Author Archives: Nancy Brussat

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.    

Lombardia V – “A Tourist of a Different Sort”

I began my journeys in Italy as a tourist, but a tourist of a different sort.  Rather than trying to check off every major city (Rome, Milan, Venice…), the celebrated landmarks (the Colluseum, the Ponte Vecchio, Piazza San Marco…) and … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Abruzzo – “The Last Loose End”

Tying up loose ends has always been a priority with me. This (occasionally) compulsive behavior of mine was especially evident when I opened Convito Italiano – our original name – in 1980. As a first time business owner, I couldn’t … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Puglia “My Tre Colore Journey”

To this day, whenever I think of Puglia, a vision of the red, green and white of the Italian flag is what immediately comes to mind. It was 1983 and I was visiting this southern region that forms the heel … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Trentino-Alto Adige “Diversity and Drama”

Italy as we know it today is a relatively young country.  Before its unification in 1861, it was a collection of independent city-states and republics all with very distinct characteristics.  Geography, climate, foreign invasions and proximity to other countries shaped … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Marche “What’s In A Name?”

A desire to connect to our past is a part of all us, no matter who we are or where we come from. To know where our ancestors called home, to understand what their everyday lives were like and to … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Tuscany III “A Region For All Seasons”

  Beautiful cities, villages and hilltop towns are scattered throughout this amazing region drawing travelers from all over the globe to one of the most glorious and historic locations in all of Italy. But what has always drawn me to … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Sicily I “A Salvador Dali Weekend”

      Glancing out the window of an Alitalia jet on yet another of my regional trips across Italy, I was confronted with an image that was both unsettling and beautiful. Ominous puffs of steam and angry explosions of … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments