Welcome to Ita (Italy) vie (Life)
Maria Misseri, born in Palermo, Sicily, lives a life defined by the fusion of family and fresh food. She moved to America with her grandparents as a toddler. In pursuit of their "American Dream," her grandfather Salvatore Cucuzza, worked in a ricotta factory in Bridgeport, Pa. next door to the Conte Luna pasta factory that employed her grandmother, Rosa Badalamenti.
As the youngest of eight children, Maria grew up with her siblings as her role models. She vividly recalls standing on a chair in the kitchen, first watching, then participating, in the preparation of a great variety of fresh foods for her family to share.
One of her fondest memories cooking with her family is preparing arancini, a classic Sicilian snack food. "We made them together as a family around the table and that’s what I think I enjoyed the most."
Maria, her sisters, mother, and grandmother would all be standing in a line. One person dipped them, one person filled them, and one person breaded them. "It took a long time to make them but we would eat them really fast!"
Maria has more than 25 years experience in the restaurant business opening and managing. Even to this day she continues to refine and explore her art. This can be seen and tasted by the wide selection and ever-changing varieties in Itavie’s daily specials and dessert case. Once you think you’ve tasted everything, Maria and her business partner and French-Morrocan head cook, Younes Lahlou, will present another creation, a different take on a classic favorite, and always a delicious surprise.
Today, the recipes and culinary strategies that are generations old are alive in Itavie's offerings located in Spotsylvania Courthouse Village, or as Maria calls it, "La Piazza." We're only nine miles from Historic Downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia.
A piazza is an open square in an Italian town and serves as the center of its locals and traveling public. In many of Italy's piazzas you'll find cafes, restaurants, a church or town hall on the main piazza. Many of Italy's towns and cities have beautiful main squares with decorative statues or fountains.
Maria is very proud of her Italian roots just as much as she is proud of her American upbringing. European culture stirred into the "melting pot" of America are the two main ingredients of Itavie. This is why you can find Italian desserts, French dishes, and American comfort food all in one menu. Itavie is a very personal projection of Maria, one that she had always dreamed of being able to share with everyone.