SARONNO, Italy - The date to mark on your calendar is August 31, 2010. The place: New York. The event: Eataly, New York is opening at 200 Fifth Avenue, between 23rd and 24th Street in downtown Manhattan. It’s no small deal. Oscar Farinetti and his partners have invested over 25 million dollars in the project. No one is worried about their investment, however, as Farinetti is the guy who conceived and developed the now very successful idea of Eataly.
Within the 5,000 square meters of sprawling store space you’ll be able to buy the best food Italy has to offer. You’ll find Piedmontese beef raised under the watchful eye of veterinarian Sergio Capaldo. Capaldo hovers over his herds like an Italian mamma, making sure they are always well fed, comfortable and happy, three elements Italians believe makes for better tasting meat.
Super Star Pastry Chef Luca Monersino
You’ll also find fresh fish, specialty cold meats like San Daniele ham from Parma, loads of vegetables, all types of bread, artisan pastas and rice from Italy’s rice belt, honest to goodness Parmesan from Parma and other wonderful Italian cheeses, creamy, delicious gelato, a dazzling array of chocolate from the Master chocolate makers of Torino, and a pastry shop managed by Luca Montersino, the ex Executive Director of the Etoile Institute of Culinary Arts, and the youngest superstar on the Italian pastry planet.
To go along with your pastries you can sip coffee at the Lavazza coffee bar. And if you need something more substantial you’ll find food counters scattered throughout the shop where you can rest your feet and restore your spirit. But that’s not all. There will be no less than six restaurants, and the restaurant on the top floor is part of the famous Mario Batali chain of restaurants which includes Babba and Del Posto, both in New York City. Also on the top floor you’ll find a fully stocked wine cellar and a birreria where you will be able to buy not only beer made by Matterino (Teo) Musso, Italy’s premier artisan beer maker, but specialty beers from around the world. And did I mention the bookstore? That’s in there somewhere too.
I’m happy that Italian food is enjoying such success outside of Italy. For one thing it lets people taste genuine Italian food products instead of Parmesan cheese made in Wisconsin, or horrors of all horrors, Spanish and Tunisian olive oil sold as “Made in Italy”.
The Wonderful World of Eataly in Torino
And once you’ve tasted the real thing, and I'm not just talking Italian olive oil, you’ll understand why I could easily move bed into Eataly in Torino and live out the rest of my days eating my way up and down the aisles and gleefully writing the food page of this blog.
First Torino, now New York, what I want to know is what's wrong with Milan? I know this is not a major center for haute cuisine, but still and all we do cook and eat. Okay, I admit it. I’m jealous. I want a big, impressive, massive Eataly of my own and I have the ideal spot, right here in little old Saronno. Farinetti, call me.