Whether you prefer traditional or cutting-edge Italian cuisine, New York has something to offer everyone. From the thousands of Italian restaurants to the local ethnic neighborhoods, it is clear that Italy has a strong presence in the Big Apple. Members of the Apicius event management team and I recently returned from our training in Florence, Italy. We are currently in New York and have just wrapped up the final event at the Beard House. In keeping with the spirit of Italy, we’ve been venturing out in Manhattan for event prep and have had several opportunities to see where to locals and tourists go to shop, eat, and drink like the Italians!
For a traditional approach to Italian cooking, we headed to Buon Italia located in the Chelsea Market. Known as the “source for all things Italian”, this conventional, no frills grocer of over 25 years, believes that true Italian cooking requires far more on having the right product than it does on complex techniques and marketing promotion. Carrying everything from olive oil, vinegar, cheeses, pastas, spices, and other Italian delicacies, this grocer’s philosophy rests on “developing the very best product in each category, importing it from Italy, and presenting it at the best possible price”. Resembling the authentic, neighborhood markets found throughout Italy, visitors may be surprised by the modest assortment of products offered at this store. Instead, Buon Italia embraces the Italian philosophy of providing “quality over quantity”, supplying only the best products of its kind. http://www.buonitalia.com
On a larger scale of Italian cuisine, we headed to Eataly, one of the newest additions to the market scene. This mega-marketplace dedicated to bringing Italian food and wine to Manhattan is the brainchild of culinary giants Oscar Farinetti, Mario Batali, and Batali’s New York City partners, Lidia and Joe Bastianich. Offering guests the choice of seven boutique restaurants, a wine shop, bakery and patisserie, plus supermarket, Eataly is not your classic Italian marketplace. At nearly 50,000-square-foot in size, its founders claim it’s the largest site in the world dedicated to high-quality, fresh Italian food in which nothing is frozen except the gelato. A similar complex was also founded by Farinetti in Turin, Italy. According to the owners, all of the products offered do not necessarily encompass Italian cuisine, but rather a representation of the culture and “the spirit of eating in a true Italian way.” According to Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, Eataly is “must-visit destination for food aficionados from far and wide.”
CiboChat staff note: Check out the website http://www.newyork.eataly.it as well as the NYTimes article http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/20/dining/reviews/20Eataly.html?scp=1&sq=Eataly&st=cse. Visit if you are in the area. The store has generated significant interest for its layout, sponsorships, approach to Italian food, etc. What do YOU think about Eataly’s expression of Italian food culture?
Finally, a true authentic Italian experience is never complete without a trip to Little Italy, a neighborhood located in lower Manhattan. Little Italy consists of a single street which serves as a restaurant area and maintains some Italian residents. The street is lined with some two-dozen Italian restaurants popular with tourists, and locals. While walking beside the narrow, cobblestoned streets, visitors are tempted by the sights, sounds and smells of Italian cuisine and culture emanating from the architecture and people all around you. Di Palo’s cheeses, an NYC institution, have be shredded, grated, and tossed in many a meal served by Apicius at the James Beard Foundation. http://www.dipaloselects.com
Based on our adventure, we can attest that New York has a love affair with Italy. It’s now up to you to go out and do as the Italians do, mangiare bene!