Food is a big part of the reason that many people choose to travel, and whether it is the snacks that are available from street vendors up to the best dishes that are produced by the best chefs in the country, the chance to enjoy a new cuisine is something to seize. Italy is a country that is rightfully proud of the food that is produced in the area, and this video offers a great insight into how a top chef in Milan goes about preparing his food. Milan is a very culturally unique area in terms of its cuisine, as it doesn't have the same Mediterranean emphasis on tomatoes and olive oil, but rather focuses on buttery and meat based dishes that make the most of the ingredients produced in Lombardy.
When most people think about the cuisine in the Milan area, the most common dish that comes to mind is the cotoletta alla milanese, which is a fried veal cutlet that has been breaded. Some of the local restaurants have also been preparing a slightly different version of the dish, where the bone is removed and the cutlet is tenderized until it is larger and thinner before it is fried. The other famous Milanese dish is risotto alla milanese, which is a version of risotto that is fantastic when it is well prepared, with Milan famous for the pinch of saffron which adds the flavor to the mix of rice, onion, chicken stock and butter.
Antipasto plays an important role in Milanese cuisine, as it does across the country, and while the famous risotto is one of the most popular starters, it certainly isn't the only one. One of the tasty dishes on offer is mondeghili, which is traditionally made with whatever meat is leftover from the previous day, which is then ground and blended with egg, garlic lemon zest and bread that has been soaked in milk, before being pan fried. Vegetable soup is also very popular in the area, although if you are vegetarian it is worth checking to make sure there is no bacon or pork rind added, as this is a common feature in this type of soup.
Cheese is a very big part of the Milanese diet, and after most meals there will be a range of cheeses, from famous Italian exports such as gorgonzola to the soft cheeses produced in the hills around Milan. Cheese is usually the final course of the meal, rather than the dessert, but there are a few specialties such as panettone which do grace the Milanese table from time to time. This sweet bread is traditionally eaten around the Christmas and New Year period, but will rarely be seen after February each year. The barbajada is another common conclusion to a meal, and is a blend of coffee, chocolate and milk served as a sweet frothy drink.
Although most people will usually understand Italian cuisine as it is seen on the Mediterranean coast, the chance to explore cuisine in Milan is certainly something to be taken as it is a very different, but equally interesting style of food. One of the best ways to explore a new cuisine is to try the street food, so if you don't get the chance to try any of the dishes above, panzerotti are another local specialty which are fritters stuffed with ham, cheese and vegetables. There are also some great food tours available in Milan, which will help to give you a wonderful idea about the cuisine of the area.