Convivio: Comparing the Two Cultures in the Two Counties I Love

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Cook, restauranteur, mother, grandmother and hostess par excellence, first generation Italian American, Lucy Ann Vallera Luhan uses her personal experience to compare food culture in the two countries she loves America and Italy where she lived and worked. Convivio, referring in Italy to enjoying time together with family and friends at the table, she sees as the antithesis of fast food. Observing her experience with the benefits of convivio to an individual’s health as well as that of a family and a nation, she whishes to encourage those that are losing the art of dining to note the importance of convivio in the Mediterranean lifestyle, which has proven to be as important as fresh fruits, vegetables and olive oil.

Born in Connecticut she was raised in a family where traditional foods and values prevailed. She helped her extended family preserve fruits and vegetables grown in their garden every summer for the winter, make their own wine in the autumn, prepare fresh pasta and enjoy convivio as a daily ritual. Her passion for convivio led her to spend thirty-five years as a restauranteur in Southern California and inspired her to open Villa Lucia, a bed and breakfast and cooking school in Tuscany, Italy. Besides spending time in Tuscany, she and her husband plan to also spend time in Abruzzo, the region of her ancestors where her passion for authentic food, convivio and the Mediterranean lifestyle commenced.