Coffee & Biscotti—The Perfect Pair

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DSC01643 2Don’t miss this great cooking class on Wednesday, Oct. 24, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Ft. Couch Middle School.

With exotic blends and innovative java concoctions both hot and cold flooding the market, you can explore the new world of coffee and appreciate an traditional coffeehouse staple-coffee and biscotti.

David DiOrio, owner of 19 Coffee Company, will present a brief history of coffee and techniques of coffee roasting for each blend to reach its individual peak of aroma, acidity, body and flavor.

As you learn various home-brewing techniques, you will explore the finer qualities of specialty origin coffees and what coffee best suits your palette sampling coffees from various regions around the world as you munch on complementing biscotti provided by CCAC Cooking Instructor Nicole DaCosta Shadel.

To register, click here. For more information on 19 Coffee Company, visit their website.

Editor’s Note: Ciao Pittsburgh will be profiling Nicole in the next few weeks. She will also be occasionally blogging for us. Here’s a brief little introduction to who she is, in her own words.

I am a proud Italian-American woman who is a food blogger, entrepreneur, cooking instructor, wife and mother of two beautiful children.  I am a native New Englander living and raising my family in the South Hills. We moved to Pittsburgh several years ago, and I have completely fallen in love with the city. I love the simple elegance that the city offers.

I am third generation from Naples. I grew up in Providence, Rhode Island in a typical Italian-American household. Where I lived, I was extremely fortunate to have most of my family live in a two-block radius from me. My neighborhood was more like living with extended family. Many of the older people who lived near us had immigrated from some of the same villages in Italy where my great-grandparents were from.

Many of the relatives that I grew up with were phenomenal cooks, especially my Great Grandma Rosie (Rosalina), Nana Josephine (Giuseppina) and my mother, Ma. Our family was always surrounded by food; all of my fondest memories of family gatherings always involved food. Like most children in this type of family, I was basically raised up in the kitchen.

At a very early age I started cooking and baking. By the time I was a teenager, I did all of the baking for the holidays. I also helped to cook evening meals for our family. In our home, cooking and learning to do so was not an option—you just did it.

I was so lucky to have had this type of childhood; it started me on a gastronomical journey. If I did not have these experiences, I would not be where I am today.  About a year or so ago, I had the opportunity to become a cooking instructor at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC). I teach Italian-American Peasant Cooking classes. I love to cook the old world dishes that I grew up with. It seemed that others were eager to learn about this type of cuisine.

Many of the old recipes were falling out of vogue. By teaching other about Italian-American Peasant food, I am able to keep this style of cooking relevant so that others can share and experience this wonderful genre of food.

Around the same time, I became a food blogger for the Peters Patch (local voices). This was another venue to help me keep this old world style of cooking alive.  I wrote about food and much more. I began to blog about my favorite subject, food. Other things that I wrote about included the trials and tribulations of growing up in an Italian-American house, my fear of Jell-o Salad and why I do not go out to dinner for Italian food.

Most recently I began the process of starting up an Italian Cookie company. I love to bake Italian Biscotti and Italian Cookies. Why not try my hand at selling them? I will keep you posted.

Food and cooking excites me, it always has. I am on a culinary quest and I am excited to see where it leads to. Along the way, I have been fortunate to have so many “foodies” come into my life. They share my passion and I am grateful for these people because I am always learning from them.

My family is what inspires me… they always have. Whether it’s making a 50-year-old cookie recipe that was my Great-Grandmother Rosie’s, or the looks of euphoria on my children’s faces eating a big bowl of macaroni.

This is why I do what I do. Famiglia è per sempre—family is forever.

For more information about me and the cooking that I do, like my food fan page on Facebook. You can also check out my website at or email me at