Our Wedding on South Beach from credits: my pal Danny Baroccas ofLost Dog Films on Vimeo.

One of the fun things which I have indulged in with the passing of time and along with the fact that I have lived in Italy for the last 26 years is a passion for Italian Food. Ever since I was a young kid growing up in Venezuela, I had a constant fascination for those loud and full of live restaurants that my Dad use to take to me. The mysteries of spaghetti cooked in a thousand variations or that first rabbit “alla cacciatore” still are stuck in my subconscious.

Once my parents got divorced and my mother dragged me to that wonderful capital of the world called New York, weekly visits to Mulberry Street and Little Italy along with a yearly San Gennaro fest love relationship solidified my passion.

So then comes along a move down to Miami and that no-man lands of Italian Cuisine (I still remember with anger my first visit to an Olive Garden in Orlando which I consider a true nightmare that haunts me till this day). I always had a visceral attraction towards Europe in general and considering that my Dad was from Barcelona I was not a bit surprised that my first visit to Rome when I was fresh out of University was the stuff of dreams. A simple hotel (which no longer exists by the way) close to the Spanish Steps culminated in venturing out and eating, by myself since my German girlfriend at the time had still not flown in to meet up with me, the most magnificent “spaghetti alla carbonara” that my eyes had ever encountered. The restaurant, recommended by the bell hop of the hotel, had a simple open garden in the back and was off the typical tourist trap list which back in 1982 was still quite small in nature.

The beauty of the day, the food, and wine, the friendly service sold me on the greatness of the country that I had envisioned in my childhood dreams. That week I was quite serious about planning yearly trips to explore the rest that Italy had to offer and tempt me with.

Obviously once I got on the plane that took me back to the sunny shores of Miami, that plan hit with the reality of finding work (which I did shortly after) and bogging down into the 9 to 5 grid (in those days it was more 9 to 10) in one of Miami’s most successful architectural firms at the time.

But as we all know life has its mysterious way of not forgetting about the small pleasures that we indulge into from time to time. And right after the relationship with the German girl dried up, a common friend (Italian of course) decided to do a match making a proposal to me over a dinner party that I had the coincidence of going to. Bear in mind I hate match making or any sort of effort on the behalf of people to try to solve the complexity that we call life (and in that case human relationships).

But as I walked into that party and was drawn towards a sophisticated girl from Milan sitting on a sofa and acting nonchalant about the fact that she was eating overcooked Gnocchi far away from home. I was immediately entranced and decided to invite her out. And so began our story, one that evolved towards a wonderful wedding on South Beach and my subsequent move to that country which was always teasing me and tempting me in the back of my mind as a child.

Bear in mind that I am a terrible cook in comparison to Betti, but with that passion, I decided to embark on creating and moderating an Italian Food Community on Google+ which has grown exponentially. If you love Italian Food as much as I do I would love to have you check it out. Grazie,

Nazim

You can find the Google+ Italian Food Community link here: Google+ Italian Food Community

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