The Colombo Lodge cucina served as a hub for nonnas and zias putting skill to scalille stick this week. Cathy Esposito (front) and Vivian Johnson shape the Italian cookie into a characteristic ladder shape.

Italian treats a highlight of Piazza Day

Annual Colombo event set for this Saturday

All it takes is eggs and flour to make one of the tastiest Italian cookies.

Of course, frying the dough in oil and smothering the cookie in honey also helps scalille shine. Those few ingredients plus plenty of amore and nonna’s rolling stick is what keeps scalille a favourite – and a sellout at Colombo Piazza Day.

Starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Colombo Lodge members invite the community to bring an appetite for food and music to the society’s 6th annual Piazza Day.

“The day is a fun-packed three hours and we welcome the community to come out and enjoy,” says Pat Zanier, president of the men’s lodge. “Piazza Day is growing every year and we need to keep it going. That’s what the lodge is about, promoting and sharing our culture with friends and the community.”

Mouth watering scents have been wafting from the lodge’s kitchen all week as the Sisters of Colombo gathered to roll, fry and bake traditional Italian sweets to sell during the event.

Sounds like hard work, but the Colombo women look forward to it, and say it’s all in good fun.

“Everyone does their part,” explained sorelle member Irene Hanley. “It’s enjoyable for us to be a part of Piazza Day so it isn’t like work. It’s important to carry on the traditions, and we are so proud of our heritage,” she laughed. “And we make a lot (of food), because people pig out when they come – they really do eat a lot of food.”

It wasn’t only women in the kitchen this week, however. The men’s lodge has been stirring large pots of marinara to smother the homemade polenta  – but the work was all done under the watchful eye of Ilva Corazza.

Now 90, the Trail nonna has cooked molto pasta and meatballs in her 40-plus years working in the Colombo kitchen.

These days, the men do all the heavy lifting, and Ilva does all the tasting to make sure all sauce served is seasoned just right.

“She’s the brains behind the dough,” said Zanier. “She’s got a lot of helpers but she calls all the shots, tastes everything and makes sure it’s all just right.”

Ilva’s cooking career began as a young girl in Italy and continued at the Trail Hotel, before she brought her know-how to the Colombo. After all those years, she says there’s no secret to her recipes.

“You put good (ingredients) in the sauce and the sauce comes good,” she said. “And you need to taste a little. If you need more (seasoning), then you add it. Simple.”

To accompany the food, Roland Perri, Terry Mandoli, Reg Bozzer and Clark White will be playing live music, and Colombo members will be in the archives room to share the history and Italian culture of Trail.

The lodge is open to new members and an information table will be set up that day.

Piazza Day runs from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., with food and drink tickets on sale during the event.

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