Italy Is Eataly
Written by Jaillan Yehia
What’s in a name? Well as it turns out rather a lot. The right name can really take you places and be the catalyst for a whole lot of income. A culinary example of how to turn a clever moniker into cold hard cash is high-class, high-concept and rather high-cost Italian deli-come-eatery chain Eataly, which I tried out recently in the city of Genoa – and which I continue to salivate over to this day.
In TV land the cleverly-named property show Location, Location, Location was recently adapted to become Vacation, Vacation, Vacation thus allowing its real-estate-expert presenters to become overpaid and under-qualified travel gurus at the drop of a consonant. Similarly the success of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding gave a license to print money to any idea capable of riding on its coat-tails by featuring the phrase ‘My Big Fat Something’.
The signature slogan of Eataly – ‘Italy is Eataly’ cleverly taps into the world’s shared belief (and the Italians’ absolute certainty) that Bella Italia is synonymous with stuffing your face with fabulous food. And so it is.
Luckily for this Italian food mecca which is two parts grocery-style food hall to one part sit-down-and-chow-down food court, the name is so whimsical and friendly, and the produce so alluring that by the time you realise that you’ve basically been mugged it’s too late to do anything about it. Yes if Wholefoods goes by the nickname of Whole Paycheck, one glance at my credit card bill after a visit to Eataly made me wish I’d paid more attention to the tally part and less to the eating.
Maybe I’m behind the curve to have only just discovered the joys of Eataly on a recent trip to Genoa. Having spied a woman on the street with the store’s own brand cotton bag, I wondered where I could get one for myself. The very next day I was being carried up into the skies above Genoa’s dockside at a vantage point known as the Bigo when I came face to face with place I’d been searching for, and as soon as my feet hit the ground again I was inside like a shot to give the place a go for lunch.
Meals and snacks are served canteen style in designated areas around the store. A fish section, a pizza/pasta bar, a cured meats station, that kind of thing. I must have enjoyed my lunch despite the rather high price tag because I was back for more the very next day.
I also enjoyed the experience of shopping for delicious groceries – sighing at the bread selection, salivating over the chocolates and signing my first born’s future dowry away for a small bag of handmade pasta, pesto and some posh yogurt that came in a glass jar (it was actually the tastiest yogurt I have ever had and I was still spooning it into my mouth at the very last second before boarding the plane home.)
If you like Wholefoods, department store food halls, farmer’s markets and delis this place will be right up your street, as it was mine. It turns out that its right up a lot of other people’s streets too – literally – with no fewer than 9 branches in the Italian motherland, a further 9 in the Greater Toyko area of Japan and a well-known and well-publicised outpost in New York city.
Now if only they could make a fly on the wall documentary about it called My Big Fat Italian Deli they could be onto a real money-spinner.
Savoir There was a guest of the Melia Genoa[wpdreams_rpp id=0]
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