Inside Bel Paese Dining Room
Welcome to Bel Paese
It is unnecessary and certainly there isn’t enough room here to examine in greater detail all the richly varied forms that history and geography have pressed upon the cooking of Italy. What is important is to be aware that these differences exist and that behind the screen of all too familiar term ‘Italian cooking’ lies, waiting to be discovered, a multitude of riches.
Our skills, our tastes, and our discoveries all rest upon the compressed layers of experience from family, friends, acquaintances, other cooks, and the long ranks of generations that have preceded us. I feel privileged and thankful to have grown up in Italy where eating is a way life and almost everyone I know influenced me to have a passion for cooking. I really think that cooking and eating is one of the maximum expressions that life has to offer.
Nothing significant exists under the Italian sun that is not touched by art. Italy’s food is twice blessed because it is the product of two arts; the art of cooking and the art of eating. While each nourishes the other, they are in no way identical accomplishments.
The art of cooking produces the dish, but it’s the art of eating that transforms the dish into a meal. Through the art of eating, an Italian meal becomes a precisely orchestrated event, where the products of the season, the tradition of the region, the intuition of the cook, and the knowledgeable joy of the participants are combined into one of the most satisfying experiences that our senses can appreciate.
Eating in Italy is one more manifestation of the age-old gift of making art out of life. An Italian meal is a story told from nature. The meal takes natures rhythms, its humor, and its bounty, turning them all into an episode of the senses.
Italian must be approached as a fully developed cuisine and not equated as merely another ethnic food. Of course, I don’t expect that the Italian way of eating can be wholly absorbed into everyday American life. Even in Italy, life is succumbing to the on-rushing uniformities of a modern society. But, I can have the ambitious expectation that I can refurbish your gastronomic spirit, at least when you enter my restaurant. Primarily because I refuse to be another spoke in a giant wheel. It is possible, from the most tumultuous center of the busiest city life, to summon up the life enhancing magic of the Italian art of eating.
My purpose and goal is not to have a glittering establishment, where we showcase an infinite parade of fine china and invisible food, but to give you the heart, la buona cucina Italiana. I want you to experience some of the joy and beauty of the total Italian food experience. What it requires is patience and an open mind. What it returns is well worth it!