With over 20 international locations—including four in the US and another in the works—Eataly is a veritable playground for seasoned and aspiring home cooks. The empire’s most recent development, Eataly Boston, just opened its doors inside the Prudential Center, and the sprawling, 45,000-square-foot emporium boasts several ecosystems of food: a butcher shop, a chocolatier, a gelateria, a produce stand, and, of course, a cheese counter.
Local meats, cheeses, and produce shine alongside traditional Italian delicacies: balsamic vinegars, olive oils, and salamis. During his recent lecture at Harvard University, Mario Batali, a key Eataly collaborator, described it so: “Eataly is all about cooking at home. We’re about letting you taste it, and then we want to empower you.”
Turophiles, you should feel empowered—we’ve got the guide for all the must-hit lactic hotspots at Eataly Boston.
First, head to the Mozzarella Lab for dinner theater.
Here, you can watch the professionals stretch fresh mozzarella. The process takes time, so stop by early and then return for the full spectacle. Oh, and did we mention there are taste tests?
Hungry? Whet your appetite with a cheese plate and salumi in La Piazza.
This area is in the heart of Eataly Boston, aptly named as it’s reminiscent of an Italian city square. A single menu features the works of the three different kitchens (and one enoteca) that surround the space. Take a seat at a counter of La Cucina or Crudo di Mare and watch as your appetizers are pan-fried and plated. The breadth of formaggi offered here is a testament to Eataly’s commitment to both local and Italian traditions—find Gorgonzola Dolce and Arrigoni Taleggio alongside Calabro Hand-Dipped Ricotta and Westfield Farm’s goat cheeses.
For your primi piatti, veer left to La Pizza & La Pasta.
Eataly’s pizzas aren’t topped with any old mozzarella. True to historical tradition, they feature uber-rich Mozzarella di Bufala, named for it’s milk source: water buffalo. The pie’s crust has a delicate chew and soft center. If you’re a truffle lover, celebrate the fungi’s season with a white truffle cream and sweet sausage pizza. Room for more? The lasagna is made with fresh, fluffy noodles and enough bolognese to coat the layers.
Bring this Italian gastronomic utopia home, as Batali intended—at the cut-to-order cheese counter.
The counter is part of Salumi E Formaggi, situated next door to the Mozzarella Lab. The selection features a mix of carefully curated imports and local New England fare, like the rest of Eataly Boston’s wares. The mongers are eager to assist and tastes are not only welcome, they’re encouraged. In a hurry? Head to the Take Away area for grab-and-go cheeses.
Don’t leave without butter.
While most Americans equate Italian cuisine with olive oil, many Northern Italians enjoy butter as their luscious lipid of choice. Eataly’s selection is incomparable. Can’t pick one? Chat with your monger (right across the aisle) and give one a try.
And now, dessert.
Dairy fiends, you have two options: the cannoli cart or the gelateria. Feeling soft for the latter option? Authentic Sicilian cannoli abuts the Boylston Street entrance near the books, housewares, honeys, and jams set for browsing. Choose your own adventure with ricotta, chocolate, or candied fruit fillings, and each comes with two additional toppings. Craving something cold? Find the gelateria on the path to the Prudential Center entrance. Each flavor is made fresh daily with milk from Massachusetts’ High Lawn Farm, and many are paired with Italian ingredients such as hazelnuts from Piemonte and pistachios from Sicily.
Locales like Eataly Boston not only impress us with their swath of culinary options, but they also help us understand the value of quality and encourage us to be mindful of what we eat and where our food comes from—important notions, Batali argues:
“Every single decision you make in what you eat, how you eat, what you cook, and where you go and everything you do in the food world is political. Everything you do is informed by what you think it’s going to do to you, to your family and friends that you’re serving . . . and to the world. I beseech you, I urge you to think about that”
Photo Credit: Ryan Kaminski-Killiany