Why Eataly NYC is the Ultimate Italian Foodie Paradise
Here's who you can spend an entire day at Eataly NYC
I entered Eataly NYC at the very end of my journey through Italian food in New York, but I soon realized that I could have spent the whole day just there. For those who don’t know, Eataly stores are the largest Italian marketplaces in the world. You can dine in, buy your groceries, get an espresso, all in the same store. A new location is set to open in Lower Manhattan, and another one in Los Angeles.
Once you get in, it’s very hard to get out empty handed (or empty stomached). I rushed inside the store, thinking that I would just take some photographs in the little time I had left. Inevitably, though, I had to slow down, my eyes growing wider with wonder, and my appetite waking up from the afternoon nap.
First of all, the store is bigger than you think. To me, it seemed like it had no end, an infinite maze of temptations. Luckily, it is organized into “stations”, so that you don’t get lost. Leaving a trail of (oregano and garlic-flavored) breadcrumbs would do, too. Such stations are designed to satisfy every need, immediate or future, of the Italian food lover.
One day inside Eataly NYC
If you wanted, you could spend a whole day inside Eataly. At least, until a security guard finds your wandering a little suspicious and escorts you out. If I were to, I would probably start with a nice cup of Lavazza espresso and a couple of miniature squared cakes from the pasticceria.
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I would have a seat in the piazza and browse a copy of “How to Eataly”, the book written by Eataly’s founder Oscar Farinetti and his partners at Eataly NYC: Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Lidia Bastianich. After that, I would check out the various brands of Italian cookies (Mulino Bianco and Vicenzi among the others) and probably feel terribly homesick.
At that point, it would probably be lunch time. I would follow the smell of freshly-baked bread all the way to the bakery and get a piece of soft and fragrant focaccia. And then, any self-respecting Italian meal has to feature pasta, right? So I would dig into a dish of rigatoni with roasted eggplant and housemade mozzarella, then get some ravioli to take home.
Indeed, that’s the beauty of Eataly NYC. Eat there, take home, take home, eat there. And repeat. The selection of fresh handmade pasta is sure to impress Italians and non-Italians alike. I bet you’ll spot a particular type or shape you’ve never seen before.
Carbs come in many (delicious) forms
Eataly NYC’s breads deserve a mention, too. Shelves are heaping with freshly-baked loaves. There’s an impressive variety of focaccia, either savory or sweet. Yes, sweet focaccia does exist. Ever heard of Tuscan focaccia all’uva? It’s with grapes. Well, at Eataly NYC they go the extra mile and also make it with cinnamon and apples, or bananas and chocolate chips.
Did I mention they use “mother yeast”? It’s basically a fresh leavening starter that can be used an infinite number of times. It’s supposed to make the bread more digestible. Sometimes, it gives the bread a pleasantly sour taste. Their mother yeast is about 35 years old. Wow. The one I have at home has just learned to say “mommy”.
After my carbs-laden lunch, I would dreamily stroll around the produce marketplace, maybe holding a cup of gelato (only to help digestion, of course!). If you love to cook, like I do, you’d be amazed by the selection of vegetables at Eataly NYC, and tempted to buy everything in sight. Even if you don’t cook, you’ll be stunned by the colors of all that wonderful produce. I would pick up some black trumpet mushrooms to cook with my ravioli, and some greens to grill as a side dish (endive and radicchio Trevisano, perhaps?).
“Eat there, take home. And repeat. That’s the beauty of Eataly.”
At Eataly NYC, all Italian regions are represented. In fact, you can take a virtual tour of Italy by checking out products from every part of the country. Balsamic vinegar from Emilia Romagna, extra-virgin olive oil from Calabria, and honey from Trentino, just to name a few. These products also make terrific gifts in an assorted alimentary basket or box.
Okay, I think that, at that point, I’d be ready for merenda (a concept I’ve introduced you to in my previous post). A true Italian knows there’s nothing that screams “merenda” louder than Nutella (or maybe ice cream does. I-scream. Got it? Okay, sorry). Anyhow, Eataly NYC “happens” to feature a whole Nutella bar. So if you’ve ever dreamed of a place where you can find Nutella-filled pastries, Nutella crepes, or cappuccino served in a Nutella-lined cup, well, that place exists. So I would pick just one… Oh, wait a minute. This is just a fantasy, right? Then I’ll have all three. And maybe even a waffle.
Finishing up my crepe, I would realize that I need a basic ingredient to cook my ravioli: cheese. No problem, the cheese section is just a short walk away. In the presence of the cheese monger, I would promise myself to pick only one, then leave with an array of cheeses to make the most epic cheese platter ever: pecorino, asiago, fiore sardo…
May your food fantasies come true at Eataly NYC
At some point, I would take a peek outside and realize it got dark. And to celebrate a day of great eats and buys, what is better than pizza and an ice cold beer? Eataly has that, too. So I would drop the shopping bags, content, have a seat in the pizzeria, and enjoy a nice Margherita with a glass of Peroni beer. Beautiful.
Waiting to experience all this, and taking the risk of having a major food coma, a (foodie) girl can dream!
200 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
The photos in this article are by Serena Boschi for Foodiamo. All rights reserved.