i miei cugini, my cousins, who are like brothers to me

I miei cugini

i miei cugini, my cousins, who are like brothers to me


I have always wanted brothers. Big brothers to tease me, protect me and love me. My Zia Ninuccia had three sons, my dear cousins Enzo, Orazio and Nicola….

From the moment I walked through their portone to the moment I left, they lovingly picked on me.  Incessantly. And being a quiet and somewhat serious little girl, I loved (and needed) every minute of it! The thing about these three is that they are the perfect trio… similar to the yummiest soffritto, each of them provided a special component to my life and together, they were the perfect mix of affection, compassion and fun that I longed for.

Enzo is the youngest and closest in age to me. He is the rebel, always living life on the edge. He knew how to rock distressed jeans before it was cool. He rides a motorcycle. He designs and creates beautiful things…even to this day. He taught me to take risks and to live life passionately.

Orazio is in the middle. He is the sweetheart, always trying to keep the peace. He has such a gentle spirit and infuses calm into any situation. He has a beautiful voice and will often break into song as you stroll down the street. He taught me the importance of trusting in God’s plan and finding balance amidst the craziness around us.

And then there is Nicola. He is the oldest. When I was eight years old, he came to live with our family for some time. He was the closest thing to having my very own big brother, and I will always treasure my time with him. He is “un gran simpaticone”. There isn’t a translation for this term and honestly, it would be difficult to explain just how special he is to me. He is wise, loving and encouraging, all wrapped up in a fun, “keep you on your toes”, confident package. He taught me to think through things while allowing for some spontaneity, to cherish your family and to find joy in the simple things of life.

When I realized that I would be following my dream to bring an Italian market experience to Dana Point, I couldn’t wait to tell them. They lived in Casagiove, Italy. They grew up in my aunt’s market. They experienced all that I am trying to share with you.  Even though we were separated by an ocean, they have always been there for me. Thankfully, nothing has changed. They each embraced my dream in their own special ways. Just like years ago, they have taken me under their wing all over again (and I love them for that!) and they are a big part of me bringing CASAGIOVE to you.

Patricia, Owner, www.casagiovecalifornia.com



portone — large door, usually refers to the street door of a large palazzo or apartment building
soffritto — a combination of onions, celery and carrots used as the base of many Italian dishes See: {Soffritto recipe}
simpaticone — a person gifted with incredible warmth and a hearty, joyous humor



Patricia Bergen
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Posted in Storie - Family & Friends and tagged , .

Patricia Bergen

Shopping for and preparing meals with family in Italy was a beautiful experience— one that I dreamed about sharing with my community in Dana Point, California. CASAGIOVE, recipes & notes, is the expression of that dream and I'm so happy to share it with you!


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