Posted by: roamingolivia | February 26, 2010

Piadina and aperitivo. (Or, this blog is now about food.)

Well, I have probably 1000 more blog entries I can do about the two phenomena I am going to introduce on this blog today, but my recent other cultural experiences outside the office would require me to list the top songs played on MTV every morning and evening, so I’ll spare you that.

Okay, everyone knows that food in Italy is delicious. But I don’t think you know HOW delicious it really is. Really, it is lovely. It makes people slightly fascist or fascistic about food rules (there was a discussion about what kinds of cheese you can get on your piadina – defined below – and whether you can have wine or beer with this cheese, etc. at lunch today), but that is not entirely bad. The things I will post about today are not even the most sophisticated heights of Italian cuisine. They’re just basically things I think the world should and could adopt and would be better off for it.

First, the piadina. I am obsessed with this since last week when my coworker got me one and brought it back to the office. There was a minor Italian uproar over whether it was possible I can eat a piadina when it is cold, but I didn’t have other lunch options because I was busy, and anyway it tasted good. Here is a piadina, which is basically meat and/or cheese and/or vegetables, wrapped in something like a tortilla (in Spanish) or lavash (in Russian):

Food doesn’t really photograph well but trust me. You would eat this all the time if you had it.

This is a pippo piadina (crudo (proscuitto more or less), rocket/rucola (UK/US) and cheese), which is the traditional one and thus the only one some more conservative members of my office (read: not the Kazakh) try, but there is a whole huge menu:

Actually, there is a whole lot of literature about piadinerias (piadina shops), like this, although that’s not the one I went to.

Anyway, the other good thing, but not necessarily as sophisticated culinarily, is the aperitivo. Apparently, Milano did not invent the aperitivo phenomenon, which is basically a happy hour where the drinks are not cheaper than usual but there is food provided that you can eat as much or as little as you would like (social restrictions permitting). It is hard to photograph because it happens at night, but I am sure you’ll see more aperitivo shots on this blog so I don’t really mind that these first ones are crappy:

Yeah ok you don’t see any food in that one. Here’s one I went to tonight, with “Johnny” dishing up his food. But it’s still not a good picture because I feel shy about walking up to communal food and taking a picture. I’ve got several months to get the guts to do that, but here’s some pictures from afar from this evening:

Oh, and you have to drink stylish cocktails. And the point is not to get drunk, but to sit around and chat, etc.

There are more posts for this blog about the restrained Milanese drink culture (mostly instructive for the UK audience) but I will do that later. (Note: There’s a kind of hot-dog-like-sausage phenomenon I will have to address in future posts, but for now we will stick to the good stuff.)

Yeah, teasers. Keep coming back to the blog.

Anyway, Fashion Week starts on Sunday. I’ve lived in other cities with Fashion Weeks – okay, I have lived in London – but I haven’t really ever noticed a Fashion Week. Here there is a discernible buzz. But really I have never lived in such a fashion-oriented place, so it makes sense Anyway it’s not even Fashion Week yet and there are lots of people in ridiculous clothes and shoes and glasses, queuing up and waiting for people at the aperitivo bar and taking pictures and movies, which is both fun and kind of like “what are you doing in my city” even though I just moved here last week. I love that idea that if you “live” somewhere (even for a week), you’re the gatekeeper. Anyway here’s a queue for a non-Fashion Week event:

Oh, and a view from my office, even though it’s not that picturesque:

Hey, at least it’s close to piadina.



  1. YAY I LOVED THIS POST!!! keep up the tasty business journalism, olivia!!!!!

    i’ve never heard of the piadina before so thanks a lot for introducing me to something i can’t get my grabby little hands on (yet).

    also PLEASE PLEASE post about what it’s like during fashion week! i know you’re not going to shows but i just want to know what the atmosphere’s like. for ex, i’m sure you’re going to feel even MORE cosmo than usual.

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