Friday 26 September | 2014
At first glance, Piazza Duomo looks like it might be the crossroads to another world, some kind of fantastical land we know from movies like the Neverending Story. It is the pillars, the arches, the entranceways, the grand piazza and its many square markings, the magnificent Duomo di Milano, and all the gargoyles peering down, that announce you have reached a significant destination. Shopaholics would agree – these are in fact the gates to fashion paradise.
And for the foodies, it is the home of Princi.
Oh principessa: at first it was a fleeting compliment, and then an affectionate nickname. With time it became a loving title, said so often that it was best abbreviated to the simple and sweet Princi. This delicious foodstore is really a classic Italian love story, condensed into two captivating chapters: Princi Bakery, and Princi Coffee.
Oh no, which ones to choose? We decided on naughty and nice: the raspberry and chocolate mini crostata (€3.50), and the pasticcio di mele (€3.50). Both chocolate and apricot fans have plenty to celebrate here at Princi, and the royal feast continues with plum cake, almond cake, muffins, tiramisu, croissants, brioche and a whole range of dessert-like monoporzione.
The mini crostata pastry is loaded with dark chocolate, making it less like a pie crust and more like a deluxe chocolate cookie, that is smothered with bold raspberry jam. The pasticcio di mele is heavy with real apple chunks, suspended in just enough soft butter cake to carry them off. Even half of one of these tarts would be satisfying, but then again, nobody should do things by halves.
It is almost unfair that Italian food tastes so good despite using so few ingredients. Exhibit A: the pizza Margherita (€3.50), with its sky high fluffy dough, rich tomato sauce, milky mozzarella and aromatic dried oregano. Scrumptious proof that Italian pizzas are not always thin, dried oregano always trumps fresh, and real mozzarella is very much white!
If simplicity doesn’t work for you, there are also pizzas decked with tuna and rocket, zucchini and parmesan, fresh tomato, ham, mixed vegetables, artichoke, and four different cheeses. They are the ultimate takeout food, especially if you have one of those well dressed Italians ready to whisk you away on a scooter outside.
Pizza, cakes and coffee fit for royalty on the run.