Just because the grand opening of Eataly was way back in 2013 does not mean Eataly went away. Actually, now that the hoopla has died down it’s a perfect time to go to the Italian food and drink superstore.
Be sure you have a lot of time to kill if you find produce, wine, beer, salumi, cheese, spices, or anything else food related fascinating in the least because there is a lot to see. Just when you feel a bit overwhelmed, head upstairs to the northeast corner for an espresso.
Forgot your compass? Phone not properly calibrated? Not to worry, the huge Elektra espresso machine cannot be missed. See that gleaming dome with a chrome eagle perched atop? You’re in the right place.
Since Eataly is a little piece of Italy in River North, do not expect to see any chairs in the espresso bar. In the Italian tradition, espresso is to be drunk nearly as fast as it is prepared. No time for sitting; no need to sit. A proper shot of espresso should be consumed whilst on your feet, perhaps leaning on the bar near that gorgeous espresso machine. Or, if you’re worried the machine will take the attention away from you, sidle over to one of the marble topped, bar height tables with espresso shot in hand.
You’ll be drinking Caffè Vergnano coffee in that tiny cup. Sorry, demitasse. Of course it’s an Italian brand. The Italians figured out pretty early (16th century) that the people of northern Africa and the Middle East had something not only tasty but stimulating in coffee, and began trading in the beans. So the Italians have been doing it a while.
The Vergnano family wasn’t there quite at the beginning, but they have been in the coffee business since the late 19th century, 1882, and they seem to have figured out how to source, roast, and blend Arabica beans to produce the best espresso.
I was invited to taste Caffè Vergnano espresso at Eataly and they were able to accommodate me despite my extremely low tolerance to caffeine. I was provided with a decaf espresso made via pod. (Pods stay fresh longer than loose beans – necessary for the more unpopular, i.e, decaffeinated, types of beans/grounds offered.) Very cliché: the shot tasted chocolatey and also sweet. I’m not a regular coffee drinker, but I may be in the future if all coffee tastes as good as Caffè Vergnano.
True to Eataly’s philosophy, anything one can have prepared on premises, one can buy the ingredients to make at home. That means Caffè Vergnano beans, grounds, pods, and capsules (compatible with a number of other available home coffee machines) can be purchased for home use on the premises.
Eataly hasn’t gone away just because the grand opening was last year; there is so much to see, taste, and buy. Even if you’re not into having fun window shopping for kitchen gadgets, foods, and ingredients, Caffè Vergnano espresso is a great reason to go to Eataly.