Destination: Milan, Italy
Mode of Transport: Cotoletta Alla Milanese
On the Fourth of July this past Friday, our country, America, commemorated its Independence. My daughter and I celebrated by taking a flight to Italy for our summer holiday! Our first stop was Milano
Since I spent 20 years in the fashion business and mostly worked for Italian luxury houses, I thought it was important for Bailey to see this town. The last time I was here was in January of 2000.
My husband was in Milan for business with the house of Valentino. It was also around my 30th birthday, so he had decided to treat me to a trip around Italy’s important cities. I met him in Milan during the end of his work stint.
The first time I had Cotoletta Alla Milanese in Milan
We stayed at a hotel named Antica Locanda Solferino. The hotel also had a restaurant around the corner, also named Solferino. This was the first time I had had a Cotoletta alla Milanese, which is a veal chop with the bone from the rib, breaded and then fried in clarified butter.
I know that this dish is quite common in New York now, but at the time, it was such a discovery for me. I had never had anything like it before – it was thin, breaded, but very delicate.
Of course, the first dish I wanted to eat 14 years later, was the Cotoletta. B and I checked into the Hotel Gran Duca di York just in time for dinner on the fifth of July. We showered, changed and headed to the concierge desk to ask where we should eat Milanese specialties.
Kenneth, our concierge, suggested we go to Hostaria Borromei, just around the corner. He made a reservation for us, but unfortunately, they only had a table inside and not in their lovely garden. B and I didn’t care; we were famished.
They sat us next to the garden, so we could feel like a part of the action. The hostess served me a complimentary prosecco (Italian sparkling wine), which was a great welcoming surprise. I’m not sure if she serves this to everyone, or if it was because we couldn’t get a table in the garden – regardless, it was very nice of her.
I, of course, ordered the Cotoletta alla Milanese for my dish, along with the house red wine – which was delicious. It’s nice to have a good glass of wine that doesn’t cost $12 a glass, like back home in NYC.
The cutlet was just as I remembered 14 years ago, the only difference being that it did not have sauce already on it, nor was it accompanied by a salad. Instead, it was served with fried potatoes. B liked it very much too, and had a few bites.
The next night, I again had a Cotoletta alla Milanese – because you never know when you’ll be back in Milan again – at another restaurant that our concierge Matteo suggested, Ristorante Convivium. The atmosphere here was very modern and fancy – a contrast to Hostaria Borromei, which was very traditional. However, the dishes and prices were very similar.
The Cotoletta was also good, but served with fried potatoes. Many of the locals eating at both restaurants also ordered the Cotoletta, so it made me feel really Italian.
Andrew and I discussed the reasons for the Milanese making this dish their traditional recipe, and we concluded that because they were part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, this dish is a cousin to the Wienerschnitzel. After looking it up on Milan’s tourism website, our hunch was right.
Apparently the Milanese believe they gave the Austrians this dish, but the Austrians believe it was the other way around. This dish was mentioned in a Milanese document from the year 1148, and it was called lumbulus con panitio (breaded veal loins) – a very old dish and very traditional to the town of Milan.
Another observation I had of Milan was that they were not as World Cup-crazy as they were when I was here in 2006. Perhaps it’s because they didn’t make it past the first round? Or it may have just been because Milan is such a serious business town? I’m not sure. I did, however, see lots of World Cup paraphernalia, even plastered right on the face of the city’s famous cathedral, il Duomo di Milano.
Next time, when I’m home and I see Cotoletta alla Milanese, I will have to order it, so I can transport myself back to Milan with a dish. Or maybe I’ll have to make it myself.
Have you had the Cotoletta alla Milanese? Did you have it in Milan? Perhaps somewhere else in the Lombardy region? If not, will you be trying it the next time you’re in Milan? Please let me know in the comments.
If you liked this dish, please share it with your friends, I would really appreciate it. Remember – let’s travel the world, one dish at a time!