I had the occasion to go to Eataly this summer for a special event hosted by Lavazza coffee. And it reminded me that I had been wanting to write about this place for some time now, and totally forgot!
I’m kind of glad I did though – it’s a much better story now.
Eataly is an upscale Italian food market/eatery, brought to the States (the original is in Turin) by Mario Batali and Lidia and Joe Bastianich in 2010. Mario Batali describes it as a “grocery store with tasting rooms”, and that about sums it up. Eataly occupies multiple floors in the old Toy Building across from Madison Square Park, and it is a giant. There are literally thousands of products, ranging from hard-to-find imported Italian specialties, to hyper-local produce and dairy. You could swoon from the endless rows of olive oils alone.
There are seven “cafes” – selling Italian coffees, rotisserie chickens, cold antipasti, freshly baked focaccia and of course, gelato. And five restaurants – from a casual pizza and pasta place, to a rooftop birreria and the upscale “Manzo”.
Noah, circa 2011
It was at the Birreria where this happened:
Yes, that’s me with Debi Mazar. And yes, I died.
I am a HUGE fan. Like “Entourage” huge. “Goodfellas” huge. “Civil Wars” huge (totally just dated myself there but it was worth it). Debi was nice enough to pose for a picture and chat for a few minutes with Chelsea and me.
Love this actress. I mean, those eyebrows!!!!
We left the party with a bag full of coffees and the recipe for this coffee shortbread – which I share with you today!
Your kitchen will smell heavenly while it’s baking, thanks to that distinctive combination of coffee and citrus, which evokes the little twist of lemon peel served with espresso at any authentic Italian cafe.
Next time you’re in the city, be sure to visit Eataly – and remember to bring your shopping list along with your appetite.
adapted from Cooking Channel’s “Extra Virgin”
2 c. flour
2 T. Lavazza Qualita Rossa ground coffee
zest of one orange
Pinch of salt
1 c. butter, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1 vanilla bean (or 1 t. vanilla extract)
Line an 8 x 8 baking pan with a parchment or tin foil “sling”; set aside.
In a medium bowl mix together flour, coffee, orange zest and salt.
On a cutting board slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the grains (read here for details on how-to scrape a vanilla bean, and what to do with the leftover bean).
Combine the butter, sugar and vanilla bean grains in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed till light and fluffy.
On low speed slowly add the flour mixture and beat till just combined (do not overmix).
Transfer the dough to your prepared baking pan and using a lightly dampened angled spatula or fingertips, press evenly into the pan. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees – bake shortbread for 50 minutes. Remove pan and let sit for 10 minutes. Using your sling as an aid, lift the shortbread out of the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut shortbread into desired shapes and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place the sheet in the oven for 10 minutes. Cool shortbread on a wire rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar prior to serving.
This delicious recipe brought to you by Donuts, Dresses and Dirt
Note: I was not compensated for this post. I was invited to the Lavazza New Specialty Line Press Event, and received a gift bag that included Lavazza coffees. All comments and opinions are, as always, completely my own.