Anna Prandoni’s Beloved Places in Milan
I met Anna Prandoni behind a desk. That day, it was hot in Milan and I was super nervous: I wanted to impress her and, in a way, leave a positive impression on her. At the time, she was the director of La Cucina Italiana. A woman journalist at the helm of a magazine that was part of Italian publishing history. A dream, really. I returned home hopeful, with the memory of her decisiveness and above all, her kindness. Since, Anna has been named Director of the Gualtiero Marchesi Academy. In addition to her commitments with the Academy, she is also kept busy by Milano Secrets, a blog she founded in 2011 and that I have been following since the very beginning. Today, she shares some of her beloved places in Milan with us, from “important” restaurants and simple yet charming places to where to go to get pampered!
For years, you followed thousands of recipes that ended up in Italian households: where do you go grocery shopping in Milan?
I don’t live in Milan, therefore I experience this city more as a commuter and almost never do my grocery shopping here. However, if I am looking for something particular and hard to find, I head to this store that I absolutely love in corso XXII Marzo, which sells Italian and foreign specialties and where one can find absolutely anything. It is a continuous source of inspiration! The name is “Surgelati dal mondo”, which roughly translates to “Frozen Foods from the World”, and, although the name isn’t that inspiring, it is the place to go when on the hunt for something exotic and impossible to find elsewhere.
First La Cucina Italiana, now Gualtiero Marchesi… “institutional” cuisine is no mystery for you. What are some of the “important” restaurants of Milan that you enjoy most?
Marchesi, first and foremost. Clean shapes and substance of a remarkable simplicity, but with an incredible depth of inspiration. And then Carlo Cracco, whom I’ve known for over 15 years and who always amazes me with creativity and taste.
Any more “casual” ones, but that are still really good?
Right now, I am all about Trippa, which offers very pleasant service and dishes that are simple yet prepared with care and utterly delicious. I also really enjoy Spazio, which offers basic cuisine served with an impact, and I love dining at one of the reserved and elegant tables at Bugandè on the Navigli.
You have an entire day to yourself and you deserve some pampering: what is your “gourmet itinerary”?
The 5 Vie is a corner that I really enjoy, where one can wander about in search for something specific or simply to breathe an air that is a little ‘fané. Here, I cannot not stop and take a crunchy and delicious bite of the mille-feuille at Patisserie des reves, or let myself succumb to the charm of a Sicilian cannolo from Ammu. And while I’m at it, I continue over to Sugar in via Vincenzo Monti, where I enjoy a nice tea with one of their delicious little sweets. In fact, I often head there for breakfast because their brioche mignon is a true sweet delicacy.
Your favourite neighbourhood?
Isola is a special place, where I go when I want to discover new trends and if I am on the lookout for an out of the ordinary purchase. For example, it is impossible to leave Simona Colombini’s lab without a special gift of some sort, and the same is true for Offfi, where Mario spoils me with unique floral creations.
Breakfast is serious business: where to head in a rush?
As I was mentioning, the brioche mignon from Sugar is quite the sweet temptation, but I also enjoy taking my time on the comfortable armchairs at Pavé. And if I really want an indulgent breakfast, I go for the lemon meringue pie from Bioesserì in Brera. A dreamy combination of smooth sour cream and a wonderful pastry shell. For really busy days, the mont blanc from Panzera proposes a concentration of energy and goodness. To enjoy in moderation!
Lunch between two appointments?
Lately, we’ve been enjoying going to Milano Amore Mio, but also to the Mercato del Suffragio, where the pizza and focaccia prepared by Davide Longoni are a dream to bite into and taste, without hesitation. When I worked near Cadorna, I often went to Chiù, if only to admire and smell all the wonderful products on display.
Let’s go to dinner: Where do you make a reservation?
Right now, at Spazio, if there happens to be any place. The view is breathtaking, the dishes are delicious, the price-quality ratio is excellent and the service is courteous.
A place of the soul, where you go when you’re searching for an answer or for some inspiration?
I wander among the trees of Via Vincenzo Monti, and I look at the historic buildings, the doors. I glance at the windows and try to imagine who lives there. While I’m there, I do a bit of shopping in the stores located on that street, where you are guaranteed to find nice things.
On your blog Milano Secrets, you also talk about fashion: what are your favourite stores in the city?
Memen in via Savona has always been one of my absolute favourites, and as soon as I can, I go have a look at their new arrivals. I also love wandering around and getting lost in Cristina’s sitting room/atelier, Dressai, where I always discover something new and unusual to complete my wardrobe. If I am on the lookout for a gift to myself in the jewelry department, I head straight away to Benbar: there’s always something unique made just for me!
A secret place?
It’s a secret, therefore I can’t reveal it! Fine, here’s a hint: it’s a store where they sell tea (one of my passions!) in the Porta Venezia area, where I go when I want to feel like I am at my mom’s house. My tea mom’s name is Barbara, and from her tin cans emanate perfumed wonders that are good for your heart and soul. Ok, I’ll tell you: it’s La teiera eclettica.
Your advice for a romantic dinner?
For a romantic evening, I head to Innocenti Evasioni by chefs Eros and Tommaso, which remains one of my favourite places. The little garden and the dining room with candles and large tables create the perfect setting for a romantic dinner for two.
A trip outside the city to relax?
I love staying around my area and discovering what beautiful things the suburbs have to offer. My key places are Miele, in Legnano, a treasure of a store where Simona choses beautiful pieces and mixes them with her unique savoir faire. Then, there is the Valigeria Ambrosetti in Varese, where two young and energetic men are changing the face of trade, using social networks to promote their family business. Here, there is room only for creativity and pleasant conversations. Heading a bit towards the lake you approach Ranco, a paradise of calmness and tranquility, where one goes to get pampered by Cristina and Davide at their restaurant and hotel “Sole”: a fresh dose of well-being to try at least once, preferably in the spring.
You’re very active on social media. What are five “foodie” accounts to follow?
On Instagram, Mimi Thorisson and Soup Opera. On Twitter, Farmacia Serra which has forever been the source for great tips on healthy eating and living, and the Guardian’s food writer Felicity Cloake. On Facebook, my friend Francesca Mezzadri, who writes about food and cuisine in an enchanting way.
Read the original article on Conosco un Posto. This English version was translated by Kelsey Rivett.