Vanessa Perrone

Nourishing body and soul with the Mediterranean diet

By Joey Franco


Vanessa Perrone’s upbringing is steeped in rich culinary traditions from the old country. “I think it speaks for itself with Italian culture that food is sort of central to it, but it is even more so in our family,” she reflects, recalling the many gastronomic traditions from her childhood in Laval, Quebec (a suburb just north of Montreal).

The Perrone family saw food as not just sustenance but a celebration, with Sunday dinners becoming a cherished tradition. As Perrone fondly reminisces,

“We are the type of family that talks about the next meal as we are eating. Food was always top of mind and something that we were really excited about.”

Her culinary education began under the watchful eye of her maternal grandmother, a baking maestro who crafted everything, from bread to pasta, from scratch. She vividly recollects memories of homemade tomato sauce, cured sausages and the unmistakable aroma of her grandmother’s Mafalda bread with sesame seeds. “I grew up going to elementary school having a sandwich in my lunch for 180 days of the year, and it was always my grandmother’s homemade Mafalda with the sesame seeds. Never did I ever have store-bought bread.”

Perrone found herself drawn to the intricate connection between food culture and well-being.

“I’ve always had a passion for food itself, but during my studies I was always more pulled towards the sciences, and so there was a point where nutrition felt like that natural merging of food and science.”

She pursued her studies at the University of Montreal, earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nutrition science. The Mediterranean diet, with its health benefits, became a focal point during Perrone’s studies. Drawing parallels between her family’s traditional southern Italian way of eating and the dietary principles recommended in school, she recognized the importance of food culture in shaping one’s health.

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Senator Toni Varone

The man with the building blocks

By Julia Pennella

With the current decade-high interest rates and soaring real estate prices, the dream of homeownership has become an increasingly distant goal for many young people in Canada. Rising costs, coupled with limited housing supply and stagnant wages has created a perfect storm that is leaving an entire generation feeling trapped in a cycle of unattainable dreams.

“Just throwing money at [the problem] without throwing intelligence at it isn’t smart. We need to define what attainable housing means and tailor-make it to each province, city and urban centre,” says Toni Varone, newly appointed member to the Senate of Canada.

“All governments have the understanding and willingness to do good, but then why is the crisis getting worse?”

The housing crisis is at a critical juncture in Canada and it’s an issue Varone aims to address as a Senator.

He advocates for a balanced approach to address both affordable and attainable housing through collaboration between government, industry and communities.

“Let’s have an honest conversation and break down barriers. Let there be consultations. Let there be community involvement, and let people have a decision,” he states. “I’m a firm believer that you need to balance affordable housing with attainable housing. That’s hopefully what I will bring to the Senate.”

Varone is a prominent businessman, developer and philanthropist. He has earned widespread respect from the Italian-Canadian community, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and even Pope Francis for his notable contributions to charities and housing developments.

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The Marvel of Le Marche

Discover the quiet beauty of an unsung region

By Silvana Longo, Travel Editor 

Aw, Le Marche… I have been enamoured with the region ever since my first visit in 2018.

It was late May, and I was invited to Pesaro on a press tour by none other than Scavolini, the eponymous Italian kitchen company founded by brothers Valter and Elvino. It was already an auspicious invite with my two passions happily colliding. (NB. When I am not writing travel articles about Italy for Panoram, I pen design articles for shelter publications.) That particular trip reserved many wonderful surprises besides introducing me to what is now one of my favourite regions in Italy.

More on that later.

After the usual sleepless overnight transatlantic flight from Toronto, and an additional five-hour stopover in Munich, we finally arrived at the Ancona airport in Italy. While our tour group of five journalists gathered around the luggage carousel, a female passenger from Montreal, Quebec overheard us speaking English. She immediately asked if we were visiting from Canada. She seemed surprised, and remarked how she (Marchigiana herself) had never seen so many Canadians in Le Marche at one time. We told her we were journalists and joked that we came to spread the word about the region. She smiled nervously and replied:

“I hope not too many people find out about us here. We like to keep Le Marche a secret.”

But now that Pesaro-Urbino holds the official title of Italian Cultural Capital this year, I am afraid that secret is out.

Prior to that first visit, all I knew about Le Marche was Verdicchio wine and that disparaging saying: Meglio un morto in casa che un Marchigiano alla porta. The latter references a long-gone history when it was a Papal state and i Marchigiani were tasked to be tax collectors.

It didn’t take long to discover that this relatively unknown territory of the dreaded tax collector was an untrodden jewel in central Italy. Its varied picturesque topography is defined by its serene Adriatic coastline as much as its gentle rolling hills that contrast the rugged Apennines.

They say you find all of Italy in this one region, from medieval hilltop towns, olive trees, vineyards and national parks, to 180 kilometres of pristine beaches and seaside towns like Fano and Porto Novo. What struck me most was that it still offers a truly authentic Italian experience.

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Mackerel Bucatini with Crispy Anchovy Breadcrumbs

By Vanessa Perrone


Canned mackerel, the star of this Sicilian-inspired pasta dish, is often an overlooked ingredient. Inexpensive and high in protein and vitamin D, this oily fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. If the fishiness of mackerel has kept you away until now, this recipe is sure to win you over. With its flavourful sauce and crispy, crumb topping, this simple meal is worthy of the best trattorias!