La Madia celebrates St. Joseph's Day

March 18, 2010 9:57:57 AM PDT
St. Patrick isn't the only patron saint to inspire celebrations this week. Following closely behind the Irish parties, Italians will celebrate La Festa di San Giuseppe or St. Joseph's Day on Friday, March 19.

Many Italian-Americans trace their roots back to Sicily, where St. Joseph is as important as St. Patrick is in Ireland. Celebrating the feast of St. Joseph with a banquet or buffet is a centuries-old tradition in Sicily that has spread to other parts of Italy and to the United States.

St. Joseph festivals date back to the Middle Ages, when San Giuseppe is credited with preventing a famine in Sicily. According to legend, there was a severe drought at the time, and the people prayed for their patron saint to bring them rain. They promised that if he answered their prayers, they would prepare a large feast to honor him. The rain did come, and the people of Sicily prepared a large banquet for their patron saint. It became customary for wealthy families prepare a buffet and invite the neighborhood to enjoy the feast. In the early days, the poorest people in the village were invited to the St. Joseph's Table. In the U.S., the tradition continues in churches, schools, restaurants and private homes.

The fava bean was the crop which saved the population from starvation, and it is still served on St. Joseph's Day tables. In keeping with the tradition, La Madia, 59 W. Grand, Chicago will offer a complimentary Fava Bean and Pancetta Bruschetta at lunch and dinner on Friday.

La Madia's Chef Jacob Williams is also sharing the recipes for some of his favorite St. Joseph's Day dishes.

You can try them at home or visit La Madia. For reservations or more information, visit or call 312.329-0400

About La Madia

La Madia, a contemporary pizzeria in River North, presents a modern interpretation of an ancient Italian concept. Their philosophy is simple: it is about seasonality and welcoming, non-intimidating selections through quality and delicate flavors. Repeated travels to and time in Italy inspired the creation of a dynamic menu focused on pizzas that feature exciting combinations, while La Madia's paired wines are deeply impressive and accessible.



Chicagoans are invited to join Executive Chef Jonathan Fox and Beverage Director Jason Limjoco at La Madia for an after work wine class and tasting featuring red wines from the Tuscan region of Italy. Participants will taste five red varietals while sampling paired appetizers including Bresaola (salted beef) with fennel, peppers, and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta , Fava Bean Bruschetta and Minted Eggplant Bruschetta.

All participants will receive a $10 gift certificate valid towards dinner at La Madia after the class. The gift certificate will expire on March 31, 2010. Limit one per table.

WHEN: Tuesday, March 23 from 6 PM to 7 PM

COST: $30 per person includes tasting and class, appetizers and $10 gift certificate

Reservations required. Call (312) 329-0400. Space is limited.


La Madia Executive Chef / Owner Jonathan Fox's passion for pizza is demonstrated in his monthly Chef's Table events. April's Chef's Table event will include Spring Wild Vegetable Risotto, House-made Lamb Sausage Pizza and Tender Spring Green Salad with nettles among other savory dishes and signature La Madia pizzas.

Chef's Table guests are invited to experience first-hand the seasonal tastes and artisan influences of La Madia's menu with a special six-course Chef's Table the first Wednesday of each month. Guests are seated at the intimate pizza bar with a full view of the Chef's work area and wood-burning oven. They will watch as their pizza and other menu samplings are hand-crafted, paired with wines and explained by Executive Chef Jonathan Fox. Guests will experience the creative process as they are treated to tastes of potential new menu items and other seasonal samplings.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 7 at 7 PM

COST: $39 per person excluding tax and gratuity, includes six-courses and wine pairings

Reservations required; seating is extremely limited so participants are encouraged to book early. Call (312) 329-0400.