I mentioned in my post from our second day in Chicago (here) that one of the things we most enjoyed during our Chicago visit was getting acquainted with the huge store known as Eataly. You may have heard of Eataly before, because there are 27 locations all around the world, one being in New York City! Eataly is an original “marketplace” model where people can go and eat, shop, learn how to cook, and truly experience a piece of Italy! I left Eataly feeling so inspired, and with a burning desire to visit Europe!
As I mentioned, Eataly is a place where you can shop, eat, and explore! There is a market section, and there are restaurants all throughout. There are actually 15 different places you can stop for food or drink! I am going to briefly describe some of these places, and I’m sure your mouth will be watering the entire time!
First up, I Panini. This is pretty much what a sounds like, a place that sells panini’s….BUT, there is something extremely unique about it! These panini’s are made with the highest quality of meats, cheeses, and bread, all of which come directly from Eataly! So when you are eating one of these Panini’s, you know exactly where your food came from!
Jared and I tried the Emiliano, which was a Panini with fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, and arugula. It was amazing!!! It was light and fresh, and it didn’t leave us feeling bloated and groggy, like most bread does. If we wanted to recreate this sandwich at home, we could ask an Eataly employee where to locate the ingredients used to make our sandwich, and they would direct us to buy the exact items that were used to create our panini! How cool is that?! Most restaurants do not want you to be able to recreate their menu, but at Eataly, that is encouraged!!
Next we have a very significant chocolate/dessert shop: Venchi! This chocolate is made with the best selection of ingredients and includes 350 unique recipes! Everything they sell looks beautiful and I’m sure taste just wonderful!
Owen and Alchemy
Now for something that’s Paleo friendly: Owen and Alchemy! This is an incredible juice bar that uses a cold press to make a variety of drinks, each containing 5 pounds of fresh produce! What!? 5 pounds! That’s right!! We got to try a few juices, and they were all delicious, and surprisingly sweet! I am sure your body would just love you if you drank these cold pressed juices on a regular basis.
Yummmm…..Gelato. Every day at Eataly, the pastry department makes fresh gelato and sorbetto in small batches. Only the best ingredients are used, such as local milk, pistachios from Sicily, hazelnuts from Piemonte, and choice Venchi chocolates. Woah!! Some flavors include: Fior di Latte, Nocciola, Pistacchio, Crema Vaniglia, Cioccolato, Amarena, and Melone.
Now, this place seems too good to be true…It’s a Nutella bar with a ton of different freshly made products all containing copious amounts of Nutella! Nutella is actually an Italian brand, which I was unaware of! Some items on the Nutella menu are
Pane: Homemade Rustic Bread Spread with Nutella
Crepe con Banana: Filled with Nutella and banana slices and topped with fresh banana
Brioche: Sweet buttery croissant filled with nutella
So…..yeah……heaven, right? There is an elevator, as well as stairs, which will get you to the second floor. The market is located on the second floor. You can find a variety of items here, such as chocolates, pasta, tomato sauce, sparkling water, coffee, olive oil, etc. All of their products are so beautiful! I loved this milk jug! 🙂
Frutta & Verdura
There is also a fresh produce market, which contains tons and tons of seasonal fruits, veggies, and herbs. At Eataly, you are encouraged to eat foods that are in season, because the quality will be higher, it will be better for your body, and they are easier to find! One of the coolest things about the produce market is that there is someone there is chop you fruits and veggies for you if you would like! So, say that you aren’t sure how to chop a pineapple, they will do it for you once you buy it! They chop it and stick in a cute plastic container, and you are good to go! All for no additional charge! How incredible is that!! Also, if you would like to learn how to chop a certain item, they will teach you!!
Next we have Birreria. This is a brewery that contains house made beer along with imported beer! This place has such a fun atmosphere!
I love that you can stand and watch all of the food being prepared. I could spend HOURS in this place!!
Ohhh…..now for one of my favorite parts of Eataly: The meats and the cheeses! I could go on and on about our experience with the meats and cheese at Eataly. Nothing in this deli is mass produced. It is all carefully prepared at Eataly, or it is imported and aged. All of the meat and cheese hanging from the ceiling will actually be used in the restaurants and in the deli! It is all curing right now! How cool is that!
Eataly was kind enough to treat us to a meat and cheese plate during our media tour, and we learned so much! The butcher taught us the significance of each item we tasted, and also elaborated on the other items he sells. The prosciutto we tried had been aging for 16 months!! All proscuitto has to be cured for at least 14 months. Ours was still young, he said.The salami we ate was made in Berkely Ca, and it had a garlic/pepper taste. It was delicious. We learned that no one is able to import any ground meat from Italy..How interesting! He said this is pretty close to the real deal, though!
We also tried pecorino, which is made from sheep’s milk. It was imported from Tuscany! It had a very creamy and salty taste. It basically melted in my mouth! The butcher taught us so much during our meat and cheese tasting. He was so passionate about everything he was saying. I love that so much goes into preparing the food in Italy. It makes it so special!
This is where the fresh mozzarella is made at Eataly.These cheeses are not just for decoration, they will be eaten! They are currently aging!Eataly has a huge meat market with tons of tasty looking meat items. Anyone want a lamb’s leg? 😛The day we went for our tour actually happened to Fresh Pasta Friday! They were providing free pasta making lessons, and all pasta was 1/2 off! You can also purchase freshly made pasta at Eataly.Eataly sells numerous different types of pastas, and they are so different from the type we typically buy at the grocery store. This authentic pasta has a rough, powdery texture, and that’s because it never went through a machine to be dried, like most pasta does. Your average pasta you buy from the store was dried in a machine in less than 20 minutes, resulting in a really slick texture in which the pasta sauce slides right off of. This pasta is air dried for 24-48 hours, and allows for a much fresher taste, and it also allows the flavor of the pasta sauce to become infused throughout the pasta. The pasta sauce actually sticks to the noodles, and in turn, you don’t have to use as much sauce! Italian pasta dishes are much healthier than ours! La Pizza and La Pasta
La Pizza and La Pasta is a restaurant that sells pizza from a Napoli-based pizza company called Rossopomodoro. The pizza has creamy mozzarella, charred yet dough crust, and sweet San Marzano tomatoes. Heaven. Yes. And the signature pasta dishes, such as Spaghetti al Pomodoro or Agnolotti del Plin, are expertly prepared before your eyes in the open kitchen.
Don’t even get me started on the freshness and deliciousness of the bread at Eataly. It is life changing. I wanted to grab a baguette and devour the entire thing!
They sell a wide variety of Focaccia, which is basically thick crust pizza with non-pizza like toppings. It’s spectacular!All of the bread that is sold at Eataly and served in the restaurants is made in house. It is made with mother yeast, and is cooked in this massive oven! This oven was built by an Italian who came over with all of his products and literally built it from the ground up! How cool!
There are Eataly locations all around the world.
Cafe Vergnano is a coffee shop which was founded more than 130 years ago in Italy. This is the most famous coffee shop in Italy! It is still run by the Vergnano family, and they source the highest quality of coffee beans from all around the world! The espresso machine used here cost $25,000, and there are only two in the United States!!!
Vino Libero is a wine bar that carries wine from many producers who all share the same purpose: to produce high-quality wines free of chemical fertilizers and herbicides, using minimal amounts of added sulphates. I love the idea of eating so many pure, real, whole foods. After leaving Eataly, I promised myself I would never buy some of the junk we have at home ever again!!
Finally, we decided to sit down for a meal at Osteria di Eataly. We had been sampling food all through out Eataly, so we weren’t starving, so we decided to share an appetizer and a pasta dish. Our meal began with some fresh bread and olive oil. Yum!
We ordered prosciutto with grilled bread as an appetizer. It was magnificent!For our main dish we ordered Agnolotti del Plin which was meat filled pasta served with butter and pea puree. It was so fresh tasting and delicious. Jared and I both really enjoyed it! We savored every bit! We felt like we were on a romantic date in Italy!
Finally, after many hours spent at Eataly, we decided it was time to move on to our next adventure. We popped back into Eataly numerous times during our trip, because it was right next door to our hotel. We had such an amazing time, and we learned so much about the culture in Europe and about the food they enjoy. I think a trip to Italy is certainly on the horizon!
Be sure to check out Eataly online here and try to plan a visit! This is such a unique place, and it has so much to offer! I want to give a big thank you to Eataly for welcoming us during our visit, and especially to Daltyn for taking us on an immaculate tour!
Thanks for reading! Read more about our second day in Chicago here.