My friend Luigi Lazzaroni

I was deeply saddened to learn today about the passing of Luigi Lazzaroni my friend for over 25 years.  I first met him at a restaurant in Milan during the devastating snowstorm of 1985.  Milan – as with the rest of northern Italy – was at a standstill.  Airports and train stations were closed. Roads were impassable.   The night after the snowstorm I had slogged my way to the closest restaurant to my hotel with my friend, Roberta.  Almost no one was in the restaurant but us, the owner and his friend, Luigi Lazzaroni.  How fortunate and fortuitous I was to meet him that snowy night.

By the end of the evening after a glorious conversation, Luigi promised to send a car to my hotel the next day to bring me to see the famous Lazzaroni plant in Saronno.  True to his word, a car with chains on its wheels arrived the next morning.   After a tour of the Amaretti di Saronno plant and a dinner at his home, an old, charming 15th century monastery, we began what was a long and very rewarding friendship.

I stayed at his home several times and he stayed at my home in Chicago, as did his two sons. He was such an elegant and interesting man. I haven’t seen him since my trip to Lago Maggiore (as described in my last blog) when I stayed at his summer home in Oriano.  I have planned to write a separate blog on all of my experiences with Luigi and his family – and I will.  But today, I wanted to express my sadness and send my deepest condolences to his lovely family.

It was truly a privilege to have known him.

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About Nancy Brussat

I am the owner of an Italian café and market in Wilmette, Illinois, a suburb on the north side of Chicago.  The original Convito Italiano was opened in 1980.  It included a deli, bakery, prepared foods, groceries and wine.  Today it is renamed Convito Café & Market and has expanded to include an 80 seat restaurant.   In preparation for launching my business I wanted to learn as much as possible about the food, the wine and the culture of this country I so came to love. I had the good fortune to have extraordinary teachers, Milanese residents and future partners Paolo Volpara and his mother Wanda Bottino.  During my frequent travels from 1979 to 1986 I was able to cook with Wanda in her small Milanese kitchen during the week then travel to different regions with Paolo on the weekends. I continue visiting Italy to this day but this was my time of total Italian immersion.   It was the beginning of an adventure that carried me to the four corners of Italy and every region in-between.  It was also the beginning of another kind of journey – a personal one that opened up possibilities I never considered or knew existed.  It was a heady time for a girl brought up in the fifties.    
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One Response to My friend Luigi Lazzaroni

  1. Paul Alms says:

    Nancy: That is a lovely tribute to your fruiend, Luigi Lazzaroni. I’m sure his family will be touched by your very kind thoughts and recolections of special times with he and his family.

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