Last week, the new gourmet Italian mega-store known as Eataly opened in Manhattan. At nearly 45,000 square feet, the gluttonous foodie-heaven is like a Macy’s of Italian culinary goodness.
“This isn’t a giant food court,” said co-owner Mario Batali to the Wall Street Journal. “This isn’t a selection of restaurants under one roof. This is a retail store where we peddle the greatest of Italian gastronomy to people who want to eat it and know how to appreciate it. You ask any Italian and all of the smart Americans where the best meal they ever had in the last ten years was, and it was never in someone’s restaurant. It was always in the house. And with these products, and this ideology, we’re hoping that’s what we’re going to bring to New Yorkers.”
When I was in Italy last year I visited the original Eataly just outside of the city center from Torino. This Whole Foods meets an Italian food-mecca was far more unique in Italy than it will be in the foodie-centric and upper-class hipster haven of Manhattan. Before now, Italy didn’t have a Trader Joes or Whole Foods type market.
At Eataly, I drooled over the enormous selection of cheeses, meats, breads, pastas, fish, chocolate, and olive oils. Stark white shelves heaved with perfectly aligned jars of oily, salty anchovies, a plethora of pestos, tasty tapenades, freshly made pastas, and so much more. Luckily there are cafes sprinkled throughout the store where you can sit down and chow on some of the delights right before your eyes. And for dessert, of course, there is a gelato stand from which part of the proceeds go to charity.
Here are some photos from my tour of Eataly in Torino. If you are in New York, head down to the Flatiron District. Or better yet, hope a flight to Milan and train in to Turin to check out the original.
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