May 6, 2010

Book review "Breaking Bread in L'Aquila"

"When a project is conceived out of passion, its roots show."
This is the case with the new Italian trattoria-style cookbook, Breaking Bread in L'Aquila

A collection of recipes? Hardly just that.

Maria Filice is an ardent fan of the city and traveled many times to L'Aquila, the hometown of her late husband, Paul Piccone. On their numerous travels there, Paul introduced Maria to San Biagio, a small and charming homestyle restaurant, owned by two brothers–Andrea and Luciano Carlofelice–experts in making customers happy with their warm smiles and their fresh, local, and incredibly tasty dishes.

Breaking Bread in L'Aquila is inspired in part by those memorable meals, but even more so by a deep love for the joviality and warmth of shared hospitality. But above all, the book is inspired by the enduring love for Paul, the man who transformed Maria's life. Breaking Bread in L'Aquila is, essentially, a delicious love letter.

Maria was prompted to write her book when she visited L'Aquila a few months after her husband Paul passed away. As the book shaped itself, her visits intensified and in the aftermath of the April 2009 earthquake, Maria reports:

"When I was leaving L'Aquila on my short visit in September 2009, in the lobby sitting next to me was an older woman, relocated there from her crumbled home in the city. We made eye contact. I smiled, and she asked me what I was doing in L'Aquila. I told her that I was finishing my book and that I had wished to see L'Aquila once more before I could put closure on my book's introduction. She looked at me and gripping my hand, said, "Don't forget about us." I was moved. This deepened my resolve to complete the book, and release it on April 6th 2010–the anniversary of the earthquake–as a reminder to readers of the Abruzzo region's suffering. I promised the elderly lady that I would help by donating the net profits of my book to L'Aquila."

Breaking Bread in L'Aquila, whose recipes are inspired by those sampled over the years at trattoria San Biagio, includes Maria's favorite appetizers, main courses, side dishes, desserts and regional wines.

Bold, colorful, and easy to make, Breaking Bread in L'Aquila's Abruzzo-inspired dishes are as gorgeous to look at as they are to savor. The 49+ recipes, which are organized according to the days of the week, are made with ingredients available in anyone's local market.

In her practical and entertaining cookbook, Maria guides readers on a personal journey, complete with charming storytelling and tasty tips, to one of the most beautiful areas of Italy's countryside.

The net proceeds of this book will be donated to the earthquake restoration efforts of L'Aquila.

About the author: Maria Filice, a first-time author, food stylist and food blogger, is a first-generation Canadian-American Italian. Born and raised by immigrant parents from Calabria, Maria grew up following her family's Old World, old-school values. She learned her cooking skills from the best: her mother, grandmother, and aunts, whom she carefully studied from the time she could barely walk.

Join us in celebrating Abruzzo's fine food, wine and music at the "Breaking Bread in L'Aquila" Italy book launch with author Maria Filice

Saturday, May 15th 2010 at 5 p.m.
Sextantio albergo diffuso
Via Principe Umberto – 67020 Santo Stefano di Sessanio (AQ) Italy

Contacts for further accommodation info:
Tel. +39 0862 899 112


  1. Perfectly lovely. I did try the link and couldn't find the info on the book.I shall search.

  2. Is it possible to purchase this via you Eleonora?

  3. thinking i have just found an excellent present for T...

  4. Dear Eleonora,
    Thank you for reviewing my book - very moved and touched by your kind words. I gained a new friend and look forward to seeing you next week in Italy to celebrate!

    maria x

  5. Eleonora, this is so lovely. I will be buying the book - and cooking from it and reviewing it. Simple Italian food made fresh - a piece of the Italian countryside. Giving back to L'Aquila - a slice of heaven.

  6. Thanks for clueing us into this book - what a wonderful thing that author is doing by donating proceeds back to L'Aquila.

  7. This looks to be a delightful book. «Louis» is ordering a copy.

  8. Thank you all for your kind support and enthusiasm. You can help the restoration efforts in L'Aquila by purchasing this cookbook. Here's the link again PURCHASE

    Eleonora xx

  9. Awesome... thanks for sharing this

    x robyn

  10. Just ordered it. Thanks for alerting us. ciao!

  11. it's on my list too.

    i trust your recommendations 100%


  12. what a lovely thing to do, you are such a sweetheart. the book looks great!
    now i'm wondering when we will have the chance to buy yours also??

    ♥ lori

  13. Eleanora, when will this be avl to purchase within Italy. I would love to buy a copy and support the cause. However I have just looked at purchasing a copy and with the cost of the book and the postage from the USA I am afraid it is just not feasible for me to do so at the moment! 34 Euros in all and a high proportion of that is the postage. I will have to wait I think until we can buy it in Italy.

  14. Sounds like a nice read. I'll definitely check it out.

  15. Oh how I would love to be there to celebrate Maria Filice and you for this beautiful review.

    Any chance the book will be on sale in America?


  16. Thank you all for your lovely comments.
    I have replied to Lindy Lou and others posing questions.

    Joanna, the book was released in the US on April 6th and it is available at bookstores and online HERE

    Ciao and again thanks for supporting this noble cause,

    Eleonora xx

  17. The cookbook sounds wonderful and what a noble cause. With all the subsequent earthquakes, we have heard little more about this one in Italy and I know it did terrible damage.

  18. This is not a L'Aquila-related question - although I would like to say that it was recently one year since the disaster, and I sobbed like a baby whilst watching the tv coverage of the memorial. Such brave people, what a horrendous thing to happen.

    My question is regarding pasta, rather than bread. I can't eat anything with wheat in it, is there any pasta over here that I can eat? I know that some places do sell wheat-free pasta, but I highly suspicious and would like an expert's opinion! Thank you Eleonora!

  19. Anything for Abruzzo, but I am afraid I have arrived late. I met a few Canadian Calabrians, they are wonderful people. The book promises to be great.

    Ciao Ele

    [and, allow me, non che tu sia enormemente loquace con gli sms, ma va bene così. Sòla ;-) ]

  20. As one of the few Americans living in L'Aquila during the Earthquake I was very pleased to find the book and honored to be able to meet the Author/Creator of this wonderful book up in Santo Stefano. The evening was wonderful - Officina Musicale had organized a wonderful concert and prose reading and Sextantio put on an amazing dinner based on a local, edible "weed" I had never heard of before even after 10 years of living only a few kilometers awy.
    Thanks to all of you for keeping L'Aquila in your minds, especially Eleonora.

  21. for Status Viatoris

    About the pasta - if wheat is a gluten problem, there pasta's available over here, most in farmacies, but they are quite expensive (4 euros a pound). I know there are companies making cheaper versions for supermarkets and they export, just not yest to the English speaking world.
    Scotti, the famous Italian rice marketer, also has a pasta that comes close to appearing like the real thing, but again, I don't know where they sell it.

  22. RNSANE~ The one thing that is recurrent in the pleads of those living in Abruzzo after the earthquake is, "Please don't forget."
    Stratusviatoris~ Joshua beat me to the answer, if it's gluten you're intolerant to, the gluten-free pasta products are also available in herbal shops, "erboristerie" while the rice-pasta by Scotti is in the supermarket.
    Gio~ sono senza credito nel cell!
    Joshua~ It's a pity no one introduced us last week at S. Stefano! I was sitting across from Maria and next to David (who was too overwhelmed by the food). It was indeed a lovely evening.