Ragazzi, I have been betrayed.
Michele knew all about this place for a good few months before telling me.
(No I'm not one of those super cool people that assimilates this kind of information simply by tasting the air, I need to be told).
It's kind of like a food festival. Except it's not a one-weekend-only kind of affair (thank God!)
Think hoards of tables crammed between street food stalls and a big old warehouse full of different counters, one for each of your favourite foods... bread, pasta, cake, cheese... you get the picture. Throw in some food trucks and a load of likeminded souls and you have found yourself in paradise my friends.
Meet the Mercato Metropolitano, your number one reason to visit Milan.
(Ok maybe that's a slight exaggeration but still, it's GOOD.)
We arrived at 7:30pm on a pleasant summers evening.
It turned out to be perfect timing as we managed to get our first orders in before the crowds descended (and trust me, the crowds really do descend!)
If you're planning on going, have a light lunch so you can get there early, you'll thank me later!
Inside the main warehouse is a series of food counters, a little like the supermarket of your dreams. You can walk along, looking at the menus, deciding what to have (a bit of everything if you're as greedy as me) or you can head outside to the street food section to sit on crates and cushions made of sacks whilst choosing from an even wider array of food.
We stuck to the main shed this time and I really don't think I'd have coped if we'd also looked at the street food section before ordering. After being a pescatarian for 13 years, I find having more than one option on the menu to be horrendously overwhelming. Having to choose between counters and then again from their various offerings was like Sophie's choice.
In the end I was seduced by the pasta menu.
Plin pasta filled with cheese with caramelised pears and lavender and lime butter? It's something the Mad Hatter would have served at his tea party! I didn't particularly fancy it but it was so absurd sounding I just had to have it.
Luckily, it was absolutely divine. The salty cheese married the caramelised pears in harmony whilst the lavender and lime butter subtly blessed the holy union with a kiss of fragrant flavour. (I really enjoyed it, is what I'm trying to say).
I also had a salad plate from the salad stand (and asked them to fill my plate with random stuff so I have no idea what I ate but it was beautifully colourful) and a big wedge of pizza with buffalo mozzarella on - paradise.
My only complaint would be that too many people know of this delectable culinary heaven and as such it got rather busy later on. I got my pasta without too much trouble but by the time I came to pick up my 2nd and 3rd courses, I had to wait a little longer.
How dare all those other people try and get a slice of the action too! (And I've just spotted the expression of the little girl in ^ that photo, she was obviously loving it as much as I did!)
On the other hand, the people make the atmosphere and it feels like one great big party. So get there early, stuff your face to your heart's desire and then sit back and soak it up with a nice refreshing pint.
After stuffing our faces (well, after I had stuffed mine at least) we went to check out the street food section which also looked awesome.
Despite feeling full to bursting, I grabbed a cannolo from Ape Panelle because... well, who can really resist a cannolo regardless of how full they are?!
It was lovely and fresh (never buy a cannolo if it's already been made-up, they should be doing it right there in front of you - I made the mistake of buying a pre-made one and the cone was all soggy, such a tragedy).
After we took a slow passeggiata to the end of the market where there's an open air cinema for the summer, before slowly meandering back to the entrance.
Guys, it's an absolutely amazing place and I couldn't recommend a trip enough. For those of you not living in Italy, get on a plane now, quit your jobs - this is what life is all about.
Food, laughter, wine, summer air.
I couldn't ask for more right now.