Ah, you want this in English? OK, scroll down a bit…
Pasta fresca? Caciotte e mozzarelle appese? Salami e prosciutti? Sembrerebbe un miraggio; ma nel Dubai Mall, il centro commerciale più grande al mondo, ci si può aspettare di tutto!
Già però quando si legge attentamente, salta fuori che il salame è in effetti “salame d’oca”… e lì iniziano a sorgere i dubbi!
Forse anche Eataly – nome simpatico, ma anche un po’ Hollywoodiano – é solo un miraggio di specchietti per attrarre le allodole del deserto, o veramente si è degni di rappresentare la cultura gastronomica della civiltà italiana?
Continuiamo in inglese…
Here is Eataly, as you enter the snazzy 2000-square-metre retail Italian food store in Dubai Mall!
I must admit I walked around in a daze, eyes wide and mouth open – surely this is the Italian version of paradise!
Put bluntly, it is a restaurant in a supermarket.
But actually, it is a lot more than that:
“The idea behind Eataly is very simple: to gather all high-quality Italian foods under one roof, where you can eat, shop and learn. Our goal is to present to the world a new mode of high quality agricultural product’s distribution.”
Ah, it’s the gastronomical embassy of Italy!!!
Well, if you set yourself such high goals, you’d better be ready to deliver, I thought.
There are currently 27 Eataly stores in the world, including 10 in Italy, 13 in Japan, 2 in the USA, 1 in Turkey, and of course this one in Dubai Mall.
Let’s start from the cooked food – because, pre-packaged is just a question of sourcing, transporting, storing, and displaying.
The young Manager, Mr Louay Moursel, was professionally on the ball and moving fast. Waitresses were scooting along at top speed, loaded with trays – it felt like a popular lunch spot in downtown Milan!
We ordered simple, because Italian food above all is about simplicity. Quality ingredients, as fresh as possible, with minimal but intelligent manipulation.
You want a pasta dish? Fine. Fresh pasta, cooked rigorously al dente, and a little sauce – sparingly, do not drown the pasta in a gallon of herby, spicy, cheesy goop that not only kills the pasta but just overwhelms the palate.
Eataly was perfect!!!
Handmade fresh pasta…
…and just the right amount of sauce.
Here’s a soup we tried. Minestrone alla Genovese – a clear vegetable soup with basil. Simple.
You would not believe how many chefs would fill it with savoury, salty, additive flavourings to try and “zest it up” – No! One does not mess with perfection!
At Eataly – again, perfection!
Add a little grated parmesan if you want “zest”, whatever that is!
The plot became clear. Eataly delivers at a very high quality. Do not be fooled by the supermarket rows, or the braggadocio of claiming to represent Italian cuisine to the world – actually, Eataly is the real thing.
I went for broke… this “salami of goose”, may I order the platter of cold-cuts, please? I said, ever so sweetly, licking my chops in preparation of destroying them when they presented what could only be chewy chemically-treated flat layers of artificial-meats… a salame without pork can hardly be a real salame, right?
On the menu is a tasting platter for two: Beef prosciutto, goose salami, wild lamb prosciutto, beef bresaola, artichokes, and semi-dried tomatoes in oil, served with fornarina bread.
Well, I’ll be darned – it was excellent! I really was not expecting that! A non-pork product trying to masquerade as a traditional Italian antipasto… except they were all absolutely excellent!
Later, once back home, I did a little research – and goose salami is actually a bonafide regional speciality!
Eataly’s lofty mission statement of “to gather all high-quality Italian foods under one roof, where you can eat, shop and learn” came to mind… I had been schooled!
It turns out I was the arrogant one, going in all cocky; and in fact “salame d’oca” is even a regional delight from my own region, Lombardia, from the town of Mortara, in the province of Pavia, where they even have been holding a goose salame festival annually for the past 40 years!
Yes, I learned something about Italian gastronomy at Eataly in Dubai Mall – thank you.
And on with the cheeses!!!
Eataly even makes their own mozzarella and caciotta daily right there in-shop, as well as importing the finest Italian regional cheeses.
And they bake their own breads, in-house.
And on and on with all and every possible culinary delight from Italy!
It is true – Eataly represents the finest of Italian gastronomy to the world: they deserve the tile. Dear Italian embassy, you may now pack up and Eataly can take over…
And for last, my favourite:
Eataly, thank you for the lesson in Italian gastronomy. You have a new fan. Grazie.
You may find more information about Eataly here.