Last week I was home for a few days, and while enjoying some days off, I had the opportunity to visit the local food market situated in my new neighborhood, somewhere between S.O.S. (also known as South of Sesto) and NoLo Milano (or: North of Loreto). Yes, Milano wants to be the new New York, trendy coffeebars are opening, cupcakes can be bought on the corner of (almost) every street and people are eating more and more healthy. But one thing lacks: farmers' markets.
While the Italians have a relatively close relation with their countryside and those working the fields (until 50 years ago, every italian had at least one relative working as a farmer), today they are consuming more and more convenient food, coming directly from the supermarket. It's a pity because quality is often low (many products are imported) and prices aren't competitive with produce available on the weekly (neighborhood) markets. So where do they better go shopping?
To start with: each zone has a mercato comunale, open six days a week. This covered market is something between a supermarket and a market stall, with the advantage that is is covered and prices are low. However the markets might overcome a bit outdated (they don't have the character of the markets you find in Spain) and they aren't always worth a detour.
There is however one exception. Or maybe some. For example the Mercato del Suffragio. This place is recently renovated and now sells bread and pizza's from Davide Longoni, fruit, veggies and fresh dishes from Fresco and Buono, fish from Schooner and icecream from cool gelateria. You can sit down here for breakfast, lunch or dinner or just do some shopping and bring your delicacies home.
A similar project but more bottom-up, can be found in the Mercato Lorenteggio, in a neighborhood in the southwestern part of the city.
For the real market experience, check-out the map with the mercati settimanali (weekly markets) that can be found in each of the Milanese neighborhoods. Last week I went to the one near Turro: the market isn't too big, but has lots of cheap produce to offer. For more 'delicate' markets, visit the one in Via Ampere (Città Studi, close to metrostops Loreto and Piola, and perfect for a coffeebreak at Upcycle) on Thursday or, at the same day, the market in Piazza San Marco (Brera), that has high-quality products.
What about the farmers markets then? Honestly they do exists, but they are less frequent that I believe they should be. The real farmers' market in Milano doesn't exist, but if you want to buy directly from the farmer, go to the Mercato agricolo di Cascina Cuccagna (each Tuesday afternoon) organized in collaboration with Cibo Prossimo, popogusto held twice a month in the Chiostri dell'Umanitaria. And if your in the 'wrong' weekend, go to the Mercato della Terra, organized by Slow Food Milano which stands at the Fabbrica del Vapore. Here they also provide tables which allow you to directly enjoy your food.
Want to go on a market tour through Milan with Food in the Streets? Contact me and I prepare you a tour!
Ps. Check-out also this weeks facebook series on food deliveries in Milan