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Diving into the world of Italian wines with Ciro Pirone

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This month I interviewed local Italian wine expert, Ciro Pirone. I met Pirone when I recently took the Italian Wine Specialist certification course through the North American Sommelier Association. He happened to be the coordinator of the course, and I immediately gravitate to folks that not only have a love for Italy, but even more so a love and passion for Italian wine. Pirone was born in Campania in his hometown of Salerno, one of the major five cities of the southern Italian region. He graduated from the Istituto Alberghiero di Salerno in 1994, when he was 18 years old, ...

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Luca Mignogna: The ultimate mozzarella artisan

Luca Mignogna of Wolf Meadow Farms

Every day — even before the actual ‘day’ technically starts — Luca Mignogna drives about five miles on gorgeous country roads in Northeastern Massachusetts, winding around a charming pond nestled in thick woods, to what he considers a magical source. “You see, yesterday ‘this’ was not even on this earth, it was somewhere in the universe,” he says as he connects a pump from the container in his trunk to a larger tank in a barn by which he parks, “and tonight it will be on somebody’s table.” Obviously, the native of Campobasso – an actor’s face on a somehow ...

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Piccola Napoletana: A real Neapolitan pizzeria in the heart of Beverly

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Sculpting, painting, and architecture are some of the most notable art forms that come to mind when we reflect on Italia’s expansive history and the nation’s role in artistic developments. Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Brunelleschi will, undoubtedly, forever remain implanted in our minds as being the Italian “greats” of art. But sculpting and painting are not the only artistic expressions that are noteworthy; Italians have a way of transforming seemingly simple tasks into grandiose art forms, even when it comes to making pizza. The Neapolitan preparation of pizza is often the most highly regarded, and for good reason. It boasts a ...

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The All-Italian Wine Experience of David Maione’s Vino Italiano in Waltham

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The joy of writing this column is being able to present you the world of Italian wines in and around the Boston area. This month, I met with someone living out one of my dreams: owning and operating not only a wine shop, but an Italian wine shop. It doesn’t get any better than that when you have a passion for Italian wine like I do. With David Maione, owner of Vino Italiano located on Main Street in Waltham, we discussed what got him into the business and peaked his interest and love in Italian wines. Maione’s family originates from ...

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Heroine to the Hungry: Catherine D’Amato

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Article and interview by Lou Carlozo, originally published in the June 2015 issue of Bostoniano. Whether you grow up in the restaurant business or work at a food bank, your role and goal is to serve people so that a very basic need is met. And while many Italian Americans might take one path or the other into the world of food service, Catherine D’Amato knows both. When she was 8, her parents opened an Italian restaurant in California. And while still in college, she began a remarkable journey from theology student to food bank organizer and leader. Today, D’Amato ...

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Consul General Nicola De Santis’ veteran outlook

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Nicola De Santis has been Boston’s Consul General of Italy for little less than a year, but he already has set the wheels in motion to follow in his predecessors’ footsteps. After taking office at the end of last summer, De Santis quickly moved to improve the Consulate’s services, with a particular focus on reducing wait and responding to queries from Italian citizens seeking assistance from the Consulate. “Before anything else, you need to make sure the daily work here is being done right,” he says. Sitting in his beautiful 17th floor office overlooking the bustling Seaport District at 600 ...

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Tuscan State of Mind: Bottega Fiorentina’s Andrea Ferrini

Bottega Fiorentina owner Andrea Ferrini (photo ©Nicola Orichuia)

Firenze, Florencia, Florence — no matter where you’re from, or how you pronounce the name, this Tuscan city is one of the most enchantingly beautiful in all of Italy. Firenze is like a painter’s palette, vibrant with color from all the periods of its lengthy history. From cobblestone alleyways shaded by medieval facades, to visions of the revered Duomo, and finally to the Ponte Vecchio, the bridge that connects the city divided by the Arno River, visitors can’t help but get lost in its magic. But among the grandeur, there is a certain solace that exists, a particular tranquility that ...

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Al Fulchino of Fulchino Vineyards

Jennifer Martin with Al Fulchino of Fulchino Vineyard

This past month the Meetup Group called “Passion for Everything Italian” that I host visited Fulchino Vineyards, a local winery of Italian origin. Located in Hollis, New Hampshire (about one hour from Boston), the winery is situated in a residential neighborhood. As you venture off the highway, you’d never think there is a winery situated there, but that’s part of what makes it special. To be able to drive to a local winery and sample the fruits of the land that we live on is pretty amazing. We’re so used to drinking wines from around the world, especially Europe and ...

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Making Logan Airport Efficient and Look Good: Massport’s Luciana Burdi

Massport Capital Program and Environmental Affairs Deputy Director Luciana Burdi

On a glorious May morning, Luciana Burdi greets me at the security desk of the Massport administrative building where she works, looking just as glorious. Her outfit is way more hip and stylish than one would expect for a regular Thursday at the office, and she transmits positive energy while navigating the building’s corridors with a sharp sense of humor and a smile that throughout our two-hour encounter never seems to fade away. “It’s been three years, and I love it!” she says, as we sit down in the office where she serves as deputy director of Massport’s Capital Program ...

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The Frozen Bliss of The New Art of Gelato

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As we meddle through spring, with summer fast approaching, we ask ourselves: “Is there any better way to satisfy our taste buds than with a cold, confectionary treat?” Although we all tend to become increasingly more aware of our figures during this time of year, we can’t help but associate warmer weather with frozen desserts that help cool us down. But with so many options — traditional ice cream, the seemingly ubiquitous frozen yogurt, slush, and gelato — which does one choose? It seems, yet again, that all we must do is turn to our Italian neighbors across the ocean ...

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Cristina Mariani May: Carrying on the Banfi Legacy

Cristina Mariani May

The Banfi name is well-known when it comes to Tuscan wine. I recently had the honor to attend a seminar and tasting with Castello di Banfi owner and Banfi Vintners co-CEO, Cristina Mariani May, at an event held at Tuscan Kitchen in Burlington, Massachusetts. Mariani May is the third generation of the Banfi family to run the business. I was surprised when she first started speaking. There was no trace of an Italian accent. Later, I’d find out Cristina currently resides in Long Island, but travels back and forth to Italy. The Banfi brand was established in the 19th century ...

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Boston Community’s Rising Star Giovanni Abbadessa

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“You have to look five years ahead.” Giovanni Abbadessa repeats this motto as a mantra and seems to apply it to the many tasks and roles he juggles in his busy, intense, on-the-verge-of-overbooked daily life. His phone rings, beeps or vibrates relentlessly during the two hours we spend in the gorgeous, elegantly and somewhat minimally furnished house in a western suburb of Boston he bought a couple of years ago. The results from the local COMITES election, in which he was a candidate, are just coming in that day, while kitchen renovation contractors in need of quotes and measures continuously ...

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