Un posto a Milano is a modern restaurant, located in a historic farmstead called Cascina Cuccagna in the south-east of the city center. It was launched in 2012 by the cultural enterprise, esterni, during Salone Del Mobile, Milan’s renowned Design Week. Esterni, also known for the Milan Film Festival, has managed to create a place that combines the traditional, rural Milan with the modernity of the city. The restaurant’s head chef is Nicola Cavallaro, one of Italy´s greatest culinary artistes. We met up with communications manager Maddalena Limonta to talk about the characteristics of the restaurant.
"We guarantee a short supply chain and above all,
a raw material traceability."
Tell us about this place.
Maddalena: Cascina Cuccagna is a 17th century farmhouse in the heart of Milan, surrounded by fruit trees, home-grown herbs, vegetables and a local farmers’ market that takes place every Tuesday. It has been transformed into a public space, dedicated to cultural and social activities that are related to the development of sustainable lifestyles, food issues, ethical production, consumption, reuse, and recycling. It´s home to the restaurant Un posto a Milano – a meeting point for small agricultural producers from all over Italy, who perform ongoing research to improve the quality of our lives.
What is the restaurant’s philosophy?
Maddalena: Un posto a Milano works exclusively with small- and medium-sized farms from all over Italy. We guarantee a short supply chain and above all, a raw material traceability – our highest goal. We want to inform our guests about the origin and production of the individual products to provide full transparency on the one hand, and to build a bridge between the producers and consumers on the other.
How is this achieved?
Maddalena: Every dish on the menu contains information about the supplier, the region and the processing. Occasionally, we add short stories about specific farms to give an inside view of their work, for example on Il Boscasso, a small goats’ cheese farm in the region of Lombardy, which directly controls the whole production chain: from harvesting the hay and breeding the goats to making and selling the cheeses. You´d be surprised about how this kind of information can change people’s perspectives.
What do you mean?
Maddalena: It´s a question of appreciation. The more we know about the food that we eat, about the origin, the processing and the people behind it, the more we appreciate it. This leads to a more conscious consumption and can also have a positive effect on how much we´re willing to pay for food.
"We know exactly where the raw materials come from
and how they are produced, and can therefore offer a consistent quality to our dishes."
"Our menu, which changes every second month,
always reflects the freshest produce in season."
Your concept is based on direct trade. What does it mean?
Maddalena: It means that we receive all the products that we work with directly from our local partners, without falling back on any middlemen. Through regular contact with the suppliers and by sharing the same philosophy, we have built, over the past few years, working relationships based on mutual confidence. We know exactly where the raw materials come from and how they are produced, and can therefore offer a consistent quality to our dishes.
You´re working with products that have a sustainable background. Tell us more about it.
Maddalena: We select raw materials from more than 100 small- and medium-sized farms, of which some are organic, others biodynamic. Many of them are family-run and have a deep bond with their area, which they continue to preserve through ethical and sustainable methods of production. Our menu, which changes every second month, always reflects the freshest produce in season. Working with local and seasonal products is more environmentally friendly and the produce is more likely to be fresher, as well as being higher in nutritional value and taste.
How would you describe the kitchen of Un posto a Milano?
Maddalena: Our menu is traditional Italian, with a focus on high-quality raw materials, prepared in a simple but creative way. We serve fresh artisanal pasta, pizza and focaccia and a range of traditional meat, fish and vegetable dishes. Guests can ask for vegan options and discuss with the kitchen staff about any particular allergies or intolerances. Based on raw material seasonality, our menu changes depending on nature´s and on our producer´s availability.
Un posto a Milano
Via Cuccagna 2
Open daily from 10 am till 1 am. Closed on Mondays.
For reservations, special events and further info visit the Un posto a Milano website .
And for more FOOD stories from Italy, see our other stories from the country .
Photos: THE FRANK STORY