It seems that all I talk about lately is food. It’s not really the case, but it is fair to say that with cold weather rolling in, my interest in tucking into yumminess of all descriptions is increasing. I indulge myself not by giving into it, but by pretending. Take yesterday, for example. Yesterday for the singular motive of procuring a tiny box of macarons (a following post will go into more detail on this topic) at Ladurée, I took the tram into the center, to one of my favorite streets: Via Spadari.
This cozy street, one block from the Duomo, is probably best known for Peck, a veritable gastronomical temple. The best-of-the-best in terms of Italian ingredients and preparations are found here. Walking through Peck is like walking through Barney’s in the good old days, except that what greets your eye isn’t designer wear. It’s the food of the gods. Cheeses, salumi, preserved foods, olive oils, vinegars, chocolates, wines and more. You can also stop in for panini or an extended wine-tasting. I’ve photographed just one of the front windows, as photography inside is strictly prohibited. Too many well-guarded secrets, I suppose.
Another favorite stop of mine is the Pescheria Spadari situated in the middle of the Duomo-side of the street, opposite Peck. I love shopping here, though it’s now a bit off my well-beaten path. Customers and servers alike seem to be seized with an urgent passion about seafood. The act of entering and order produce a small adrenalin rush. I saw yesterday that they have added a “lunch service”! The idea delights me: you sit on a high bar stool and and eat inside the actual fish shop, while it’s otherwise closed for lunch business. Wednesday through Friday, 12:30-2:30. Primi piatti (i.e. pasta dishes), secondi (main dishes based on seafood), sushi and crudités.
As I’ve already mentioned, my goal in going to Via Spadari was the Parisian import, Ladurée, a confection of a store filled with pastel colored macarons imported daily from Monte Carlo. What I hadn’t previously realized, is that two doors down from Ladurée is a beautiful old Milanese Pasticceria which also makes macarons (in the photograph). Their multiple display windows are a feast for the eyes, filled, now, for Christmas, with a dizzying array of those spherical glass balls filled with tiny snow-scenes, miniature doll houses and windmills, macarons, and silk Chinese boxes filled with chocolates. It sounds like a horrendous mix, but it’s more like the fantasy of a child trapped in a Francis Hodgson Burnett novel. What you see through the glass is an escape into another world and time, one that existed before earthquakes, pollution, war and pestilence—beautiful, ornate, and whimsical.
[If you’re ever planning a trip to Milan, I highly recommend that you visit this street with an empty stomach, and that you consider staying in the perfectly situated Hotel Spadari.