The Star of the Tokyo Olympics Set to Lead Canada at 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

By Alf De Blasis

Two summers ago in Tokyo, Julia Grosso scored perhaps Canada’s greatest golden goal when she converted the winning penalty in a shootout victory over Sweden to help the Canadian Women’s National Team claim its first-ever Olympic soccer gold medal. While she was at the centre of the ensuing celebrations, the modest 22-year-old from Vancouver, British Columbia, didn’t imagine the many influences that one event would have on her athletic life.

“I didn’t realize the impact it would have in the moment,” Julia admitted in a recent interview from her home in Torino, Italy. “I was fortunate because I was the sixth shooter. It doesn’t usually get to that but, without the great saves (by goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe’) and my teammates’ goals, I wouldn’t have been in that position.”

Julia and the Canadian squad are on the verge of competing at another significant international tournament as Canada travels to Australia and New Zealand in July for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Canada enters the competition as one of the pre-tournament favourites. And it’s no secret what the objective is for Julia and her teammates.

“To win, obviously,” Julia stated emphatically. “(That’s) the biggest goal for myself and the team. Individually, I just want to go in clear and focussed. Physically and mentally, I just want to be the best version of myself.”

Confidence has always been one of Julia’s greatest attributes. As a 13-year-old, playing for Mountain United in the BC youth system, Julia was recruited to the Canadian national youth program and, two months later, she helped Canada win a gold medal at the U15 Concacaf Championships, the regional tournament for North and Central America and the Caribbean. The recruiter at the time was Bev Priestman, the current head coach of Canada’s senior women’s team.

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Spritz It Up

How to indulge in Venice’s splashy, capricious drink

By Maureen Littlejohn

If you happen to see a group of gondoliers relaxing together after work at a bar or café, at least one is likely to be cooling off with a spritz. Spritz is the drink of choice not only for gondoliers, but for most Venetians.

Made with wine (usually Prosecco), a splash of sparkling water and a dash of bitters, it can be enjoyed any time of the day and almost anywhere, from humble bacari to luxe hotel lounges.

“Locals don’t consider it a cocktail, but simply a local drink,” explains Marco Romeo, founder of Streaty Tours, which offers visitors a peek at the true Venetian drinking culture.

What really makes the beverage unique to this city is the choice of bitters. Romeo is proud to introduce clients to traditional configurations.

“They are surprised to know that most Venetians don’t drink Aperol or Campari, but they prefer regional aperitives such as Select.”

Select Aperitivo was first created in 1920 by the Pilla brothers in the district of Castello, Venice’s historical heart. Bright red in colour, it contains 30 botanicals, including rhubarb roots, juniper berries and citrus fruit. Spicy and complex, it bites the tongue at first, then finishes with a clean zing.

To explore different variations of the drink, Romeo leads his tours the same way Venetians enjoy their aperitive. He stops in at a few places to sample the signature house offering along with a small snack. In his case, it’s three bars and four different spritz, the last one featuring P31. A lesser known regional aperitivo, the kryptonite green bitter is infused with intriguing notes of absinthe, rhubarb, ginger, chamomile and cloves.

The story goes that spritz was not invented by Venetians but by Austrians during the Austro-Hungarian control of Veneto in the 1800s. Finding the Italian wine too strong, the new rulers watered it down with seltzer. Yet it was the Venetians who put their own special stamp on the drink and spiced it up with bitters, garnishes and sparkling wine.

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Limoncello Loaf Cake

by Sara Germanotta

This light and lemony loaf cake is the perfect easy-to-make summer dessert.

It’s flavoured with limoncello liqueur, fresh lemon zest and drizzled with a citrusy glaze.

If you don’t have limoncello, you can replace it with lemon vodka or one teaspoon of lemon extract.

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Occupation: I own Blonde Biscuiterie, a cookie company I started during the first Covid lockdown in 2020. What originally began as a hobby became my full-time job. I now have two stores, one in Laval and another in Montreal.

Age: 27

Generation: Third

Dad’s side from: Fano (Pesaro and Urbino), Marche

Mom’s side from: Capestrano (L’Aquila), Abruzzo

Raised in: Laval, Québec

Speaks: English, French, Italian

If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would
it be? My favourite homemade soup: cappelletti in brodo

What’s an Italian tradition you want to carry on? Making homemade
pasta: manicotti, passatelli, gnocchi, lasagna

What advicewould you give 5-year-old you? Always believe in yourself and keep going!

Who are you named after? My mom named me after her favourite character in Designing Women, Julia Sugarbaker, because she was a strong, empowered business owner.

Favourite Italian expression and why: “Dimmi con chi vai, e ti dirò chi sei.” My grandparents used to say this. I have always tried to surround myself with people that have the same values as me.