supper. No surprise then that you’ll find an assortment of fresh fish at Le Zie, even if you’re just having a quick drink or sharing an appetizer. Contemporary artworks from Le Zie’s private collection are always on display. Despite being small, the restaurant has a number of different areas: La Galleria overlooking a garden is an intimate space which is also available for private parties. On the top floor there is a function room for the Chef’s Table that can seat up to 30 people and has the feel of a wine cellar. You can also meet your friends for drinks and appetizers in the lounge. Finally, if you’re feeling romantic, you’ll find the perfect space for a date that will set you dreaming of Venice while sharing an order of tira- misu’ big enough for two!


    Mulino a Vino

    337 West 14th Street %(855) 343-4513

    cuisine innovative 

    ambience cozy

    price $$$

    NYC’s first Italian wine restaurant features over 100 Italian wines by the glass! All wines are complimented by extraordinary Italian cuisine initially created by the chef and owner of the two-star Michelin restaurant Com- bal.Zero in Rivoli, in the province of Torino. Launched by Davide Scabin, Mulino a Vino serves up classic cui- sine with a contemporary twist. No wonder. Its local chef is 22-year old Massimilliano Eandi, Scabin’s assis- tant. Massimilliano’s enthusiasm for cooking began at the early age of 14. By the age of 16 he was already working by Scabin’s side at Combal.Zero.

    The dishes come in three sizes (small, medium and large) and you can also order many small tasting dishes, making for a very personalized menu. While the menu includes a number of standards, it also changes depending on the season. Yet no matter the season, you’ll find yourself treated to a new dining experience, even if Mulino hasn’t totally done away with traditional Italian cooking. Some of our favorites include gnocchi monzese by the glass, hibiscus risotto, octopus bo- lognese and the simple pasta al pomodoro. Wine plays a fundamental role here. Prices range from $13 up to $500. The list was selected by owner Paolo Menegalli, who has chosen the best Italian wines, from household names to the obscure. We suggest you order your wine before your food. All wine can be ordered by the glass. In fact, nowadays it’s possible to pour wine by the glass without removing the cork.

    countries’ cuisines use simple, good ingredients is very similar. Well, all we can say is that All’Onda is a place to give things a shot; even the most conventional Venetian diners should open themselves up to new tastes once and a while. The industrial- rustic atmosphere is very pleasant and reflects the dual-nature of the food. The Japanese ingredients tend to smooth out the flavors and often— though not always—go well with their Venetian counterparts. The restaurant’s real specialty is fish: polpetti alla veneziana, spaghetti alle vongole and Venetian tuna salad are among the standouts. Naturally, the bar serves fine wines, good cocktails and sake.



    243 E 58th Street

    (212) 758-1479

    Cuisine Lidia’s! 

    ambience elegant/classy

    price $$$$

    If you’re a fan of food icon Lidia Bastianich, chances are you watch her regularly on TV and have at least one of her many cookbooks at home. You might also meet her in person greeting guests at Felidia—her flagship restaurant established 35 years ago in Manhattan. Day-to-day opera- tions at this “classy gem” (Zagat) are in the hands of Fortunato Nicotra, a starred chef who has been working with Lidia for 20 years. Bastianich and Nicotra have made Felidia famous not only for food but also for wine. Don’t miss Villa Bucci’s Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi paired with Spaghetti alla Chitarra (bacon, caramelized onion, tomato sauce, and peperoncino.) And if you like calf’s liver (fegato), order it sautéed (and served a farro based polenta) accompanied by a 2010 Castell’in Villa Chianti Classico.



    22 E 13th Street

    (212) 231-2236

    cuisine venetian/fusion 

    ambience rustic-industrial

    price $$$

    ● Chris Jaeckle and Chris Cannon, two alumni of Michael White’s, opened All’Onda, a restaurant housed in a warm, two-floor space on 13th Street where Chef Jaeckle whips up experimental fusion dishes with hints of traditional Northern Italian cooking as well as Japanese cuisine, a nod to the long-term influence the Orient has had on the Lagoon. Despite their long history of commercial ties, Japanese-Venetian cuisine is pretty new and pretty daring. “I believe that Japan and Italy have a great deal in common,” says Jaeckle. According to the chef, the way in which both



    136 Division Street

    (212) 941-5060

    cuisine venetian 

    ambience rustic/romantic

    price $$$

    “Don’t judge a restaurant by the outside — says one review of Bacaro on Yelp — because once you go in, it’s an intimate yet bustling setting for a romantic dinner.” This is indeed the perfect introduction (although we’d add, don’t judge by their website either!) to this little Venetian gem that chef-owner Frank DeCarlo manages with his wife Dulcinea Benson. Reviews will also tell you that Bacaro is located “on the eastern fringe” of Chinatown, others say Lower East Side, but to DeCarlo that’s the old neighborhood of Little Italy, where he has lived and worked all his life and where he opened his other successful Italian-inspired eatery, Peasant, in what is now known as Nolita. Housed in the premises of a former aquarium, Bacaro Wine Bar and Osteria (a “bacaro” in Venice is a workingman’s pub) has two levels, with walls and vaults of exposed bricks that create the look and feel of an old Italian tavern (a grotto-like private dining room is even located under the sidewalk). By experts’ consensus the food may not be as great as in DeCarlo’s other brainchild restaurants (Peasant and Apizz, on not-so-far Eldridge St.) but still it’s more than enjoyable— and Bacaro’s reasonable prices and romantic atmosphere do the rest. The menu offers plenty of Venetian specialties such as ostriche alla vene- ziana (fried oysters), risi e bisi (fried rice balls) and lots of “cichetti”, or Ve- netian-style small plates, paired with wines from Northern Italian regions selected by partner Kamy Geary. Don’t miss their spaghetti al nero di seppia (cuttlefish ink) paired with Ligurian white Pigato, Colle dei Bardellini.


    Park slope

    248 5th Avenue

    (718) 783-4565

    cuisine venetian

    ambience rustic + an elegant touch

    price $$$

    Beyond—that’s what al di là means in Italian. In this case, the word evokes co-founder Emiliano Coppa’s TransAtlantic journey from Venice to New York, as well as “the other side of Italian cuisine” that he and his wife/ partner Anna Klinger, the restaurant’s chef, set out to teach Brooklynites when they settled in Park Slope in the late 1990s. Their immediate neighbor- hood success then extended city-wide in the mid-2000s when The New York Times food critic Frank Bruni finally accepted his friends’ suggestions and visited the place, awarding them two stars (very good): “I hereby ... sing the praises of Al di Là, sung so many times before, because it deserves the music,” Bruni wrote. Actually everything at Al di Là is a little “beyond”: the ancient Murano glass chandelier hanging from the ceiling comes straight from Emiliano’s grandmother’s place on the Grand Canal in Venice, the mis- matched and sometimes chipped food plates have mostly been collect- ed from flea markets, and the dining tables are made from reclaimed barn wood (Emiliano made them him- self). The same goes for their North- Eastern-Italian inspired cuisine, ap- proached with a not-so-common eye on sourcing the ingredients from local farmers “who work in a sustainable manner,” according to their website, which proudly announces the tratto- ria has been awarded the Slow Food Snail of Approval “for its commitment to responsible sourcing.”Try delicacies such as malfatti (dumplings made from ricotta, spinach and parmesan) casunziei (half moon shaped filled fresh pasta) and braised rabbit. You’ll be spoiled by the choice of wines, seeing as next door is a full-fledged wine bar called Al di là Vino!





  • Facts & Stories

    “New Year – New life!”. Happy 2015

    “Anno nuovo – vita nuova!” “New year – new life!” This is the #1 intention for the new year many Italians, from all different regions, repeat on the last night of the old year all through the first day of the new one. People hope for a new, better life, by trying to let the past behind and welcome the new wishing for all good things to come. In this moment of crisis, it sounds like money is the first wish for the majority of Italians.

    It would be nice to say that people mostly wish for health and happiness, but to many, nowadays, money means happiness. Despite the current  economic situation, there are many different traditions, established even before the crisis, that are meant to bring wealth in the new year. The first is at the dining table.

    Eating lentils is a custom shared by the entire peninsula. There is no New Year's Eve dinner, whether at home, at the restaurant or any other public place where diner is served, that does not end with a plate of lentils. Tradition tells that each lentil represents a coin and the more you eat the more money you will get. Usually lentils are served with Cotechino, a fresh sausage made from pork, fatback, pork rind, spices and aromatic herbs. “Its origins date back to when the town of Mirandola (in Emilia Romagna) was besieged at the beginning of the 16th century and, so as not to waste any livestock - which was their only remaining food supply - an enterprising chef decided to mince the meat and stuff it in the rind of the animal. The besieged did not actually enjoy this gastronomic insight since the city fell shortly after, but the concept was so perfect that still today we are blessed with this masterpiece of meat production from Emilia.” (

    The fat and opulent meat of cotechino brings prosperity, and it pairs perfectly with lentils. Coldiretti, Italy's largest association representing and assisting Italian farmers, has released data that the sale of cotechino and lentils has increased of 9% in 2013, because the cost is limited. So by eating a traditional, good luck dish people can also save some cash. 
    Grapes are also bearer of good fortune...there is even a saying: “Chi mangia l’uva per capodanno conta i quattrini tutto l’anno” - “Who eats grapes on New Year's will count money all year long.” The origins of this belief are also in the past and they come from the countryside: having grapes in winter time meant the harvest in the fall was rich, thus grapes meant richness. 

    New Year's dinner is not complete without spumante or prosecco. Nothing says New Year's quite like a festive flute of bubbly!  A special toast with your loved one, a kiss underneath the mistletoe, will bring love all year long.

    For New Year's Eve dinner it is important for the ladies to wear, underneath the elegant dress they have chosen (this year, just like last, lace dresses are the number one choice), red lingerie. Men do too. So it is very common that the windows of many Italian stores, right after Christmas, turn red, as there are many different pieces for sale, from underwear, to socks, pajamas and robes. This custom started back in time with the Ancient Romans, they used to wear red as a symbol of blood and war to keep fear away. Today it is a wish for good luck for what's to come.

    In welcoming the new year, there are things you can do to keep the evil spirits at bay: among them, hanging mistletoe on the front door and opening a window in a dark room a second before midnight, to let the bad spirits out, to then open another window in a lighted room to welcome the good spirits.

    An old custom that is still followed in some regions, especially in the south, is, right at midnight, throwing old things out the window. This symbolizes a person's readiness to put the past behind and to accept what's to come. 
    Firecrackers or sparklers symbolize joy and happiness but traditionally, fire is believed to purify and get rid of evil spirits and any other setback. Usually the biggest cities - Rome, Milan, Bologna, Palermo and Naples - put on huge popular outdoor shows, mostly concerts with pop and rock bands, followed by beautiful fireworks. Smaller towns build a bonfire in the central square where people will congregate to celebrate into the early morning. 

    Unfortunately people often try to have their own private “shows” and they buy their own firecrackers and on the first day of the new year the news are filled with sad stories of people who had accidents trying to light them. The Italian Police is very active in trying to prevent this, but first of all people should try to have fun responsibly. This year the city of Torino, has passed a law that forbids any use of firecrackers, sparklers or fireworks. Fines go from 50 to 500 euros. New laws are also being passed for the protection of animals. Many have complications because of the fear and stress caused by the loud noises of fireworks. Suggestions are to keep the TV on, at loud volume, to keep them distracted.

    We started with a saying and we finish with another one: “Quello che si fa a Capodanno si fa tutto l’anno,” “What you do on New Year's Eve you will do all year long,” so think well before you act and do your favorite things! Happy 2015! 

  • Dining in & out: Articles & Reviews

    Do as the Romans Do: Drizzle Some Vincotto

    Italy always has some new and exciting culinary surprises... but what is special about this one is that it is not really that new... it has been around for ages... the fact is it is not sold in any grocery store, you may only find it in specialty shops and markets or online. Vincotto, literally “cooked wine,” is really something unique.

    If you ask any Italian chef what Vincotto is, they will answer that it is an elixir, a sweet and velvety concoction similar to balsamic vinegar with the subtle overtones of spices, grapes and plums.

    Its history definitely goes back in time: the Romans used to cook grape must to produce wines that, because of their relatively high alcohol levels, could be aged at great length. It was with the same objective in mind that they pressed partly dried grapes and fermented the juice to produce raisin wines.

    They called them defructum passum or caroleum, depending on their manner of production and degree of reduction. It is not certain that they made vinegars with the same process, but it appears highly probable that they did. It is from this ancient tradition that Vincotto was born. As a point of reference, it is often stated that Vincotto is similar to authentic balsamic vinegar, although it is not mass produced the way balsamic vinegar is, but the chefs confirm that there is no real comparison.

    Vincotto is made from two variety of grapes, Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera. The grapes are left to dry on the vine or over wooden frames, then the must is gently boiled for more than 24 hours until it reduces to a fifth of its initial volume. This syrup is then poured into small oak barrels along with the mother vinegar or starter. In these barrels it is aged for four years, thus allowing it to release all its aromas and flavors. This is a natural product without any alcohol, colorants or preservatives.

    Used as a condiment, just a few drops can be drizzled over roasted meats, salads, vegetables and even desserts. It is great in appetizers, soups, pasta sauces, pizza toppings, and anything tasty. It blends nicely with bacon and with potatoes for a unique potato salad and added to yogurt, fruit and chopped almonds it makes an appealing dessert.

    “Vincotto is a versatile ingredient that really does have a life beyond dressing leaves of greens. I use it in both sweet and savory dishes,” Chef Luca, an Italian private chef hailing from Sardinia and working in New York ( said, “it is delicious with fruit salad and a scoop of vanilla ice cream and it also adds up a note of flavor to a nice cup of zabaione cream. I serve it in a cheese platter, together with some honey and walnuts, while my clients, enjoy it with Caprese salad and with grilled steak. The possibilities are endless.”

    Vincotto is sweet and it can be transformed into vinegars of Vincotto by blending it with vinegar from the same grapes and then letting it age for a minimum of 6 months. The result is a product that is "legato" i.e. the sweet and vinegar properties bind and are transformed into a smooth and rich vinegar. Some of these vinegars are further blended with fruits such as figs, raspberries, lemons, and oranges.

    Italy's major producer of Vincotto is the Calogiuri family, from the province of Lecce. They have been producing it since 1825, using a secret traditional recipe. Back then, Leonardo Calogiuri opened a small business for the sale of extra-virgin olive oil and wines and began to use for his own family a particular grape must handed down from his father. It was Vincotto. His tradition has been passed onto six generations until now when this exclusive product is available on the market through the dedicated efforts and innovations of Gianni Calogiuri, member of the latest generation of the Calogiuri family.

    The Calogiuri "Originale" Vincotto version from Lizzanello is produced using Negroamaro and Black Malvasia, and is cooked for about fifteen hours, it’s a real rarity that is now available on the American tables. The Calogiuri family also produces Vincotto with figs, Vincotto with hot peppers, Vincotto with lemon and even with raspberries. (

  • Events: Reports

    The Best of Italian Jazz in NYC

    Get out your calendars and save a spot for June 1st at Brooklyn’s Roulette Theatre (509 Atlantic Avenue) starting 7.30 pm.

    Presented by Enzo Capua and the Italian Cultural Institute, the event will feature three leading Italian figures of the contemporary international jazz scene: Giovanni Guidi of the Giovanni Guidi Trio, solo artist Alessandro Lanzoni and Domenico Sanna of the “Brooklyn Beat!” Trio, who will all be performing backto- back in what promises to be a wonderfully variedand fun night. Despite theiryouth – the three musicians are 30 or younger – they areall established figures withinthe jazz industry, having won titles such as the “Top Jazz”poll in It

    Giovanni Guidi

    29-year-old Giovanni Guidi from Fogliano won the “Top Jazz” poll in 2007 and has been part of the international jazz scene ever since. He is a member of Enrico Rava’s band, leader of the Giovanni Guidi Trio – composed of New York bassist Thomas Morgan and Portuguese drummer Joao Lobo, who will be on stage with him at the show– and the larger ensemble

    “Unknown Rebels.

    Alessandro Lanzoni

    The youngest of the three at only 23, Alessandro Lanzoni is known as a solo artist and will be performing as such in Brooklyn. Though he was already a child prodigy at 13, he more recently started to emerge as a breakthrough jazz artist, winning, among other titles, the “Top Jazz” poll in 2013.

    Domenico Sanna

    Domenico Sanna, 30, is the eldest of the three. He will perform alongside Ameen Saleem, one of the most in-demand bassists in America and Europe, anddrummer Dana Hawkins as the “Brooklyn Beat!” Trio.

    Sanna came up with the group “out of necessity,” out of a compulsion to follow the beat, the pulse. Building off the origins of jazz, the band has created a contemporary sound infused with swing and R&B.

    Young, yet experienced All of these artists share the rare characteristic of being fresh and innovative on the one hand, and experienced and masterful on the other, having previously participated in a variety of famous festivals and events throughout their short but accomplished careers. This event presents audiences with a unique opportunity to see

    them all perform in the same place on the same night.


    General admission $15.

    $10 advanced booking. Visit: for tickets and


  • Events: Reports

    Prepare for N.I.C.E, New Italian Cinema Events

    N.I.C.E, New Italian Cinema Events is heading back to the US for a new exciting series of contemporary Italian cinema. Year after year, the festival, now its 24th edition, brings around the world Italian films made by young directors at their first or second experience. This is an important opportunity for new Italian promising directors to have their talent recognized outside the borders of their home country.

    The festival was created by founded by Viviana del Bianco and Grazia Santini in 1991, to become, over the past years, one of the most relevant and appreciated international showcases of the up-and-coming Italian cinema in the United States, Russia and China.The festival in the USA is traditionally held during the second and third weeks of November in New York City and San Francisco, and this year it's making a quick stop in Washington D.C.

    This year’s N.I.C.E. in New York is presented in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute, New York; the Consulate General of Italy; the School of Visual Arts’ Film Department, the New York Film Academy and NYU’s Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò. Additional sponsorship is provided by Comune di Firenze; Fondazione Sistema Toscana; Ministero dei Beni Culturali and Affari Esteri; and Regione Toscana.

    Once again, the Italian Cultural Institute in New York will host the presentation of this year’s selection, which features seven terrific films by up-and-coming directors, qualifying for the City of Florence Award (Through voting ballots, N.I.C.E.’s audiences are responsible for assigning the “N.I.C.E - City of Florence Award” to one of the seven feature films in competition every year, which is screened in Florence in December): the first-ever animated feature film shown by the festival (“The Art of Happiness” by Alessandro Rak), an Italian production entirely in Arabic (“Border” by Alessio Cremonini”), a suspense-oriented film in the giallo tradition (“House of Shadows” by Rossella De Venuto), a LGBT road-trip set between Barcelona and Chile (“Up to the world” by Alessandro Lunardelli), a raucously entertaining and geeky version of hit TV-show Breaking Bad (“I Can Quit Whenever I Want” by Sydney Sibilia), a scathing indictment of the pharmaceutical industry (“The Medicine Seller” by Antonio Morabito) and a charming romantic comedy revolving around kleptomania and narcolepsy (“Remember Me?”

    by Rolando Ravello).

    On November 20th, N.I.C.E. will make a quick stop-over in Washington D.C. for an additional special screening of “Blame Freud”, before proceeding to San Francisco, where this year’s full film selection will be showcased, in addition to Asia Argento’s “Misunderstood”, Paolo Virzì’s “Human Capital”, Roberto Andò’s “Long Live Freedom”, Stefano Incerti’s "Snow", Giovanni Cioni’s "Per Ulisse" and an evening with Edoardo Ponti.

    NYC program

    Monday, Nov. 17 at 6:00 p.m.

    Italian Cultural Institute, New York (686 Park Ave. btw E. 68th and E. 69th street)

    Presentation of the upcoming New Italian Cinema Events series in the US

    Panelists: directors Paolo Genovese and Rossella De Venuto, alongside N.I.C.E. Director Viviana del Bianco


    Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 6:00 p.m.

    Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò (24 W. 12th St. btw 5th & 6th Ave.)

    Screening of "Remember Me?" (Ti ricordi di me?) by Rolando Ravello (in Italian with English subtitles) followed by a Q&A with screenwriter Paolo Genovese and a reception

    First come, first served

    Tuesday, Nov 18 at 7.30 p.m.

    New York Film Academy - Union Square (100 E. 17th St. @ Park Ave.)

    Screening of "House of Shadows" ("Controra") by Rossella De Venuto (in Italian with English subtitles) followed by a Q&A with director Rossella De Venuto


    Wednesday, Nov. 19th at 7:00 p.m.

    SVA Theaters – Silas (333 West 23rd St)

    NYC premiere screening of "Blame Freund" ("Tutta colpa di Freud") by Paolo Genovese (in Italian with English subtitles) followed by a Q&A with director Paolo Genovese


    Admission to all events is free, just RSVP.

  • Facts & Stories

    Matera: European Culture Capital 2019

    Matera simply is one of the most unusual and memorable cities in Italy. When Carlo Levi was exiled to the remote southern region of Basilicata (also called Lucania) by Mussolini for his anti-fascist views, he wrote of his experience in his famous memoir, “Christ Stopped at Eboli.” The title meaning, of course, that Italy's bleak south couldn't have possibly been visited by Christ. Ironically, Matera has in recent times become a stomping ground for filmmakers searching for a biblical landscape, and finding it in the abandoned Sassi (cave-dwelling districts).

    Here in the States we heard about it when Mel Gibson, a cherished filmmaker back in 2004, shot his controversial The Passion. “Certain sections of the city are 2,000 years old, and the architecture, the blocks of stone, the surrounding areas and rocky terrain added a vista and backdrop that we [used] to create the backdrops for our lavish sets of Jerusalem. We relied heavily on the look that was there. In fact, the first time I saw it, I just went crazy, because it was so perfect,” he said to the Daily News.

    Before Gibson, forty years ago, Pier Paolo Pasolini shot “The Gospel According to St. Matthew” there. When Mel Gibson first saw Matera, he envisioned the sassi caves as the perfect backdrop for his Jerusalem sets. In fact, Gibson used some of the same locations as Pasolini when filming “The Passion of The Christ.” UNESCO calls the Sassi of Matera “the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean region, perfectly adapted to its terrain and ecosystem.

    The first inhabited zone dates from the Palaeolithic, while later settlements illustrate a number of significant stages in human history.”

    And Matera has been awarded for all its beauty: indeed it was just picked as European Culture Capital 2019, beating some all time-favorites Cagliari, Lecce, Perugia-Assisi, Ravenna and Siena. In 1985 the Council of Ministers of the European Union started regularly designating what they labelled the “European Capital of Culture.” Florence, Bologna and Genoa are among the Italian cities that have already obtained this prestigious title. As stated in the European Commission website, the initiative is meant to highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe, to celebrate the cultural features Europeans share, to increase European citizens’ sense of belonging to a common cultural area, and to foster the contribution of culture to the development of cities.

    The city's mayor, Salvatore Adduce, has said: “the designation of Matera is an example of civilization and rebirth that comes to Europe from Matera and the whole of the south.” In Brussels, the European Culture Commissioner, Androulla Vassiliou, voiced confidence that the designation would decisively boost the region's tourism industry.

    According to Vassiliou, this year’s competition for the title in Italy was one of the strongest ever, with 21 initial contenders narrowed down to six finalists; Cagliari, Lecce, Perugia, Ravenna, Siena and Matera, confirming the immense popularity and prestige of this European Union initiative.

    This year’s other European cities are Umea (Sweden) and Riga (Latvia), Mons (Belgium) and Plzeň (Czech Republic), followed by Donostia-San Sebastián (Spain) and Wrocław (Poland) in 2016, Aarhus(Denmark) and Paphos (Cyprus) in 2017, Leeuwarden (Netherlands) and Valetta (Malta) in 2018 and Matera(Italy) and Plovdiv (Bulgaria) in 2019.

    To see Matera thoroughly, and to get an idea of the living conditions of the former cave-dwellers, you should spend at least a day in town. Among the several things to see there are beautiful chiese rupestri, churches cut into the rock of hillsides and ravines; the Museo Nazionale Ridola, which contains exhibits from distant eras of Basilicata's past, from prehistory to the Roman age; Palazzo Lanfranchi, which houses the Museo Nazionale d'Arte Medievale e Moderna della Regione Basilicata, an art museum includig the Pinacoteca D'Errico, which has lots of religious paintings by southern painters; the Centro Carlo Levi, which contains a range of paintings by the twentieth-century artist and writer who is a part of this region's modern history.

    As tourism in Matera is becoming big business, various enterprising locals have set up tourist attractions such as cave reconstructions: cave-houses which have been filled with period fittings to show how life was once lived here.

    But this is only the beginning, the Italian city now has four years to plan 12 months of outstanding events that will offer Matera and its surrounding area significant long-term cultural, economic and social benefits, as it happened with all previous European Capitals of Culture.