Walking into Eataly is like entering the Land of Oz. Except that poppies have been replaced by cheerfully bright San Marzanos and there’s no need for a yellow brick road when all you need is your senses to guide you. What is this magically mysterious wonderland of surprise and joy? Eataly Torino, and we guarantee you’re not in the land of processed foods anymore.
Housed in the former Carpano vermouth factory, Eataly’s flagship Torino store was inaugurated in January 2007. An awe-inspiring exhibition of Italian cuisine, Eataly Torino is a bastion for all who truly enjoy and appreciate good food – and by good we mean fresh, organic, locally produced and regionally authentic. But food snobs beware, Eataly is for real foodies, not for those who think high-priced automatically equates to gourmet. Instead, foodies everywhere can rejoice in Eataly’s vision to provide high quality products to everyone, not just the privileged few.
Their mission to build awareness about choosing quality ingredients while paying attention to a sustainable production process is both timely and necessary. Eataly has even drafted their very own food manifesto to further extol the virtues of their one-of-a-kind positioning. The concept for Eataly transcends its format as farmer’s market emporium meets mini-bistro, to more importantly place learning as a focal point of their overall endeavor. Through cooking classes, guided tastings and advice on food preparation and storage, Eataly is providing consumers with an unadulterated understanding of food quality and the enjoyment that comes from taking your time with food. One product at a time, Eataly is educating consumers to look beyond the immediacy of processed foods for the satisfaction that comes from sharing a meal with others and eating in season, organically and sustainably.
Reminiscent of walking through one of Italy’s unbelievable farm-fresh local markets, Eataly is your local farmer’s market, only way, way better. Beyond the jaw-dropping aisles of pasta, produce and pane, the store maintains a zonal configuration to induce optimal sensory satisfaction and in keeping with the true Italian tradition of respecting every ingredient individually. The store is split into distinct themed sections or zones, each focusing on a particular item such as cheese or fresh meats, and showcasing endless varieties and incarnations of said item. Cheese tasting is taken to an entirely different level when you’ve got ten types of gorgonzola to choose from. Within every zone, there is a mini-bistro or mini-bar complete with expert chefs, sommeliers, macellai (butchers), etc., that are all waiting to make your taste buds dance and your eyes glisten with excitement. Each mini-bistro is geared toward educating their guests through tastings and the visible preparation of food, and are broken into eight distinct categories: pasta, pizza, cheese, meat, fish, wine, beer, gelato.
If you want wine, there is an entire floor dedicated to it. Perhaps a quick aperitivo? There is a walk-up style bar complete with exquisite bottles of real gazzosa, frosty artisanal beers and small bowls of grab and go bar fare. But if you’re looking for syrupy sodas, watered-down pilsners and beer-nuts, think again, because only Eataly would serve rustic sea-salt potato crisps alongside their lemony Lurisia gazzosa or amber Super Baladin beer. Craving the perfect plate of pasta? Grab a seat at the pasta bar where the most delectable Italian classics are consumed with every twirl of the fork.
It may or may not be your Emerald City, but Eataly just might be food utopia.
About the author
Dejou Marano is Co-Founder of CountryBred and Founding Editor of The Bred Blog. Splitting her time between Los Angeles and Europe, Dejou seeks to bring the imagination and wonder of Europe to all travelers through her never-ending pursuit of undiscovered cultural gems and experiences, which she shares through her travel writing.