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‘It’s all about ingredients’. The often quoted sentence when top chefs are asked for their kitchen secrets.
It’s all about ingredients – Italian ingredients – even for Academia Barilla, the culinary institute built in Parma (in Italy where the first Barilla pasta factory was born in 1877) to promote, defend and develop Italian food culture around the world.
Among its many activities (cooking courses, gastronomic tours, events, etc) it selects and certifies some of the best Italian specialties: pasta, of course, but also extra virgin olive oil, Parma ham and other cured meats, Balsamic Vinegar, Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorinos and others delicacies that are currently sold via web and in selected shops in many countries.
Now, all these products can be bought and tasted in New York, at the first multi-functional Academia Barilla restaurant that opened few weeks ago, on 1290 Avenue of the Americas.
The same ingredients sold on the shelves in the market are also used in dishes inside the on site restaurant. There is no table service, just an informal, warm and stylish place created to offer a true Italian experience. This is contemporary Italy, from atmosphere - don’t expect red and white checkered tablecloth - to the menu, which lists a variety of Italian food icons: pasta, pizza, soups, fresh sandwiches and salads.
Open from 7 AM until 10 PM, the restaurant ‘fast casual’ formula fits a quick business lunch in front of a tasty Lasagne dish as as well as cheerful family dinner based on five different types of true Italian Pizza.
This multifunctional space is also a breakfast point where you can sample real Italian coffees and desserts (tiramisu included) and a meeting point for an Aperitivo with friends, all sat around the table with a cutting board of Mortadella, Parma ham and a tasty glass of wine.
For this project, several important partnerships were formed with famous Italian brands, for example Sanpellegrino for the non-alcoholic beverages, Lavazza for the coffee, Peroni for the beer and Cantine Antinori for the wines.
In the restaurant there is also a library for guests - just a nod to the 11,000 books stored in the Academia Barilla historical library in Parma, open to the public, part of which can also be accessed online - a vertical herbs garden, even some artisan pasta dispensers and great detail – from placemats to the waiters uniforms and even the menus – each one telling a story about the Italian way of sharing a love for food and conviviality.
For those who can’t sit in, a delivery service is available and a ‘to-go’ option allows people to place orders ready for pick up, all easily managed through a simple online ordering service.
If you are in Manhattan – visiting MoMa or meeting a friend at Rockfeller Center - or you are just working nearby - this is an address for your agenda.