Welcome to guest contributor, Maria de los Angeles, a member of FoodieTribe and a lifestyle and food blogger in her own right. You can follow her on Instagram at @vicequeenmaria. Her first article on MIAbites features Bruschetta Bar at Via Verdi. While The Bruschetta Bar is not longer available at Via Verdi, Chef Paola is available for a private party popups, and visit her website, http://www.bruschettabar.us/ for future pop up locations.
Many moons ago, a little girl in Tuscany looked forward to the olive harvest, when pressed oils were savored over fresh bread rubbed raw with garlic. “That was the original bruschetta,” says Paola Ugolini, who’s now all grown-up but whose smile captures that little girl’s sense of wonder.
Ugolini says she “trained with passion” – a passion that comes from family.
Ugolini, one of five sisters, grew up in a household full of women. Her mother took care of the children alongside the donna de la casa, the nanny and house cook. Her father was president of Florence’s soccer team and the house was always busy receiving guests. Her family took pride in sharing good food. “Our meals were always about the beauty of giving,” she says.
The scents of the kitchen would wake her up in the morning. “On Sundays, I’d run to the kitchen,” Ugolini remembers. “During breakfast, I would watch la donna de la casa cook everything from scratch for our family lunch -- everything from marmalades to pasta. She was from the countryside and my true inspiration.”
Ugolini remembers many very good years in the family kitchen. Today, Miamians can enjoy a homegrown taste of Italy in her pop-up Bruschetta Bar at Via Verdi in MiMo on Biscayne, which serves several varieties of her bruschetta on Friday nights.
After hearing this story, I knew I was going to love the bruschetta she has been preparing for friends at home for years. The Vagabond Hotel hosted her first foray into the pop-up business as part of their grand opening festivities. Via Verdi is her second, where she receives guests with the same kind of warm hospitality she experienced as a child.
Ugolini’s bruschetta uses fresh ingredients from Via Verdi’s kitchen, which is run by twin chefs and restaurateurs Fabrizio and Nicola Carro, who also treat their guests like friends and family. It’s a collaboration made in heaven for lovers of rustic Italian food. Ugolini varies the ingredients every week, but classic favorites include the Nico, a rich eggplant caponata or the Bona, consisting of burrata cheese, anchovies and lemon zest. Soft, tender octopus meets potatoes, broccolini and tapenade over locally sourced, crisp toasted bread in the Elba.
Friday nights at Via Verdi are relaxed but elegant – opera singers and a piano player provide light entertainment. You can find Chef Paola serving Tuscan style bruschetta in the Bottega room at Via Verdi, a cozy dining space that also serves as a market selling quality olive oils, homemade pastas, sauces, wines and more.
Bruschetta Bar is open on Friday nights from 6-10 pm at Via Verdi with Chef Paola.
6900 Biscayne Blvd
786 615 2870