Our Category Managers and I spend many days throughout the year travelling to various food trade shows, and little villages to bring you the most unique eats. When these travels take us to Italy, I like to treat the team to a picnic full of local delicacies. While picnicking isn't a major pastime in Italy as most take to the many restaurant patios or escape to the nearest beach, in Milan, that's a different story. Keep reading to discover how the Milanese like to picnic and how you can recreate an Italian picnic of your own thanks to our list of gourmet eats and local parks.
Where to go
The lush and peaceful Parco Sempione located in the northeast corner of the city provides a quick escape from the hustle and bustle. There is plenty to see and do, like the Central Park of Milan, there are outdoor theatres, children play areas, bocce courts and plenty more. The Castello Sforzesco is a must-see for first-timers, a former stronghold of the city has now become a public museum with an extensive art collection including some of Michaelangelo's unfinished work and frescos by Da Vinci. Don't miss walking through the magnificent Arco Della Pace, built by Napoleon, which acted as the entranceway to the city.
If you're staying in Toronto this summer, I've got a list of parks in the GTA where you can recreate your own Italian inspired picnic.
What to bring
First, the drinks. Set the mood with a well-aged bottle of wine if you're feeling fancy and refined or choose from the many local beers. Fresh Italian sodas with light fruit flavours are a relief from the summer heat. Of course, create it at home with our Italian inspired outdoor entertaining picks.
How to snack
For light snacks wander through the many street market stalls to pick some fresh fruit like peaches, apricots, watermelon and even coconuts. Panini should be the main course made with the freshest local ingredients, as Italy is well known for farm-to-table foods.
The Emilia-Romagna traditional piadine are a perfect alternative to the bread-heavy panini. These flatbreads come stuffed with ricotta, prosciutto, veggies and more. The park is adorned with a number of food trucks, restaurants and little stalls should you need to add drinks or more to your picnic basket or if others decide to join you.
Where you're travelling to Castello Sforzesco or your cottage, you'll want to make sure your food gets there with minimal mess. It's why I've put together some helpful tips for packing for your picnic.
I'd love to see how you’re picnicking this summer, even if it's in Milan. Just tag Pusateri's on your Instagram or Facebook photo, and I might even share it with our followers.