Carroll Gardens

‘Italian Food As a Muse’ presented at Brooklyn Dining Club

April 1, 2024 Special from GOODFOOD newsletter
Andrew Cotto in conversation with Francesco Nuccitelli, co-owner of Sociale. Photos by Giulia Perovich
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CARROLL GARDENS — The Brooklyn Dining Club featured a program examining the impact of Italian cuisine on the life and career of award-winning author and editor Andrew Cotto. The event took place at Sociale in Carroll Gardens.

“Italian Food As a Muse” was presented in Cin Cin — the elegant private cellar of Sociale’s 320 Court Street location. The evening began with Cotto discussing the regional Italian-meets-Brooklyn approach to the cuisine of Sociale with Francesco Nuccitelli, co-owner of Sociale, and his wife, Meghan. The conversation also included an inquiry into the romantic genesis of the owners’ personal relationship, an account that was separately corroborated by Mrs. Nuccitelli.

The meal, paired with red and white Italian wines, featured a Fresca Salad, Spaghetti Sociale, a choice of meatballs or roasted chicken or Branzino, followed by dessert and coffee.

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Andrew Cotto during his presentation of “Italian Food As a Muse.” Photo: Giulia Perovich
Andrew Cotto during his presentation of “Italian Food As a Muse.”

While the guests enjoyed their plates and wine at a communal table, Cotto spoke at length about his journey from a child with a sense of destiny to foster goodwill and community, to an apprehensive artist and reluctant risk-taker, to someone — lured by the beauty of Italy — who abandoned his corporate career to write a novel in the hills south of Florence. 

Cotto recalled how his year abroad spurred his pursuit of an MFA in Creative Writing and a career as a professor of English as well as a prolific novel writer and journalist. It was in these latter endeavors that Cotto realized Italian food had an important role in much of his writing and that the sense of goodwill and community he aspired to promote was best achieved through the vehicle of Italian food as a narrative device. 

Affirmation of this practice was recognized in the convivial atmosphere of the Brooklyn Dining Club event at an Italian restaurant in Brooklyn, enthusiastically enjoyed by a diverse group of attendees. 

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