When Fodder, the Yorkshire Agricultural Society store set up stall in Harrogate, we thought it was the height of speciality food shopping and so it remains in Yorkshire terms, but a recent trip to Milan showed me the Fodder principal on a mega scale. Eataly, in the former Smeraldo theatre, is whopping great department store of good food – and it’s coming to England.
The first Eataly opened in Turin in 2007, the brainchild of Oscar Farinetti, a former electrical retailer and a member of Slow Food. His idea – hardly revolutionary you may think – was to connect people to wholesome, fairly priced, quality food.
Comparing Italian and British food prices was beyond me, but Farinetti claims he keeps prices down by cutting out the middle-man and going direct to producers. Whatever the price, anyone with an interest in food should visit a branch of Eataly. There are 31 stores across Italy, Europe and the USA. Our hosts were tight lipped about when and where the London branch might be, only saying it would open ‘soon’. Not a great PR move for a bunch of travel journalists with pens poised to write about it.
But when it does open in the UK, we are in for a treat if the Milan branch is anything to go by. At the entrance is a bountiful display of fresh fruit and vegetables and shelves of produce from small regional producers: quality mayonnaise, speciality pastas, truffles, anchovies and much more from kitchen gear to cook books. The second floor has the wine shop, butchery department and fish counter. They make their own cheese, ice cream, chocolate and pastries and make and sell 80kg of bread a day.
Demonstration kitchens host cookery courses and you can eat and drink here whether it’s a quick morning espresso, an evening cocktail, a freshly made pizza, a snack lunch or a full blow posh dinner at their Michelin-starred Alice. Or spend all day there and do the lot.
Eataly, Piazza XXV Aprile, 10 – 20121 Milano
Fodder, Great Yorkshire Show Ground, Harrogate