The event wasn’t only attended by great chefs and high-end restaurants: the Taste of Milano was also a showcase for small, local producers – from Milan and all over Italy – and was a chance for gourmand visitors to do some speciality shopping. Oils, vines, cold cuts and hand-crafted gelato: following is only a partial list of what was on offer.
AZIENDA MERCURI MARIO – SAFFRON
From the Sibilini mountains, at the confines between the Italian regions of Le Marche and Umbria, this family-run business produces a crop of saffron every year according to a demanding, laborious technique that adheres to long-standing tradition. Besides pure saffron threads, the company also produces a saffron liquor and a true rarity: saffron honey, which comes from an ancient, centuries-old recipe that has been recently been rediscovered. Azienda Mercuri Mario Via Teverito, 80 – Roccafluvione (AP) Website
One of Milan’s signature gastronomic products – il panettone – produced by Cova, a company that was established in 1930 and still prepares desserts according to traditional recipes. Panettoni G.Cova & C. Viale Monza, 91 – Milan Website
ALMA FARM – BLOOMING OIL
This company from the province of Viterbo (in the Lazio region, near Rome), produces a special extra-virgin olive oil obtained from the natural blooming process: after the olives have been harvested and pressed, the oil and vegetal water separates naturally due to the difference in their specific weights. This technique requires both time and patience, it results in a truly exceptional product with a special fruity taste. The oil is neither blended or filtered. Alma Farm Contrada S.Pietro, 72 – Soriano nel Cimino (VT) Website
Established in 1930, this gelateria was once a simple ice-cream cart driven by Ugo, who would navigate the streets of Milan with his three offered flavours: cream, chocolate, and a fruit flavour that would change with the season. Today, Ugo’s grandson Franceso travels the world looking for unusual tastes and flavours, while safeguarding tradition: the recipe to the crema Paganelli flavour is a closely-guarded secret. Gelateria Paganelli Via Adda (near Central railway station) Milan
ACCADEMIA SAN BIAGIO – BREWERY
In this organic agricultural company, founded in the ancient monastery of San Biagio (in the town of Assisi, Umbria, where Saint Francis was from), a small brewery makes use of several traditional elements and techniques. After the first round of fermentation in tuns, the beer is bottled and then fermented again in the bottle. Much attention has been paid to the selection of primary ingredients: locally-grown barley, water from Nocera Umbra, high-quality hops and yeast. Accademia di San Biagio Via S.Maria di Lignano, 42 – Assisi (PG) Website
Staff shortages are hitting the hospitality sector hard, prompting some restaurants to look outside the industry to train those without restaurant experience for life in the kitchen. Andrew Friedman finds out more.