When you think of Milan or Milano, you think of its fashion prowess and the majestic Duomo. It is, after all, home to some of the best architectural and cultural landmarks. However, there is another aspect of this city that does not get enough attention. That is the Milan foods culture. Not only is Milan home to some of the best tasting original, historical dishes, but its street food scene is also one of the best worldwide. If you ever stop by Milan on holiday, or to lap up the fashion scene, do delve into some of their choicest culinary picks. Take your taste buds on a vibrant journey as we look at the top five foods you have to try in Milan.
This white bread originates back to the 1700s and is famous for its bulbous shape. It gets this shape by cuts made in the dough just before baking. It is a remake of the Austrian kaisersemmel, but this version is more hard-crusted and hollow. Traditionally eaten either as a savory or sweet sandwich. The bread sometimes has a filling of local delicacies, such as mozzarella, or meats like prosciutto.
This artisanal delicacy translates from the Milanese phrase ‘pan del ton’, meaning luxury bread. It is rich in butter, honey, and dried fruits. Originating in the 15th century. During a gathering in the court of Duke Ludovico, it was initially made to replace a burnt dessert, and everyone loved it. Mostly prepared around Christmas time, this sweet bread has a stuffing of raisins and candied orange peels. It takes three days to reach the final product from an initial sourdough base. After baking, it hangs upside down to keep it fluffy. Pairs well with ice cream, hot chocolate, or eggnog to give it a refreshing spin.
This Milanese drink consists of freshly brewed sweet coffee and is diluted with milk. It is then flavored with cocoa and topped with cream. It pairs well with desserts like Panettone. Invented in 1859 by Domenico Barbaja, a waiter in Café Cambiasi which is located next to the prominent La Scala Theatre. It gained popularity throughout Milan in the 19th and 20th centuries. This drink has been a local favorite since then and survives right up to this day.
4. Risotto alla Milanese
With its base of white wine and onions, this traditional yellow rice dish stews in a rich and creamy broth. It gets its flavour and yellow colour from saffron. The dish is said to have been invented in the 16th century, during the construction of the Duomo. The story goes that the master painter or glazier used saffron to stain the glass windows of the cathedral yellow. Thus, the dish evolved from there and is now one of the representative dishes of the city. Sometimes served as a main course, but mostly accompanied by ossobuco alla Milanese.
5. Ossubuco alla Milanese
This dish originated from a farmhouse in Lombardy in the 19th century. Derived from the Milanese phrase ‘oss bus’, it translates to ‘bone with a hole’. It is made of veal shank which stews in vegetables, white wine, and meat broth. The flavors all blend together to form a deliciously juicy, glossy shank gravy. Widely garnished with gremolata, a mixture of grated lemon peel, garlic, and parsley. The gremolata cuts through the richness of the meat to give it a balanced, well-rounded taste. Pairs well with local red wines like Valtellina.
To sum up, Milan is home to amazingly delectable fare. Each dish has its unique history and symbolism. From trattorias to high-end restaurants, you are sure to find different versions of these dishes, which are sure to satisfy the foodie in you. Hope you have enjoyed this short gastronomic journey into some of the very best of Milanese cuisine. Ready to try Milan foods?