Local heroes: Pieno Di Grazia (Maria Capuano)
Authentic Italian recipes made with love — just like nonna used to make.
Pieno Di Grazia showcases big flavours with fresh ingredients, bringing a slice of ‘la dolce vita’ to South Melbourne Market.
Weaving modern touches of pink and green palms, set over cool white marble – Pieno Di Grazia nods to both the past and the present.
We spoke with our latest Local Hero, Maria Capuano, on the history of Pieno Di Grazia and how they use food to bring family and friends together.
What is the meaning behind Pieno Di Grazia and how did you come to open the market last November?
In Italian, Pieno Di Grazia translates to ‘Full of Grace’.
“Although I was not fully prepared and had no formal strategy in place, I knew the recipes and flavours of my mother’s culinary upbringing would be welcomed and appreciated by all.”
It was there that Pieno Di Grazia was born – “a luminous light in the food hall of South Melbourne Market that reflects the relaxed nature of Italian food and culture.”
Tell us about where your passion for cooking came from
“My mother Grazia, daughter Charlie Grace and myself were regular visitors to the Market. It was a weekly shopping ritual that all three of us looked forward to. Grazia would buy fresh ingredients and make gnocchi and roasts for dinner for the rest of the family to enjoy.”
“My mother was an amazing cook and had always dreamt of me opening a store where she could cook dishes from her Sicilian heritage for foodies and fellow market lovers far and wide.”
So, when my mother passed away unexpectedly, I jumped at the opportunity of keeping my mother’s treasured memories alive.
What can people expect from the menu?
Pieno Di Grazia is a “place to sit up at the bar for an espresso, gather around a table with friends over pizza or pick up a classic beef lasagne for dinner and an authentic tiramisu for dessert.”
Pieno Di Grazia is an authentic Sicilian food experience with tastes of:
- Dolceria (traditional Italian cakes)
- Pasticceria (pastries)
- Pizza al taglio (pizza by the slice)
- Insalateria (fresh salad bar)
- Casalinga (traditional dine in or take-home Italian meals).
“The hero on the menu is a classic ancient battle between the porchetta panino (pork belly seasoned for 24 hours, then slow-cooked to succulent perfection), or the pizza al taglio.”
What do you love most about the Market and the area?
“As a regular visitor and loyal customer of the South Melbourne Market for over 20 years, I have closely observed the wonderful evolution of what the Market has become today.
The Market is made up of some very colourful characters. Each trader has a great story, so taking time out to get to know [everyone] more intimately has been very fulfilling.”
Fostering connection over food
Maria’s hope for the next 20 years is seeing it become more multi-generational, and it’s easy to understand why. As the name suggests, Pieno Di Grazia encapsulates a strong sense of grace, love and intergenerational connection.
Pieno Di Grazia’s authentic, homestyle food teaches us to slow down and reconnect with our loved ones over seriously tasty Italian eats.
Meet other Local Heroes from the City of Port Phillip or explore other blog posts to check out the latest events and must-visit places in the area.