Aroma Seasoning and Chicken Soup

Recently, we came across this great Chicken Soup recipe featuring our Aroma seasoning on the Soup Builders blog during a recent online search of Ciao Pittsburgh.

We were pleasantly surprised that the founders of the blog used our Aroma seasoning. 

Check it out for yourself and let us know what you think!


Bella America, Bella Italia

By Betty Eggert

In September of 2001, I hiked the Cinque Terre a collection of five villages along the Ligurian coast known as the Italian Riviera. Cinque Terre literally means Five Lands.  Before World War II the inhabitants walked from one village to the next until Mussolini connected them by train. These ancient footpaths now challenge hikers to become human mountain goats and discover the drop-dead views from rocky cliffs that plunge down to meet the sea.  Equipped with backpack, sun hat and hiking boots I followed a Swiss born, 50-year plus, female guide on Trail Number One, known as the Red Trail. It is important to differentiate this from Trail Number Two, the Blue Trail, the more popular one that follows the coast line and provides a more civilized experience. Hikes on the Red Trail, went one direction — up.

I met my guide in Pisa. We would travel to Portovenere for a  “little hike on Palmaria island.” This was a preview of her stamina. She began hiking at 14 she confessed. (At 14, I was a high school freshman and hiking was the last thing on my agenda.) Every few yards she raptured, “Wonderful. Wonderful.” [Read more…]

Personality Profile: Rich Venezia

Rich Venezia Headshot 1Rooted in Success

In this month’s Personality Profile, Ciao Pittsburgh chatted with Rich Venezia of Rich Roots Genealogy. Rich, who grew up in central New Jersey, currently makes his home in Pittsburgh. Rich was kind enough to respond to some of our questions about his roots, his career as a genealogist as well as his Italian heritage.

CP: First, tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, and what you do for a living.

Rich: I’m a professional genealogist and have been for the past few years. I started researching my own family when I was a teenager, but I cycled through various careers before landing at this one. I worked as an actor for a while, in PR & Marketing for a theatre, in the non-profit world, and also in study abroad before starting my business, Rich Roots Genealogy. My parents are both semi-retired, but were long-time high school teachers. My brother is also a high school teacher. I suppose I was the only one in the family who wasn’t bitten by the education bug, but I reckon I am an educator, of sorts – just in a less conventional way.

CP: What is the most rewarding aspect of your career?

Rich: I’m very lucky that I grew up knowing who my ancestors were and even what a lot of my great- and 2x-great-grandparents looked like. It wasn’t until I started doing genealogy that I realized how rare this was. I love being able to reconnect people with their lost, forgotten, or misplaced family, and to unite them with their heritage. It’s an indescribable feeling when someone tells you the work you’ve done has had an impact on their life. Learning about your ancestry can teach you a lot about yourself.

CP: Where are you from and where do you currently live? 

Rich: I grew up in central New Jersey among many Italian-Americans and now live in Pittsburgh. I love it here – I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

CP: Can you tell us about your Italian heritage? 

Rich: My mom’s family is from the Province of Salerno – mostly in the Cilento area, along the coast. I like to say that my Italian ancestors were immigrating for almost three generations before they came to the USA – I have nearly a dozen ancestral towns just on my mom’s side. My dad’s family is from all over the south – Salerno (Baronissi and Pellezzano), Foggia (Monte Sant’Angelo and Rodi Garganico), Potenza (Rapolla), and Avellino (Atripalda). Five of my great-grandparents were born in Italy, and a sixth was born right after her parents arrived. My only non-Italian-American grandparent, my Grandma Camperlino, learned to cook Italian food from her mother-in-law – and was always cooking Italian. I was flabbergasted as a child when I learned she wasn’t a true Italian! I identify very strongly with my Italian heritage, and am so happy to be able to help others explore theirs. [Read more…]

Ciao Aroma Artisan Bread



  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1 pk of active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp of Aroma Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of warm water


  1. Add all dry ingredients into a bowl (stainless steel preferred), then add water. Use an end of a wooden spoon to mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Once incorporated, place a piece of plastic wrap on top of bowl and make sure it is completely cover. Place in a microwave or the oven (to keep any breeze off of it) for a minimum of 4 hours.
  2. Turn oven on to 450 degrees. Once oven gets to temperature, place cast iron pot with lid on it for a half hour. While the pot is coming to temperature, take a cookie sheet, oil the bottom and then add dough. After dough is on cookie sheet, pull all the sides, from the sides to the top and then flip over. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let set for half hour.
  3. After a half hour, pull pot from oven; sprinkle flour at bottom of the pot. Add the Aroma seasoning to top (just enough to coat top) and then place back in the oven for 30 minutes.
  4. Remove bread after 30 minutes. If you like a crunchy crust, place pot back in over for another 15 minutes with lid off. Pull bread from oven and let sit on a cookie rack.

Pittsburgh Native Pens Poignant Novel About Italian Immigrants Growing Up in Pittsburgh

ScanAndrew Cecere grew up in the Pittsburgh of the 1930s, back when the idea that ancestry is destiny permeated American thought. In cities, it was the age of racial and ethnic neighborhoods. The Italians here, the Irish over there, beyond them the Poles, the blacks, and so forth. In the urban mosaic, you knew your place, and were expected to make the best of it.

Such is the prevailing mood in the Italian-American neighborhood of East Liberty that is the setting for Cecere’s novel, The Avenue, published last December by Rosedog Books. Here, two friends, both offspring of immigrants, grow up during the waning years of the Depression and choose very different paths in an America riddled with prejudice.

Pre-war Pittsburgh and the Italian community of East Liberty loom large in the novel. “The book’s setting more or less describes Larimer Avenue, a real street and neighborhood where I grew up, but the characters and story are fictional, drawn entirely from my imagination,” says Cecere, a retired attorney who lives in Richmond, Indiana.

Cecere, who recently turned 94, wrote the book on legal pads more than twenty-five years ago. “It started entirely as an exercise in personal pleasure since I’ve always enjoyed writing and telling stories,” he explains. “When I finished I had the handwritten pages typed up and pretty much forgot about it. Eventually I passed the manuscript to some friends to read. They told me how much they liked the story and started nagging me to get it published. So here we are.” [Read more…]