jueves, 27 de marzo de 2014

Report from Eataly Milan

When you think about Italy, after the most famous touristical spot, the image that comes to your mind immediately we bet is about some typical dish. Some might say spaghetti, others pizza or gelato, someone else would sweetly say cassata or cannoli. But, as the advertising say, Italy is Eataly.

The temple of fine Italian food is having a huge success all over the World, we know that as for today, New York's Eataly is one one the two or three most successful stores in Manhattan, just as much as Apple Store and Macy's. The position is actually excellent for Manhattan: at the cross between Fifth Avenue and Broadway, just in front of the fist skyscraper in New York, the Flatiron Building. Almost every tourist has to pass in front of it. But there is a lot more about Eataly. The giant of gourmet food has a quality to offer that almost no other big retail shop can afford.

That is because of a wise choice made by its creator, Oscar Farinetti, a piemontese well experienced in fine food. He and his friend Carlo Petrini, the founder of the Slow Food movement back in 1986, has always showed and interest in what would mean for the World to export the infinite offer of local and regional italian cuisine. The potential of it was just too big not to invest in it, and Farinetti knew this perfectly, as any italian or any Italy lover in the world know it. This is for us the key of its success. Being local, kilometer zero, yet so globally competitive. It Started in Alba, a middle size typical piemontese city known in the food industry for being the home of another giant, the Ferrero food industries. Today the biggest Eataly is by far the one in Rome, in Porta Ostiense district, where whole former railway station has been converted in a big gourmet food market, but big Eatalys are to be found also in New York and in Turin, which is the first one opened, and for us the most beautiful one, since has been opened in a 1800s ancient industrial complex full of old times charme!

The main entrance of Eataly Smeraldo in Milan

The news of the week, or perhaps of the month, is the opening of another big retail store from Eataly in Italy's commercial heart: Milan. Between an impressive skyline full of brand new skyscrapers, in the eye of the new financial district growing up in Porta Nuova, just few steps away from the pictoresque Brera ancient district and the Duomo cathedral, Eataly opened one of the biggest structure to date: the Eataly Smeraldo. More than 5000 square meters dedicated to gastronomical culture, fresh foods and properly done neapolitan pizza or pasta di Gragnano.

There are three floors, the ground floor being dedicated to finger food, street food and the champions of italian gastronomy, the first courses: Pasta and Pizza. Here you'll find also an interesting gelateria (try the piemontese Gianduja chocolate hazelnut cream!) and a excellent Piadineria from Maioli Brothers (if you don't know what a piadina is, try it!). There are also a bakery with tons of varieties of breads and super healthy pizza al taglio, a street food which is extremely different of course from the restaurant pizza, but yet a whole universe far away from the american pepperoni pizza to take away.

All kinds of rices you can imagine in Milan
There is also a huge amount of different kind of pasta, but being in Milan what we find is overall rices: riso Carnaroli (the best one!), riso Arborio and so on. Lombardy is infact the biggest producer of rices in the EU, and the home of delicious dishes like the Risotto alla Milanese, or the Risotto allo Zafferano. We know it pretty well because one of us is actually from Abbiategrasso, a quiet hamlet between parks and rice fields just few kilometers away from the city center. In this floor you will find also an interesting cuisine bookshop and a biological market.

Fruits and vegetables in Eataly Turin

The first floor is almost dedicated to products, we can find here for example olive oils of sauces, butchers, italian Salami & prosciuttos, Spanish jamones, thousands of cheeses and a mozzarella show. Wait wait...what?!? a mozzarella show? What is that? It is a novelty! They make freshly made mozzarella di bufala, fiordilatte, burrata or what you want just in front of you, with milk gathered from farms just 5 km far away from the Eataly Smeraldo! In the second floor there is also a stage where musicians performs while you shop or eat: it it the original stage of the Teatro Smeraldo, where artists like Deep Purple, Jerry Lewis, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Mina performed. Concludes the first floor a divine restaurant of fried fish.

The second floor is the most elegant of all, here you will see a collection of the best italian wines from Barolo (for many, me being one, the king of wines), to Chianti, from Pinot Grigio to Nero d'Avola...here prices may get just so high; we've seen for example a Barolo sold for 610 euros! Interesting also the artisan beer section. Concludes the visit the official restaurant of Eataly, on the third floor. If you want, there is a restaurant dedicated to fish too, called Alice.

What else to say? Visit the nearest Eataly to taste the real gastronomical italian experience! There is a plenty of Eataly around the globe: Chicago, New York, Istanbul, Dubai, thirteen in Japan and very soon will open their doors more Eatalys also in the rest of Europe.

Parmigiano cheeses in Eataly Turin

Helding up a cup of excellent Fontanafredda Langhe red wine, let's toast all to Eataly Smeraldo!



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