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Coco Pazzo earns coveted wine award

Coco Pazzo has been hailed as having the best Italian wine list in Chicago by Gambero Rosso, an internationally renowned authority on Italian wine and restaurants. Wine Director Tamra Weiss was presented with the award at the Tre Bicchieri World Tour Wine Tasting kick-off in Chicago on Feb. 7. “I am honored to be recognized with this prestigious award,” Weiss says. “I am so proud that our restaurant was singled out by this world-renowned organization.” “We are thrilled to be recognized for the quality and diversity of the wines on our menu,” husband and co-owner Jack Weiss adds. “It is ...

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Buona Beef opens 18th location

  Buona Beef opened its 18th location in Algonquin in November. The new restaurant is located at 501 S. Randall Road. Buona is the area’s largest family-owned Italian beef restaurant group and official Italian Beef of the World Series Champions Chicago Cubs. The grand opening festivities included giveaways and freebies, including free beef for a year for the first 100 customers and a prize wheel with Buona swag and gift cards. “We’re excited to serve the Algonquin community,” says second-generation owner Joe Buonavolanto. “It’s a thriving area that our family is proud to be a part of.”  

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Local gelato geniuses advance to finals

  Gelato artisans Angelo Lollino and Ali Caine Hung competed in the Gelato World Tour at Millennium Park in May, placing second with their flavor ‘Chicago Pothole’ to advance to the finals in Rimini, Italy, next September. Lollino and Hung vied for the title of “World’s Best Gelato” against 15 teams from all across North, South and Central America. “It was a wonderful experience to be surrounded by my peers in this industry and to be a part of such a prestigious competition,” Lollino said. “We are excited that we get the chance to go to Italy and compete on ...

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Caputo’s to host Battle of the Vino

  How good is your homemade wine? To find out, sign up for the sixth annual Battle of the Vino. Hosted by Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets, the event will be staged on Aug. 27 at the grocery chain’s Carol Stream store, 520 E. North Ave. Home winemakers are invited to vie for a $250 Caputo’s gift card and other prizes; learn new tricks from Caputo’s resident wine experts; and sample wines, cheeses and deli meats as they put their own wine to the test. (630-620-4444, ext. 1034)  

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Clerk Brown honors De Orio

Catherine De Orio, host of WTTW’s “Check Please!”, was among 13 women in the culinary arts honored at the Women’s History Month Celebration hosted by Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown. The U.S. Bureau of Labor reports that there are more women managers and owners in the restaurant industry than in virtually any other profession, Brown noted, but only 21.5 percent of chefs or head cooks are women. “We’re proud to commemorate the progress women are making in the culinary arts at our awards program,” Brown said.

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Gioacchino’s celebrates 40th anniversary

Jack and Nella Curatolo, owners of Gioacchino’s Ristorante in Bellwood, have been welcoming residents from across Chicagoland — and around the world — into their humble Italian “cucina” for decades. This year marks the 40th year of an American success story — perfecting family recipes and making stuffed, pan and thick pizzas; pasta entrees; panzarotti and other Calabrese-inspired dishes the choice of distinguished food critics such as the late Pat Bruno as well as countless customers. Despite the long hours of tremendously difficult restaurant work, Nella and Jack forged on, adding to their menu, never cutting corners or compromising quality ...

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Labriola reimagines Sunday brunch

When “Chief Doughboy” Rich Labriola decided to launch a Sunday brunch at his North Michigan Avenue foodie mecca, he was determined to make it a cut above the ordinary. Actually, make that several cuts above. The new menu at La Stanza Ristorante, the fine dining room in the back of Labriola Chicago, features lobster thermidor benedict, baby kale and octopus hash with a sunny-side up egg, prosecco in place of champagne, and a do-it-yourself donut bar. (312.955.3100, lastanzachicago.com)  

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Angelo Caputo’s crowns local winemaking kings

  What began as a low-key competition with a handful of entries has blossomed into a winemaking extravaganza with nearly three dozen competitors vying for top prizes in two categories: red and white. Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets held its 2015 Battle of the Vino at the grocery chain’s Carol Stream store. Among the winners chosen by a panel of four judges were the Mike Scarlatti Group (pictured), Frank Manfredi, Michael Cozzi and Ken Gross. (caputomarkets.com)  

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La Mozzarella: Not a choice. A privilege.

You haven’t lived until you’ve tasted true Mozzarella di Bufala. Just ask Lara Postiglione. “This isn’t your garden variety mozzarella,” she asserts. “It’s a protected trade name in Italy that applies only to cheese made from the milk of water buffaloes raised in the Campania and Lazio regions of Italy and produced to very exacting standards.” Lara first experienced this sublime dairy product while teaching English as a second language in the Port of Naples. It was a life-changing experience. “It was the most amazing thing I had ever tasted,” she recalls with unabated delight. “I was absolutely crazy about ...

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Dessert as art at Freddy’s

Calling the gelato con brioche at Freddy’s Pizza in Cicero an ice cream sandwich is like calling the Mona Lisa a pretty good portrait. Owners Joe and Ann Marie Quercia drop a scoop of their heavenly gelato between the halves of a soft, golden bun, heat-sealing it with a special press imported from Sicily and then drizzling it with chocolate sauce. Warm on the outside, frozen in the center, it’s a masterpiece through and through. “In Sicily, they have it for breakfast!” Joe assures. Goodbye, Good Humor. Hello, Freddy’s! http://freddyspizza.com

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