Saturday, January 8, 2011

Milan, Italy - Pasticceria Bastianello

There is a certain regal elegance to the cafes in Europe that just does not seem to be emulated here in the States.  Italian cafes and pasticcerie (bakeries) conjure up images of elbows resting on marble countertops, waiters and bar staff in pressed tuxedos, gleaming steel espresso machines, beautifully displayed pastry cases with handmade confections, monogrammed fine china, and exquisitely wrapped packages.

My favorite pasticceria in Milan that embodies all of these elements is the Pasticceria Bastianello on Via Borgogna, 5. Bastianello, located in the heart of the city, is well known all over Milan. When you walk into Bastianello, you will notice that with each new season or holiday, they feature different pastries that are beautifully displayed and certainly consumed first by the eyes. When I was there in November, they had these gorgeous mini hazelnut and chocolate cakes with dusted cocoa squirrels on top:

I returned in December to find rows of traditional Christmas pandoro and panettone cakes, as well as a nativity scene that was entirely hand carved out of one massive block of chocolate with a not surprising price tag, given the amount of labor, of well over €1,000.

Bastianello also serves breakfast, lunch and evening aperitifs at a handful of outside tables, that are covered and heated during the winter months as well. If you go up to the bar in the early evening and order a cocktail, you will find that the entire bar is heaped with olives, potato chips, finger sandwiches, tiny pizzas, cheese, prosciutto and other snacks that are all at your disposal free of charge with your drink order. You could fill yourself up here and never need dinner!

Bastianello reminds me of the old european sophistication once associated with going out to take a proper cup of coffee in the morning, and makes standing in line at the local Starbucks seem downright uncivilized. I make a special note to stop here at least once or twice every time I am in Milan. Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment