Wandering Chef: Massimo Bottura in Milan
Chef Massimo Bottura of the just-renovated Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy—roughly two hours from Milan—draws flavors from his native Emilia-Romagna region. But what makes him stand out as one of Italy’s most progressive chefs is the way he references his other passions (notably jazz and contemporary art) in his dishes. Here’s what fuels him in Milan.
Nottingham Forest Cocktail Bar
“The vibe blends Hemingway and the TV show C.S.I., and mixologist Dario Comini is pushing boundaries by making drinks with dry ice and syringes. He can prepare cocktails based on your specific tastes and preferences. Bar Basso is classic—it’s credited with inventing Negroni sbagliatos [a Negroni apéritif that subs prosecco or spumante for gin]—but this place is Milan’s cocktail innovator. ” Viale Piave 1, 39/(0) 02-79-8311, nottingham-forest.com
Pastamadre Laboratorio e Ristoro
“Here’s a pastry shop that has been open for 85 years. Its homemade breads and brioches are the high point of breakfast or the afternoon merenda, or snack. The baking secret is a dough recipe used by Pastamadre’s master bakers for decades. The space added a small restaurant in 2011 with a focus on handmade, seasonal pastas.” Via Bernardino Corio 8, 39/(0) 02-5519-0020, pastamadremilano.it
“This contemporary exhibition space, housed in an old industrial plant, supports experimental, multidisciplinary arts and is best known for hosting projects like Anselm Kiefer’s “The Seven Heavenly Palaces.” The space reopened in April after renovations that included a new restaurant, Dopolavoro Bicocca. The chef, Paolo Casanova, interned with me at Osteria Francescana years ago.” Via Chiese 2, 39/(0) 02-6611-1573, hangarbicocca.org
“Probably the best kitchen store in Italy, L’Alberghiera Medagliani has been around since 1860. It is my favorite cookery shop because it stocks an incredible selection of equipment for both the professional chef and the passionate gourmand, ranging from high-tech juicers to beautiful wine decanters and stemware.” Via Privata Oslavia 17, 39/(0) 02-4548-5571, medagliani.it
10 Corso Como
“This multi-faceted space, from gallerist and publisher Carla Sozzani, showcases the best of cutting-edge fashion and avant-garde design. The location is perfect for afternoon tea in the vine-covered garden and if you are visiting from out of town there are three B&B-style rooms. Don’t miss the bookstore on the second floor. It has an amazing selection of music. There is also an intimate art gallery featuring photographic projects.” 10 Corso Como, 39/02-65-3531, 10corsocomo.com
Al Pont de Ferr
“My friend Alice Granello, food writer for the local style magazine “La Repubblica,” has been going to this tiny osteria in the heart of the Navigli neighborhood for the past 25 years. Chef Matias Perdomo’s remarkable food was recently awarded a Michelin star. Traditional pastas, an amazing cheese selection, a careful wine selection, plus a casual atmosphere, make it the best place to eat along the Naviglio Grande canal.” 55 Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 39/02-8940-6277
“At one time Bar Basso was where both the high society crowd and the ever-present Milanese mafia rubbed shoulders. True cocktail masters, they invented drinks like the Negroni Sbagliato (negroni mistake) where gin is substituted with champagnoise, or the now classic Italian Spritz, a mixture of Campari and prosecco with a twist of lemon, ‘mangia e bevi’ ice-cream, fruit, and liquor. They use extra-large Belon wine glasses for the cocktails with just one block of ice that somehow never melts.” 39 Via Plinio, 39/02-29-40-0580, barbasso.com
Illustrations by Michael Hoeweler. Parts of this appeared in the September, 2012 issue.