Toronto laneway named after Italian dish

An Italian family's culinary tradition is honoured as their laneway is named after the simple Italian stew they serve to the neighbourhood, peperonata.

Peperonata Lane is in Little Italy and is home to peperonata feasts

Peperonata is a simple Italian stew of sweet peppers, and a favourite dish of Francesco Gallo.

He and his family have been cooking peperonata for 15 years in his garage in Toronto's Little Italy.

He started serving it to friends, and over the years, his group of friends turned into crowds of neighbours.

"It started off with 20 friends," he told Matt Galloway on CBC's Metro Morning. "20 friends invite another 20, and it's close to 150 now!"

His pepper feast is so popular, the laneway his garage backs onto is being rechristened Peperonata Lane.

"Peperonata works because it's simple," said Gallo of the appeal of the dish. "Peppers and potatoes. That's all it is."

The naming ceremony will take place in the laneway this weekend, and there is only one way to celebrate it: with lots of people and lots of peperonata. 

It's a shift from the normal naming conventions of Toronto laneways, which are named after notable historical figures or adjacent streets.

It's a testament to the popularity not only of the dish, but of the celebration that accompanies it.

Gallo said the ritual of cooking and eating together in a big group is something his family imported from Italy. Naming the laneway after the peperonata party keeps that tradition alive, he said.

"It's beautiful. It's a tradition, it's not a name," he said.

"Imagine every lane was named after a tradition? It'd be amazing."

Listen to the interview with Gallo about Peperonata Lane on the top left of this article.