With the fresh and clean smell of citrus, and the warm and woody flavour of almonds, Dolci Di Delia has taken the comforts of Italian cookies and turned them into local love as Marco Civitarese shares his passion for baking as a tribute to his mother.
Born and raised in Calgary, Civitarese grew up in the kitchen with his mother’s fresh baking filling the house with mouth-watering aromas and bright energy.
Civitarese’s parents and sister both immigrated to Canada in the 50s, with his mother Delia only bringing along a few items, including her pizzelle iron. Knowing no one at the time, Delia began to bake. She hosted gatherings so neighbours could taste the sweet treats and so she could make new friends.
“I would say that her baking was the basis for many of the relationships and engagements that formed over the many years to come,” Civitarese says.
“My father [Antonio] was a barber for about five years, and would offer haircuts to friends and family in our basement. With every visitor, my mother would have a tray of cookies waiting for them, and a fresh pot of espresso when they were done.”
Honouring his late mother
In honour of his late mother’s desire to share her passion, Civitarese opened up Dolce Di Delia in 2021 after he retired from a 34-year career with the City of Calgary.
With a variety of cookies ranging from citrus to nutty flavours, Civitarese has expanded and shared both his and his mother’s love of baking for the entire city.
“I have also been extremely thankful to reconnect with many former colleagues, friends, and family to share my cookies and conversation, building relationships as my mother did,” Civitarese says.
“[They] contributed to me moving forward with creating the business [as] I often baked for work functions and fundraisers, family events, or just to destress.”
Made with a lot of love
Delia baked traditional Italian cookies and treats, never following a strict recipe. With Civitarese and his sister Liviana constantly shadowing their mother in the kitchen, the two were able to come together to write down Delia’s delicacies with a few “Marco-fied” twists.
“I would often ask what quantities of whatever she was baking with and her reply was the standard ‘as much as it takes,’” Civitarese says.
“My older sister took the time to scribe the quantities and methods, and I have worked closely with her to get some of the right techniques and textures.”
Wanting to continue his mother’s legacy, Civitarese uses his baking to show support and grow the communities, friends, and family that surround him.
“I hope to continue giving back to the community that has been so good to me. I have donated some of my proceeds to fundraising efforts in Ukraine, the Hotchkiss Brain Institute for Dementia, and Brown Bagging for Calgary Kids,” he says.
“It always warmed my mom’s heart when she received a thank you or compliment for her cookies.”
To place an order, visit Dolce Di Delia’s website.
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