Camilla Baresani’s Milan/ 1

The writer from Brescia, who became a gourmet in the city, tells us about her favourite places

Camilla Baresani, writer, journalist, great gastro

Camilla Baresani, writer, journalist, great gastronomic expert and enthusiasts, wrote an article in which she tells us about her craveable Milan for Guida ai ristoranti di Identità Golose 2014, published by Mondadori. While waiting for Expo 2015, and in order to give some tips to those who happen to walk in the sunny streets of Milan, we republish her piece in two parts (photo credits Sarah De Pietro)

Even though I was born and raised in Brescia, it was in Milan that I first started to be a gourmet, thanks to my grandparents who lived here. It was back in the Sixties and the most beautiful memory of the times when I would visit them was the daily grocery shopping at Peck, which at the time had three sumptuous shops, besides visiting the restaurants where my grandfather was a regular: Giannino, L'Assassino and Romani, where I would discover a different cuisine from the one that was typical of my area, all focused on agnoli and broiled birds.

When in 1980, with the excuse of university, I moved to this metropolis, I started my gastronomic exploration, which was obviously suitable to my working-student budget. Among the discoveries of the time, there are three places that I keep in my heart and still visit regularly.

Inside Poporoya, perhaps the most historic Japanese restaurant in town

Inside Poporoya, perhaps the most historic Japanese restaurant in town

One of them is Poporoya. This is where after discovering Japan through films and novels, I began to appreciate the food. In the early Eighties, in Milan there were only two Japanese very expensive restaurants besides a small shop with a sushi counter. Here, behind a window displaying the fish, there was (and still is, since thirty years ago) Hirazawa Minoru, known as Shiro, a graduate from the exclusive school of Osaka, a pioneer of this cuisine in Italy. An expert selector of ingredients, from fish to tea, to rice, he does everything by himself and everything live, so that there’s always a line in front of Poporoya: after all, there are only 15 micro-seats for the guests...

Another favourite place since back then, a place where I would still eat every day, is Latteria San Marco (also known as "Maria e Arturo"), in the homonymous street (via San Marco 24, +39.02.6597653). Here, just like at Poporoya, you cannot make reservations: there are few seats, not even thirty, and if you don’t want to wait you need to get here early.

Bar Basso, with its legendary "Negroni sbagliato", is one of the must-see in Camilla Baresani’s Milan

Bar Basso, with its legendary "Negroni sbagliato", is one of the must-see in Camilla Baresani’s Milan

If there’s no space, the table could be shared and, when this is a case, Maria decides at a glance and without failing the composition of this human bouquet. Arturo is obsessed with raw materials, and a large part of the vegetables he cooks come from his vegetable garden in the province of Piacenza. Almost everything that you can eat here tastes like home and it also recalls one’s memories (at least those of the Italian guests, since in the meantime it has become very famous and celebrated by many foreign guides).

And finally here’s the third place that I’ve been going to for the past thirty years and I recommend to everyone: Bar Basso, a classic American cocktail bar, where Mirko Stocchetto invented the famous Negroni sbagliato. Here, in an alcoholically rigorous and anthropologically interesting setting, I first approached the world of cocktails, with an excellent swing or west coast soundtrack in the background, chosen by Maurizio, the son of Mirko who continues the family tradition.

1. to be continued



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