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Traditions

Gingerbread: A Sicilian-Canadian Tradition

Gingerbread: A Sicilian-Canadian Tradition

In December 2015 I sent out a celebratory email about the gingerbread houses I’d made with my nieces and cousins: Subject: Gingerbread House-a-Palooza! Message: What does it take to make three gingerbread houses? 21 cups flour 2 1/4 cups butter 7 eggs + 16 egg whites 5 1/4 cups brown sugar 16 cups icing sugar 3 1/2 cups molasses 20…

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Preserving Summer’s Latecomers

Preserving Summer’s Latecomers

Forlorn, hopelessly hanging on, budding too late to reach their full glory, tarty green tomatoes are the latecomers of summer. Packed with promise, they usually wind up on the compost heap of autumn. This year our rainy Ontario summer will produce a bountiful harvest of firm, green, blemished tomatoes. All is not lost. You can preserve their potential in glistening olive…

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History of a Dress

History of a Dress

I have had an affinity for Venice ever since, as a child, I was taken to the city by my parents during carnival. Years later, I often returned to research a doctoral dissertation on Venetian art. In June of 2012, though, my visit was quite different from previous ones: I was returning to the city I love to celebrate my…

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Pass the Jug

Pass the Jug

“That’ll be €1.50 a litre”. We weren’t talking about the latest hike in gas prices but the cost of the wine sold direct from the cantina. Last year’s Barbera, 13 percent by volume and perfect for the dinner table, was the subject of discussion and with no little enthusiasm. Here the inhabitants of Novi Ligure, the “Novesi”, bring their bottles,…

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The Long Way to Rome

The Long Way to Rome

All roads lead to Rome, as they say, but none compares with the experience of walking the Via Francigena. A thoroughfare for a thousand years, traversed by kings and paupers, merchants and bandits, this little-known route laces the Italian boot and ties together a rich and rewarding story. It isn’t the camino di Santiago, to be sure. You know that one, the…

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Sagra dello Stocco

Sagra dello Stocco

Sagra dello Stocco Every August 9 on the eve of ferragosto, the Italian summer holidays, fish aficionados from around the world travel to Mammola, Reggio Calabria, for the Sagra dello Stocco or stockfish festival. Like many Mediterranean food festivals, this sagra includes traditional dancing, music and the perennial balli dei giganti – a parade through town with larger-than life figures in medieval costume carried aloft by…

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Breathing New Life into Vancouver’s Italian Cultural Centre

It's a few minutes past six on a warm Vancouver evening in May outside Vancouver's Italian Cultural Centre. Joe Finamore, President of Vancouver's Italian Cultural Centre Society, introduces Father Louis Piran, pastor of St. Helen's Parish. Under clear blue skies the Scalabrinian prete, resplendent in his official garments, steps forward amidst an ambience of Italian pride to deliver his invocation.…

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Women’s Night Out

On a cold April Wednesday, when it seemed that winter in Toronto would never end, 145 women left the comfort of home and hearth and ventured out to the Columbus Centre to celebrate "Sacchetti's Women's Night Out." For organizer and originator Jane Sacchetti, this was the ninth successful evening in an annual event that started with a simple idea. She…

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