eataly : trieste

I’ve always been a little bit sniffy about a place called Eataly, located on the harbour front in Trieste. I thought it might be a gimmicky – and why would you choose to shop and eat in a huge converted warehouse, when you were actually right in the centre of Trieste, with all of its fabulous restaurants and independent food and wine shops? So, we’ve always just driven past, often saying one day we’d visit, but never actually getting around to it. Until now. Over Easter, our family came to visit and they love all things Trieste, so it was only a matter of time before they investigated Eataly – and they came back with a very, very favourable impression of this very iconic Italian temple of food and drink.

The first Eataly opened in 2007 when Italian businessman Oscar Farinetti oversaw the conversion of a closed vermouth factory in the Lingotto district of Turin. The “chain” has gone from strength to strength, with more locations open across Italy, Europe, the US and the Far East. The concept behind Eataly, was to create much more than a store. It was to be a market, a school, a place to gather with friends and eat, and a place to learn about food. In 1889, activist Carlo Petrini founded the Slow Food Movement, to counteract the increasing consumption of fast food across Italy, and today, Eataly works with this movement. Adopting the Slow Food ethos, Eataly supports small scale producers, guaranteeing their products are “good, clean and fair” and striving to sell only the highest quality Italian produce.

Eataly Trieste is housed in the Capannone delle Vasche (Tub Warehouse) which was built in 1902 to store the wine barrels arriving from Istria and Dalmatia, a building which has a remarkable store of records that testify to Trieste’s importance as a trading hub. Once close up to this building, now all corton steel, milky Istrian stone and glass, you do get to see it’s definitely more than just a warehouse. Sympathetically restored – the fact that it still does look like the original warehouse – but very definitely modern, it’s an amazing restoration, inside and out. And the fact that the front of the building, where the restaurants are situated, feel as if they are almost in the sea, because of the glass windows, just adds to how beautiful it actually is.

Inside is an absolute foodie’s paradise, with lots of different traders – meats, cheese, bread, olive oil, fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products, wines, beers, pasta of every variety, chocolates, fresh pizzas. The list is endless. You will see artisans making fresh bread and pasta and pizzas. Master butchers and fishmongers, who will take the time to explain cuts of meat and fish varieties – when we there, a butcher took a customer (who I think was Slovenian) through the huge choice of meats from the Firenze region. And that’s before you explore the homewares section, which is utterly exquisite and where you could easily put a large dent in your bank balance. If all of the retail therapy starts to make your tastebuds tingle, there are four restaurants to choose from, with vantage points overlooking the Adriatic port – Pizza & Cucina, La Piazza, the Dehors of Eataly and La Barcaccia which await you every day to taste the great classics of Italian cuisine, cooked to perfection and with the best raw materials.

It’s the definitely kind of place where you could while away a couple of hours, stocking up on exquisite produce and finishing it all off with an Aperol and an Italian beer, overlooking the water…

When we visited Copenhagen, we were pretty blown away by the food market hall, Torvehallerne, and we are now super delighted that we have finally set foot inside Eataly and discovered that this it is very similar, but almost on our doorstep. We’ll have to make sure we can squeeze in a few more treat visits before we set off on our big new adventure.

Eataly is located at Riva Tommaso Gulli 1, 34123 Trieste (almost opposite Piazza Unit√† d’Italia) and is open Monday – Sunday 9am – 9pm.

Published on 15th May 2024