If you are wondering why I took Italian lessons this past Fall – think for a moment about how beautifully I will converse while I am here
Going back to school in any capacity is a reminder of how we can learn to see ourselves differently at any age or stage of our lives. I want to go to Italy sometime in the next few years and speaking the language will set me up for authentic travel.
I could have taken Italian lessons anywhere as they are offered throughout the city but the only location that really excited me was GRANO.
Learning Italian at Grano is the antithesis of learning a language in a dingy continuing education classroom with flourescent lighting, blackboard dust and an English professor in corrector sandals. Teaching a romantic language requires romance and at minimum a genuine accent.
Our teacher was PierPaula (yes Peter Paul, named after the two saints of her birthdate), an absolutely beautiful Italian girl (‘I came to Canada for love’ she chirps) who endeared herself to us every time she smiled. She did not teach us grammar first; she taught us the vocabulary behind the Italian culture- how to order food, what to see, how to say “I love you” and ‘this bed is too hard’ and ask for directions to the beach or basilica. What more can you possibly need?
Every other week, we were served wine, their famous clamari and several plates of delectable antipasti and pasta dishes. This is the only way to learn a language. Even I sounded better after a glass of wine.
The setting is the fabulously authentic Grano, owned by Roberto Dante and Luccia Ruggiero Martella. They have lived all these years above the restaurant in their home- raising their four children there- using the downstairs restaurant as their salotto (drawing room) to receive their friends and family. Isn’t that so lovely? Imagine the warmth of a commercial space treated like a home.
Luccia is both the chef and an artist and is responsible for much of the art work in the interiors at Grano which transport you immediately from Toronto, to the beauty of Italy through site, sound and palate. Many evenings there are tastings and speakers, parties and special events. It is truly headquarters for all things Italian in this part of the city.
I learned some Italian, developped an ear for the language, a deeper love for the food and a further interest in my dream to
visit live there one day.
To register for language and linguini or to book an evening of calamari and other delectables, contact Grano at 416-440-1986
In the interest of full disclosure, I was given these classes by the owners of Grano. This post is written by me; all opinions are my own.