Oh, Milan…! The city of fashion, shopping, La Scala. The magnificent Duomo and the breathtaking Galerie Victor Emmanuel. Yes, Milan is all that, but not only! Milan is also a city where initiatives are multiplying to promote local, artisanal and environmentally friendly products. If this side of Milan interests you, I have unearthed five places not to be missed.
1) Refuel for breakfast at the “Le Polveri” bakery
I no longer present to you the excellent micro-bakery The Polveri which opened its doors in November 2017, and which I told you about in a previous post. In this warm place, Aurora, the only captain on board, prepares all day long breads made exclusively with chef’s sourdough, delicious focaccia and a few pastries on weekends. Everything is to die for, but we will particularly remember the cardamom “buns” available on Saturdays and Sundays in general. Attention, first come, first served! The Polveri is located in a slightly outlying area, not far from the Basilica of Sant’ Ambrogio – a very beautiful church from the Romanesque period and one of the oldest churches in Milan – which is also worth a visit.
The Polveri, Via Ausonio, 7 Milano. Open everyday save Monday.
2) Enjoy a coffee at the Cofficina Coffee Shop
You can then go and taste your bun with cardamom from The Polveri at Cofficina, a coffee shop located very close to Porta Ticinese, one of the two surviving gates of Milan’s medieval walls. At Cofficina, you won’t drink just any coffee: indeed, this coffee shop offers an exclusive selection of “specialty coffees”, roasted on site. For coffee novices like me, specialty coffees are coffees made from beans with unique flavors and grown in very specific micro-climates. The barists are happy to explain to you the vintage they serve you. All you have to do is taste, and leave with one of their specialty coffees also available for sale.
Cofficina, Corso di Porta Ticinese 58, Milano
Not far from Porta Ticinese, you will find another district of Milan still little known to tourists: Milano Navigli. The navigli are the artificial canals of the city built between 1179 and the 16th century. Many goods passed through these canals, including the marbles used to build the majestic Duomo. The district was recently renovated on the occasion of Expo 2015, and is experiencing a true renaissance. The Navigli are perfect for a stroll in the sun along the riverbanks, where you’ll find dozens of cafes, restaurants and artisan shops. The perfect place to stroll away from the crowded streets of the center.
If you are passing along the navigli on Saturday, do not miss the organic market of the district, the Mercato Agricolo dei Navigli. From 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can buy products directly from the producers. The market is not huge, but that’s not why you won’t have a wide choice of products presented by some 25 producers: fruits, vegetables, olive oils, cheeses and dairy products, tapenades, honeys crafts… in short, plan to carry luggage in the hold for the return!
Mercato Agricolo dei Navigli, Alzaia Naviglio gGande, 116, Milano (only on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.)
5) Discover products with exceptional stories and flavors at Terroir Milano
I saved the best for last. Terroir, it’s my second real crush in Milan, after Aurora’s bakery. Terroir is the grocery store of Gabriele Ornati, passionate about artisanal and natural products, and gastronomy “as a human and cultural factor”. At Gabriele, you will find products from Italy and around the world, chosen not only for their organic label, but also for their history. Each product at Terroir is truly created, shaped by small producers who work without intermediaries, use ancestral production methods and only work with the best raw materials.
Gabriele will be happy to tell you the story of each producer, further proof of the young man’s passion given the variety of foods on offer in the store: wines, teas, chocolates, flours, pasta, ciders, cheeses, vegetables, fruits… and so on. A unique place and encounter that you cannot miss the next time you are in Milan.
Land, Via Macedonio Melloni, 33, Milano
So much for my five favorite addresses. If you have any others, feel free to share them! 🙂