Neighborhood cuisine in a covered market in Milan. Made in Corvetto, born on the southern outskirts of the city, it is this and much more
In Milan, in a suburban covered market, has found space a small neighborhood kitchen. To manage it are Erik and Fabio, two boys born and raised in the crowded streets of public housing, who together have decided to marry the project and embark on this "new challenge". In a historical moment in which the word "market" has taken on a strong evocative power and some of these are experiencing radical transformations, becoming powerful tourist attraction poles, to Corvetto, far south of the city, has left an "alternative" relaunch of the historic market in Piazzale Ferrara. An operation born thanks to the synergy between different actors, some local other citizens, from the Municipality of Milan and up to the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies of the Polytechnic of Milan. This is how the inauguration of Made in Corvetto, the first community point of Lacittàintorno, a culturally based urban regeneration program in which Cariplo Foundation has already invested 10 million euros.
Covered market, the bet is on the hybrid model
A relaunch that rests on its theoretical and practical foundations not on the simple protagonism of food, but on a hybrid market model – initially experimented at Mercato Lorenteggio – where commercial functions coexist with cultural activities and other types of services. A model that aims to bring back i covered markets public spaces par excellence. Those meeting places, exchange points and aggregation centers that were when they were born, before being kicked out of large-scale distribution and falling to the margins of everyday life. "The design of these spaces is the result of listening to the people and associations that live in Corvetto: the market, the neighborhood kitchen, the bicycle workshop, the workshops are all forms of a place designed and built to offer the opportunity to be together as a community and become an attractive point for the neighborhood and the city, "he said Giovanni Fosti, president of Cariplo Foundation.
Neighborhood cuisine: food as a vehicle for regeneration
A transformation project that fits into the path undertaken by the Municipality of Milan, which is involving all covered markets and which plans to entrust the space to a single entity, dedicating some stalls to socio-cultural activities. In Corvetto, even if it was decided not to focus entirely on catering, the opening of the Kitchen Space inside one of the empty stalls represents an interesting experiment, which wants use food as a vehicle for regeneration. For example, for Erik, until a few months ago the market was nothing more than a place related to his childhood. «Here I used to go shopping with my grandparents or my parents. Once I grew up, I frequented the square for a while longer, but with increasing difficulty. Social fractures have become more evident. Many activities, even outside the market, had to lower the shutter, many gave up .
Spazio Cucina, the project of the social cooperative La Strada
Now he's back as a brigade chief of Kitchen space. «I would like to frequent this place not only the most loyal customers on the market, now very few, but also, for example, my friends, the people who work in the area, the young people. Maybe so the market will start to populate again . He was involved in the project Gilberto Sbaraini, for all Gibo. Not a food consultant or a restaurant marketing expert, but the president of La Strada, a social cooperative that has been active in the neighborhood for years. “It was all thanks to word of mouth, just like it used to be. I let people know that I was looking for two chefs and someone suggested that I contact Erik, who in turn called Fabio . Fabio, 30 years old, was a classmate when they attended the Galdus school (from which the non-profit organization La Strada descends). After graduation he worked in a vegetarian restaurant. Erik, on the other hand, has had various experiences both in Milan and abroad.
Market restaurant: seasonal menu and popular prices
“It will be a small neighborhood restaurant. Together with the traders we would like enhance the products of the market. The menu, at popular prices, will change every month, following the seasonality of the products. You can eat here, or order takeaway lunch. They are also gearing up for home deliveries by bike "in the condominiums and businesses in the neighborhood" (from 12 to 2.30 pm). This month's dishes include leek and carrot cream (5 euros), Tagliatelle with horse ragout (7 euros), baked chicken with steamed vegetables (7 euros), pork loin with herbs ( 8 euros) and Tiramisu (3 euros). "In the future, we do not rule out", Erik points out, "to let the neighborhood grandmothers give us some traditional recipes".
From cooking workshops to the bicycle workshop
In the meantime, other initiatives are being studied, such as cooking workshops, catering and other activities related to the gastronomic field. It was only a few months ago that the urban baker Davide Longoni is Aurora Zancarano of Le Polveri they had driven the collective baking ceremony between the market stalls, on the initiative of Terzo Paesaggio, another reality involved in Made in Corvetto together with Milan Bicycle Coalition. In fact, among the projects in the pipeline there is one Neighborhood bicycle workshop, which will act both as a reference point for cyclists in the area and as a high-level professional cycling training center.
Made in Corvetto, an outpost of the city overlooking the countryside
Corvetto is a periphery even if the center is only 4 kilometers away. But it is also an outpost of the city overlooking the countryside. It is the place of possible overlap and mingling. For this reason, the Community point it cannot be projected towards Chiaravalle, the Vettabbia Park and the South Agricultural Park. The market will thus become a fundamental stop for Abbracciami, the cycling circle line that allows you to travel the entire perimeter of Milan by connecting 19 neighborhoods and 20 parks for a total of 70 kilometers. And maybe a landing point for the surrounding products.
Sala: «A reference point is born for the neighborhood and the city
"Thanks to the Lacittàintorno program of the Cariplo Foundation and the collaboration with the Snam foundation, a meeting center opens in Corvetto that will be a cultural, social and productive point of reference for the Milanese and associations in the area and throughout the city," said the mayor Beppe Sala. Not all the inhabitants, to be honest, have shown the same enthusiasm for the operation. During the night the walls of the market were smeared with writings against the mayor himself and the Cariplo Foundation. And during the cutting of the tape outside the structure there were disputes by a group of antagonists. But there were also many enthusiastic faces during the inauguration, historic inhabitants of the neighborhood who appreciated the buffet offered by the Spazio Cucina, promising to come to lunch at the market soon.
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