There is one thing that distinguishes the true connoisseurs of Milan: having eaten at least once in a lifetime Giannasi's spit-roasted chicken. But how do you eat once the Spit-roasted chicken in the city? Yet here it is not just about taste, because this small kiosk in Piazza Buozzi (Porta Romana area) is now a piece of the history of Milan, an emblem that well reveals the changes in our eating habits. Moreover, in an era in which everyone tends to enlarge, to expand their offices or to open new ones, Giannasi does not move from the original site, as the sign says since 1967. Perhaps because we must have a great soul to succeed in think and think small. And this is exactly what this once-thin, thin man, always with a hat on his head, just over six feet tall, awarded with the Golden Ambrogino, managed to do.
Giannasi: it all started like this
Dorando Giannasi was born in Emilia, in Civago and you never lost his elegance. Not yet of age he joined his sister Graziella in Milan, where he worked as an aide in a poultry shop in Via Teodosio, in the Lambrate district. At the time, however, they only sold raw chickens, because they were not used to cook them yet. Dorando starts working with his sister, as an apprentice in the same family, who takes care of them as if they were children within a few years. «I remember very well the impact with this city: at the beginning I could not sleep, because I found myself catapulted by a ridge where silence reigned, to an environment that was a bit uncomfortable for me, if it hadn't been for how we were welcomed by our masters, or by the Muccioli family . Until one day Lucia and Umberto Muccioli decided to retire and sell the Via Teodosio poultry shop.
The turning point of 1967
But Messrs. Muccioli had seen Dorando and Graziella grow up, from an early age. And for this they would never have left them on a road without work. So they decided to help the two brothers, choosing, buying and renovating for them the current kiosk in Piazza Buozzi. "It was 1967 and they told us: when you can, you will give us the money back. And so did my sister and I . For twenty years they have worked hard, paying all their debts and selling raw chickens only, some wild game and some rabbit. Work has always increased, until eating habits started to change and they were among the first witnesses.
From 100% raw to 100% cooked
Between the end of the nineties and the beginning of the new millennium, the needs of consumers changed: first with the request also for red meat, beef and pork, which the Giannasi immediately added; then with fast life, which completely revolutionized eating habits. People have started cooking less and consuming more and more ready-made foods. Thus they had the intuition to keep up with the times, increasingly reducing raw chickens and increasing those cooked on the spit. Only everything happened within a very short time and in just 10 years they went from 100% raw chicken to 100% cooked chicken, spit-roasted and always paired with baked potatoes: "We rarely sold chickens without potatoes" .
The secrets for a perfect spit-roast chicken
In the past there were many more rotisseries, which stood out above all for the spit-roasted chicken, the symbol par excellence, loved by almost everyone. "He is a coeur business," explains Dorando who, as we have seen, is always kept up to date. So the Giannasi brothers went to various rotisserie colleagues to learn how to prepare it to perfection, but nobody fully satisfied them. Until, after rehearsals and trials, they found their version: a very personal one secret mix of spices and salt, which is a fundamental element; a fixed weight of 1 kg of chicken (which after about two hours of cooking becomes about 750 g) to eat usually in two for € 4.50, price still very popular; and the provenance, always Aia. The maximum that their structure allows you to prepare is 1350 chickens a day, apex they reach during the beautiful days, in mid-spring, or Saturday for lunch; while the average is around 5 thousand chickens per week. They never thought of expanding or changing locations, and perhaps this is another of their secrets: otherwise Giannasi would not have been what it was, what it represented for at least three generations, giving a familiar sense to anyone passing through that intersection of Piazza Buozzi.
Dorando Giannasi today has 23 employees, including his daughter Paola who continues the tradition. Dorando may no longer go to the kiosk, but "I have always worked with passion, I enjoy coming here every morning, maybe that's why they gave me the golden Ambrogino". Once the clientele was all female, while today they are predominantly male, middle-aged, «secondo me all single , Dorando jokes. The rotisseries have now all closed, and it is a pity, says Dorando "because competition means first of all stimulus". They have recently started funding the AIRC for cancer research; then they opened a small shop in front of their laboratory, but it's just a showcase to launch the promotions they make every month on a different product, sometimes lasagna, sometimes the potato gateau, others still the erbazzone, what's left of their Emilian origins, to which in the end they have always remained linked. "Today, even though I am my age, I am a happy man, because I can look back and see that I have always behaved well with everyone, because people have to treat it well. And I still eat my chicken willingly .