Luciano Mara, 80, is a certified original; his mannerisms, cadence, central Italian swagger and outlook on business harken back to a slowly but surely disappearing breed of Italian immigrant. The Pescara native and owner of Importations L Mara has been fixing espresso machines and selling beans out of the same modest storefront for over 50 years. His expertise stems from his years of assembling and mastering every aspect of the espresso machine in Milan’s Faema factory, before immigrating to Montreal at the age of 26.
Jonathan Geronimo’s leap into the world of coffee grinds and fluffy schiuma was quite different. The 29-year-old’s professional career was mostly spent as a cook/sous-chef in a number of Montreal’s most high profile Italian restaurants. After a change of heart that would pull him out of the kitchen and into Dante Street’s famed Caffè San Simeon slinging espressos, an opportunity arose to go into business for himself. Caffè Baristello & cie. opened in December 2016 and is co-owned by Geronimo and one of Montreal’s beloved baristas, Piero Ciampoli. It was a pleasure to observe the boisterous Mara and the more mild-mannered Geronimo interact in front of a camera lens, a situation neither had probably ever envisioned prior to that day. Baristello’s back wall, an ode to nonna’s basement, served as the perfect setting.
Fresh design – more Italian
Starting with this issue, you’ll notice a pronounced change in Panoram Italia’s layout and language content. Yes, we selected new fonts and refreshed the magazine’s design, but more importantly, we made the critical decision to publish every article in two languages – English and Italian – with some rare exceptions.
This was not an easy choice to make; the extra logistics involved are significant for our humble editorial team. We do feel, however, that the switch further solidifies our magazine’s mission to bring Italian and Italian-Canadian culture to the country’s masses.
Throughout Panoram’s 15 years in print, our policy had always been to publish mainly in English, while translating a certain number of articles into Italian (and French), in order to appeal to young Italian-Canadians who in large part do not make a habit of reading in the language of Dante.
This stance was never without its detractors, however, and members of a certain generation often called in to let us know that they felt left out and detached from what we were printing because they simply couldn’t read English all that well – talk about a “Clash of Generations”…
Some of the more positive feedback we received over the years came from the numerous Italian and non-Italian readers praising the fact that we did make it a point to publish bilingual and trilingual articles. They loved switching back and forth between languages in case they couldn’t understand something in Italian or the opposite. Many Italian teachers still email us to this day requesting extra copies of the magazine to use as a learning tool in the classroom.
So it’s with great pride that we can now satisfy more readers and be more inclusive than ever. Thank you for your continued support, and if you love what we do, please share your copy of the magazine and help spread the word.