Experiencing the Food of Milan
Whenever someone mentions Italy, the 1st thing that probably springs to mind is food. You can talk as much as you want about the art, music and fashion (and certainly, these are some extra great attractions of the country), however what most people really wish to sample is the sophisticated culinary culture that Italy is famous for. Every Italian region has its’ own specific style of food and, if you are travelling to Milan, you will not be disappointed.
Located in the north of Lombardy, Milan is a paradise for food lovers. If you are staying in the city centre, the restaurants, hotels, bars and cafés are all within easy reach, and ready to entice you with their mouth watering selection of delicacies. As a landlocked city, seafood does not feature as prominently on the menu in Milan, compared to some of the provinces on the coast. Nonetheless, this is not an issue because, in Lombardy, the meat is where it’s at! Here are just some of the culinary delights that await you.
In the centre of Milan, hotels are accustomed to hosting celebrities from across the world. Indeed, rock stars, film stars and top politicians have all visited this fascinating city to experience its’ unique atmosphere and history first-hand. However, tourists to Milan actually rub shoulders with something far more well known than any celebrity: the signature dish of the region, which is Osso Buco.
The traditional form of Osso Buco can only be described as divine, and the highlight of it is the veal shanks, which melt in your mouth and form the bulk of the dish. Translated literally as: “hole in the bone”, this meat is heated in a blend of wine, tomato, onion and stock and then sprinkled with lemon, garlic and parsley. Oven cooked slowly for several hours, the most delicious part of this meal is the marrow that stays in the bone’s hollow. In the centre of Milan, each restaurant and hotel chef uses their own particular version of this authentic Lombardian dish – it’s your job to determine whose is best!
Risotto and More
Risotto has become almost a standard dish throughout the world, and most leading chefs have their own personal interpretation of this historic Italian recipe. Often, risotto in Milan is served as a side-dish to Osso Buco. Similar to everything else in this fashionable city, Risotto alla Milanese manages to do it just that tiny bit better.
Milanese risotto differs from other types of risotto due to the inclusion of precious saffron threads and beef bone marrow, which gives it a distinctive yellow colour. Frequently, in the centre of Milan, hotel food is five star quality, so you might have to tear yourself away from the building to sample other city restaurants, after you have tasted the risotto at your hotel. We do advise you to do this though, as there are many great variations of this meal to be discovered throughout the city. This video shows Risotto alla Milanese, as it is prepared at the city’s Four Seasons Hotel:
A Haven for Cheese Lovers
One excellent way of rounding off your evening meal, is to order a cheese board that is topped with Lombardy regional varieties, along with a wine chaser. In all likelihood, you will already have heard of the regional cheeses of Milan. The blue veined and wonderfully rich Gorgonzola (named after a village on the outskirts of Milan) is the most famous speciality. However, you might know the creamy, mild flavour of Bel Paese (which is another locally made delicacy), as well as Taleggio and Grana Padano.
Finally, if you fancy some free food, then each evening in Milan at about 18:00, bars all across the city leave one table of snacks and finger food to be consumed at no extra charge. All you need to do is purchase a drink between 18:00 and 21:30. Thus, rather than finding a good restaurant, you can save yourself as much as €10.00 on your Italian holiday, by visiting any of the bars in Milan that are known for their aperitivo snacks.
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