I just returned from a trip to Italy with stops in Milan and Florence. I was there with my fiance checking out potential wedding venues with an excellent wedding planner who specializes in Tuscany weddings. As a destination to get married, we learned from our mini Tuscany tour that this part of the world was definitely NOT for us (rustic is not charming or ideal for our backdrop). However, that did not stop us from putting on our “urban-city searching foodie hats” and taking in the best of culinary, design and shopping in five days.
Milan is the second largest city in Italy and is known for its fashion, aperitivo, excellent food and design. This large, cosmopolitan, shopping mecca has an excellent transportation system both above ground and below, and for a 4.50 Euro day pass, it is both easy and cheap to visit all your favourite hot spots around the city. There were several places we intended to visit like Peck, Gogol & Company, California Bakery, 10 Corso Como and Da Claudio Pescheria but the combination of torrential rain and getting soaking wet, the fact that we only really had 36 hours in Milan spread over two days, plus exhaustion cut our Milan conquest a bit short.
Some of our favourite spots in Milan include Bianco Latte, a beautiful, light cream accented with wood, natural looking space that is part stellar gelatteira, part cafe, part bakery, part retailer and part restaurant. While it sounds like Bianco Latte has several different service offerings going on, I assure you the company does all of them exceedingly well. We returned twice to Bianco Latte to sample different gelato flavours (ie. biscotti, dolce de leche, orange chocolate, and pistachio (of course)), browse their adorable retail section of colourful For Life teapots and tea cups, and cool, plastic, Baci Milano cake plates and serving pieces, and sip some much-needed tea. As an aside, it is nearly impossible to find good tea in Milan and Florence. I get the Italian coffee thing and how you won’t have a bad cup in Italy, but for the tea drinkers out there, a week of Twinings is hell. To my good fortune, Bianco Latte carries and brews Lov Organic tea, a brand I have blogged about before and like.
Luini, is a tiny store, tucked behind the Duomo and is a famous panzerotti house in the city. Luini also made our list of top spots in Milan to visit. Luini makes both sweet and savoury panzerotti, where the sweet taste like a cookie stuffed with delicious things such as nutella, pear, figs, or walnuts and lightly dusted with icing sugar. The savoury Luini’s taste like what a pizza pocket, panzerotti should taste like. They also have some impressive baked goods available at the counter. They have a no picture policy, so the images I have for you are off the web.
Another spot that truly impressed us was Cioccolati Italiani, a design-forward, sleek-looking space that specializes in all things chocolate from eating to drinking. Behind the counter, they have three taps that pour white chocolate, dark chocolate and milk chocolate tempting you to order something sweet. Cioccolati Italiani has three stores in Milan and we visited the one opposite to Luini. My fiance tried the chocolate espresso, a shot of espresso in a clear espresso cup with thick, dark chocolate on the bottom. A spoon accompanies the drink and as he downed the espresso, he was left speechless as he scooped up the remaining melted chocolate below the coffee.
Finally, La Rinascente food hall, on the seventh floor of La Rinascente department store was a magical place to see. Rows upon rows of the best of Italian products including oils, pasta sauces, pasta, tea, chocolate, spices, wine, you name it, it was there. We look forward to returning to Milan for a full weekend (and good weather hopefully) where we can take in more sights, areas and continue to explore the culinary delights of the city.