Expo Milan 2015

My apologies for the lack of posts lately, but my dad is in town this week (yay!) so things have been a bit busy. His trips to Rome usually consist of (many) great meals out, visits to various museums and exhibits, and overall a lot of hanging out and catching up. This time around, we decided to switch things up and spend a weekend in Milan for the Expo. For those of you who aren't so familiar with the Expo, here's a little summary: Expo Milano 2015 is the Universal Exhibition hosted in Milan, Italy, that opened in May and just came to close this past week. The theme of this Expo is food, or more specifically "being able to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the Planet and its equilibrium." The 140 participating countries had their own pavilions which focused on how to meet this need. In addition, the pavilions also gave everyone an opportunity to explore their countries best gastronomic traditions (a foodie's delight).

Initially, we had our doubts about going to the Expo. We'd heard beforehand that the lines at certain pavilions were ridiculously long and that the event was beyond crowded, but we decided to give it a shot for my grandfather who attended the World's Fair in NYC back in 1939 and was interested to know what this most recent Expo was like. The verdict? The rumors were true. The expo was absolutely PACKED -- 7 hour wait for the Japanese pavilion alone! -- and  were only able to see the actual inside of very few pavilions. We did manage, however, to turn the Expo into a food festival (shocking, I know) skipping the long pavilion lines and opting for shorter queues at the little stands and restaurants set up for some of the countries (it's always a treat to eat non-Italian food every once in a while). We sampled Ethiopian, Mexican, Iranian, Dutch, and Turkish food, as well as hot chocolate, gelato, and Franciacorta wine  from Italy. 

Expo aside, we also had a great meal in Milan on Sundaybefore leaving, at Ratanà, not far from the main train station, Milano Centrale. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone going to Milan -- many of the dishes used seasonal ingredients and all were quite creative.We ordered tagliolini with tomatoes; pumpkin and apple risotto; roasted figs with ricotta (something I have to try and make at home!); as well as a chocolate cake with chocolate cream  (swoon) plus dessert wine and cookies. So, enough writing, I'll leave you now with the photos from our weekend -- we'll have a few new recipes for your next week!

At the entrance to the Expo, in front of a statue of what looks to be a carb king (our favorite, obviously)
Dad in front of the statue representing wine (his favorite!)
Dad and Allie sampling some milk and white hot chocolate to start off the day at the Expo (ignore my finger in the way)
Spicy chicken, beef, and njera (bread) from Ethiopia
Bittenballen and fries from Holland
Various teas from Iran
Desserts and cinnamon tea from Iran
Tacos al pastor in Mexico
More Tacos al pastor!
Roasted lamb, vegetables, and rice from Turkey

Bolivian pavilion!
Iranian pavilion!
Iranian pavilion, inside -- a presentation on pistachios and saffron
Israeli pavilion
Mexican pavilion
Rwandan pavilion (photo especially for my friend Pierre from Rwanda!)
U.S.A pavilion
U.S.A pavilion, continued

U.S.A pavilion, inside -- note Rhode Island!
Me and my sister with our region of the U.S

U.S.A pavilion, continued
Food stand at the U.S.A pavilion -- burgers, barbecue, and lobster role on the menu, along with chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and apple pie

And some photos from our amazing lunch at Ratanà...

                                  Roasted figs with ricotta
Fresh taglioni with 3 tomato sauce
 Pumpkin and apple risotto 
Chocolate cake with chocolate cream

Dessert wine and cookies

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