Our last day/evening in Italy was spent in the city of Milan. The bulk of the day was spent at the Expo Milano 2015. The Expo was actually the latest world’s fair, with a focus entirely on food. There was 1.1 million square meters of exhibition space, and 145 participating countries. The fair ran for six-months and was probably the largest food event in history. Like EVER. Crazy.
The theme of the whole affair was “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” The hope for this massive worldwide collaboration was showcase new technologies that can provide a concrete answer to one of the world’s greatest concerns: how to “guarantee healthy, safe, and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the planet and its equilibrium.”
I personally felt like the description “Disney World for food” was a pretty good explanation of the overall feel/tone of the event. There were numerous pavilions, restaurants, foods tor try, and crazy displays to check out. I’m not sure there was a real answer to world hunger to be found at the fair, but it was still pretty fun to attend none the less.
As you might imagine, we spent a good deal of time inside the Italian Pavilion, as the tourism board for the Emila Romagna region of Italy was our host for the whole Italy trip.
The Italian Pavilion was the only structure designed to remain permanently after the Expos finish date. It certainly adds a modern touch to Milan’s skyline.
While in the Pavilion I had a chance to interview Michelin Starred Chef Matteo Viggoti at the Italian Pavilion’s official restaurant Peck.
After viewing the Italian Pavilion we had a chance to walk around and explore the rest of the Expo. I walked the entire Expo from end to end (long walk…), though I only had enough time to go into a few Pavilions.
Though I’m sure everyone from the USA worked hard on our Pavilion for the Expo, I was a little disappointed in the final out come. I love the idea of “food truck nation” as a theme to represent our very diverse food culture in the States, because you can get some pretty amazing foods of all types from food trucks. However, we showed off the most boring and basic food or blah food you can get in America. Burgers, kale salad?!?! What’s up with that America? We can do better.
I hear the off site American restaurant which had famed chefs from all over America rotating through the kitchen during the six months of the exhibition was way better, but unfortunately I didn’t get to check that one out.
The future grocery store, designed by a professor from MIT was also super cool, so America did have some awesomeness going on.
The UK Pavilion was pretty cool. It was a giant metal beehive, that made music and sounds based on the workings of a real beehive back in England.
The Israeli Pavilion was also excellent, and really on point with the Expo’s theme. The entire Pavilion was one long wall filled with vertical gardens. It also had a specially designed irrigation system.
There was plenty of food to sample everywhere you went. I ended up having some hazelnut and chocolate gelatto and Belgian fries. Yum.
And after walking end to end, and being quite tired I stopped at the Czech Pavilion with one of my fellow journalists. The Pavilion had a really nice shallow pool and a bar. So we sat, had a beer, enjoyed the sun, chatted, and chilled with out feet in the pool. It was most excellent.
Plus, the Czech make good beer.
After the Expo we took the train back to our hotel to get cleaned up before we headed to The Chef To Chef Gala.
The Gala was held at one of Leonardo di Vinci’s former homes, where he also owned a vineyard. It was stunning. The party was more of an open air cocktail party then a sit down dinner.
A number of Michelin starred chefs ran ‘food carts’ with small tasting portions. Of course the handmade pasta was the best of all.
I was able to interview a number of the Chefs during the party, so that was pretty cool.
But, there were also a few speeches going on in Italian, which I do not speak, so I clapped polity and went back to the pasta!
After the Gala we went back to our hotel (charming again of course), and the next morning I had an early flight home.
So that my friends is about that for Milan!
In fact, that’s the last of my Italy photos. I have two more Italy/pasta recipes to share with you this week or early next week. And that should wrap up my posts related to this trip as well as my Pasta 101 series of posts. Which is just as well, because it’s time to start thinking Thanksgiving!
Alright. Over and out for now.
Note: This trip was fully paid for by Emilia Romagna Region Tourist Board. However, any opinions expressed here are my own.