From Italy, With Love

Cook, eat and celebrate all the flavors of the country

By Susan Baldani

Growing up in Italy, Cristina Bossini was a very picky eater. However, as an adult, she discovered a love of cooking and developing recipes that opened up a whole new world to her. So much so that she switched careers in order to pass on her passion and knowledge of food to others.  

When she arrived in the U.S. seven years ago, she thought it would only be for six months in order to indulge her love of the English language. But those plans quickly changed.

“Working as a CPA in Italy didn’t give me the opportunity to use English at all, so while here, I joined a Meetup group focused on English language exchange,” Cristina says. “There, I met a very interesting man, Jean Ergas, who speaks eight languages, teaches at NYU and is a CPA.”

He helped her find a job in her field where she received a working visa. “That was in April 2014,” she says. “I told my Dad, and he said, ‘Okay, considering you are in the U.S. and that is the biggest market in the world, you have to come up with something else. You can keep that job, but you also have to take advantage of this situation.”

She took his advice to heart. In 2016, she opened Healthy Italia – La Buona Cucina, in Madison, and in 2017, left her job as a CPA in order to devote herself full time to her business.

Healthy Italia, among other things, provides imported products from Italy, and has become a real family affair. “My brother Roberto and my father collect the products from all over Italy and then ship them here,” says Cristina. “My other brother, Angelo, who lives here, takes care of the IT aspects of the business. My brothers also produce the cookware I sell, which are made in Italy from recycled aluminum.”

Healthy Italia also offers a wide variety of ready-made meals featuring Italian classics such as eggplant parmesan, lasagna, and chicken scallopini. These come packaged in oven-ready containers, so they are easy to prepare.

In addition, the venue hosts holiday and family parties, corporate team building events, and other events people are interested in celebrating. Catering is also available, with special holiday menus and as well as their regular everyday menus. Or, if customers would prefer to have the food made and served in their own homes, Cristina also offers private chef services.

But, one of its biggest attractions is its cooking school. “What’s special about our cooking school is that every single person has their own station and makes everything from scratch, so all of our classes are hands on,” she says. “It’s not just cooking; you sit down and eat the meal you have prepared for yourself. It’s a cooking experience together with a dining experience.”

For Valentine’s Day, Healthy Italia will be holding special holiday cooking classes, which can be a fun date night for couples. And now, it’s also offering virtual cooking classes for individuals and families, so kids can also get involved. A box with all the ingredients is shipped to participants and then Cristina instructs them on how to cook it, while sharing a glass of wine in the process, or in the case of children, a glass of apple juice.

For more information, go to https//healthy-italia.com/.

Written for Chatham & Short Hills Lifestyle magazine in New Jersey.

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