By Donald Liebenson
Here's a tip if you're studying Italian and you want to impress your teacher. Take her to Maria's Bakery in Highwood. It worked for Andrea Spitzer and Judith Molinaro, two students of private instructor Maria Christina Chopra. Chopra's verdict: Authentic. "You can tell the owner is Sicilian, you can tell from the recipes," she said.
That authenticity was established by Maria Sparacino, the original owner of Maria's Bakery. She is the heart and soul of the cozy café in Highwood, so much so that even though she sold the business about six years ago, her successor will direct a reporter to "Talk to Maria" about the business she built out of the wholesale bread company, Il Mulino.