Eataly in Istanbul offers a cheese & ham counter worthy of Caesar
Ten years ago Eataly opened in a former vermouth factory in Turin. Today there are more than 35 locations around the world stretching from Rome to Tokyo and even to Dubai. It’s appropriate, however, that the first Eataly opened in Italy’s Piedmont district. Piedmont is home to the Slow Food Association, a kind of Noah’s Ark of Italy’s heirloom foods that was born in outrage to the first McDonald’s opening in Italy back in the 1980’s.
Chicago's wine department sells the best of Italian vino
Eataly’s founder, an Italian bazillon-Euro magnate, grew up in a household involved in the grocery business. His extended family were artisan pasta makers. After selling his electronics firm, he took the old-fashioned concept of a food-hall and turned it into the greatest foodie emporium on planet earth. Before doing so, however, he toured all of Italy’s regions looking for its best local food products. He found a cornucopia of producers making foods the old way…everything from boutique pasta located in the boot of Italy, to capers from an island off the coast of Sicily.
Eataly in Florence serves up a serious array of breads
Think of Eataly as a Whole Foods on steroids, then add a William-Sonoma Super Store, a cooking school, several dining venues (including a mozzarella bar, a wood-fired oven featuring to-die-for breads and pizzas, and a pasta cafe), as well as a second-to-none culinary bookstore. I spent several hours in Rome’s three story Eataly (built in a once derelict bus terminal on the outskirts of town). I ate lunch, shopped for dinner ingredients (to be whipped up that night in my rented apartment), bought most of my Christmas gifts, and simply wandered from department to department in awe of the mind-boggling array of Italian foodie-related products.
Eataly, regardless of location, has multiple dining venues
Eataly is finally opening a long-awaited outpost in Los Angeles late this year. My birthday is in December and I’ve already made plans to spend it at their new location. I’ll celebrate with a cooking class, but will leave plenty of time to explore, marvel, and shop for holiday goodies.