Expo Milano 2015: a great time to explore Milan’s cuisine

  • 08th February 2015

If you’ve visited the great northern Italian city of Milan recently you’ll be aware that there’s a lot of activity in preparation for World EXPO 2015, which runs from 1 May to 31 October.

With the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”, Expo Milan 2015 will be one of the largest events ever organized on food, nutrition, innovation, and sustainability. More than 140 countries and international organisations are participating and Milan expects over 20 million visitors to explore the event over the six-month period.

Of course, an important element of Expo Milan 2015 will be the opportunity to discover a wide range of gastronomic traditions and sample some of the best dishes from around the world in each country’s purpose-designed pavilion.

One of the highlights of Milano Expo 2015 will be the Future Food District, where visitors will be able to explore how technology is changing all aspects of the food chain. Among the many activities and events planned are a fun interactive supermarket and the opportunity to cook with professional chefs.

If you’re planning to visit Milan this summer or autumn, then we would also recommend that you also take the time to check out Milan’s very own cuisine.

Milanese cuisine and food traditions

The cuisine of the Lombardy region, of which Milan is the capital, typically includes ingredients such as maize, rice, beef, pork, butter, and lard rather than the tomatoes or olive oil which characterises central and southern Italian dishes. Indeed, Lombardy cuisine tends to have more in common with that of Austria and central Europe.

Risotto and polenta are typical of the region, together with ossobuco (veal shanks), and specialities such as mostarda sauce and panettone – the famous Italian Christmas cake. Lombardy’s cheeses include Grana Padano, Gorgonzola, Taleggio, Crescenza, Marscapone and Robiola.

Milan is home to its own versions of regional dishes which are well worth sampling when you visit the city. Specialities to put on your must-eat list when visiting the city include:

Luini’s panzerotti

One of the essential food experiences to have in Milan is a visit to the small, family run bakery Luini’s on Via Santa Radegonda 16, to purchase one of their famous panzerotti.

Luini bakery_original

The bakery was founded in 1949 by Guiseppina Luini who brought this traditional snack to Milan from her home in Puglia, in southern Italy. Luini’s Panzerotti is now a tradition for the people of Milan as well as for tourists. You can try savoury or sweet versions of these fried pasties – but be prepared to queue for the privilege!

Caffè Cova

Another institution in Milan that should be on your to-do list is the famous bakery Pasticceria Cova which was founded in 1817 by Antonio Cova – a former soldier who served under Napolean – on Via Montenapoleone next to Milan’s equally famous La Scala opera house.

In all, Milan has 15 cafés, bars and restaurants registered among the Historical Places of Italy. These have all been in continuous operation for at least 70 years and many can be found in the city’s historic centre – the Brera and Navigli districts.

Pastries and cakes_original

Time for an aperitivo?

No visit to Milan would be complete without experiencing the city’s aperitivo culture. Typically available at just about every bar and restaurant in town between 7 and 9 pm, the concept of aperitivo has evolved from a simple pre-dinner drink with perhaps some olives and foccacia to nibble on, to full-blown buffets with pizzas, pasta, cooked meats and other Italian delicacies – all included in the price of a drink! If you go back for seconds and thirds (which the locals do) you may not even need to order dinner afterwards!

This website lists 15 luxury bars in Milan to have aperitivo – including La Terrazza Restaurant which has a fabulous view of the Duomo.

La Terrazza_original

Eating in style…

As well as having a rich traditional cuisine and long-established eating houses, Milan is also rightly known for its world-class and innovative, and typically stylish, restaurants and cafés.

Milan currently has three restaurants with a rating of 2 Michelin stars restaurants: Cracco, Sadler and il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia. And there are many more just waiting to be discovered.

For some ideas on where to get the best food in Milan, visit the Trip Advisor website.

Sadler restaurant_original

Milano Expo 2015 creates a great opportunity to focus on food when you next visit this fantastic city. Whether you sample the delights of different cuisines from around the world, or focus on more local fare and traditions, we hope we’ve whetted your appetite for Milan and its delicious food.

We fly to Milan every Monday and Friday from Bristol Airport. To book, visit www.flybmi.com.

bmi regional operates over 300 flights a week to 24 destinations across the UK and Europe.