When I first meet Rachael Lowe, she isn’t the “picture” of a fine-dining sommelier I had in my mind. Down-to-earth and gregarious, she doesn’t speak in esoteric or rarefied tones, even though she is brilliant in her descriptions of the style, producer and terroir of the 800 labels on Spiaggia’s wine list. For over five years, Lowe has been the beve...

Mario Ortigara was born in his parents’ home on the South Side of Chicago, where brother Benny welcomed him. A few years later, sister Mary joined the family. Anna Panozzo and Domenico Ortigara were from small towns in the Piedmont region of Italy, where they met and married. They lost their first-born son to illness before immigrating to Chicago,...

Hungry? A new neighborhood Italian spot has you covered. Located at 738 N. Wells St. in River North, the fresh arrival is called Torchio Pasta Bar. This new business specializes in fresh pasta that's made in-house. From spaghetti to rigatoni to orecchiette, this spot hopes to satisfy your pasta and Italian food cravings. In addition to pasta, the m...

Last week was the first of the three main events that I will help plan throughout my internship, The Authentic Italian Table!  The three-day food expo features a total of 15 renowned Italian restaurants in the Chicago area as well as various food and wine sponsors.  The event aligns with the True Italian Taste Project to showcase  authentic Italian...

The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii is inviting current and former parishioners to purchase a paver for placement in the Shrine’s Garden of Remembrance. “If you’ve ever had a special moment in this sacred place, if you’d like to honor a loved one or commemorate a special date, please consider being a part of our Garden of Remembrance,” Shrine Rector...

One of the most thrilling and glamorous events in the Chicago-area Italian-American community is the contest to determine who will reign as La Bella Regina of the Columbus Day Parade. “Few events in the community can match the pageantry of the annual Columbus Day Queen Contest,” says JCCIA Executive Director Jo Ann Serpico. “The queen will be the s...

Little Italy Fest-West will once again bring the Old Neighborhood to suburban Addison this summer. Attendees will enjoy the same great food and entertainment at the same great location this year. Only the dates will change. Staged at Centennial Park on Lake Street at Rohlwing Road from July 25 to 28, the four-day extravaganza has been sponsored for...

The Sons and Daughters of Italy in America will honor veteran educator Lyn Scolaro as Person of the Year at a gala on July 13 at Elmcrest Banquets in Elmwood Park. For details, call 630-913-7654. The following profile was provided by the organization. Lyn Scolaro Professoressa Lyn Scolaro is the daughter of Veneto parents Mary (Cecchin-Galliera Ven...

The Gene Siskel Film Center will screen the world premier of “Shelf Life: The Story of Lanzi Candy,” a documentary by Michael Lahey on July 12, 13 and 17. For decades, Chicago was renowned as “Candy Capital of the World,” home to the giants Brach, Mars, Ferrara, and Wrigley, and scores of mid-sized and small family-owned companies. Those glory days...

Three area residents were recently honored with Leonardo da Vinci awards, an annual recognition given to Italian-Americans of achievement. Honored were Kankakee cardiologist Dr. Mario Massullo; Bert Jacobson, who as been president for six years of the Americo Vespucci Lodge of the Sons of Italy in Kankakee County; and Marie Marsalli, president of t...