Bits of Europe – Milan

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Well, what does “excessive” mean?

It’s an adjective used to describe something that is created, made or done in a way that exceeds what is usual or normal.

I know what you’re thinking.

No. This isn’t an English language class. I’m probably the last person on earth you would want to be  conducting one.

But I am here to show you what excessive is and how excessive things can be. I know this word may have certain negative connotations to it, but I mean it in an absolutely positive, gaping-in-awe way.

May I now, present you, the forth largest church in the world, the one which had taken a whopping 500 years to complete…

The Gothic cathedral of Milan, Duomo di Milano.

Could it be the fact that this is the first ever European country that I’d ever visited or that the intricacy of this building is just simply stunning and magnificent?

I’m in awe.

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I was so captivated by how every single spire on top of the building, every single carving outside and within the church is different and unique; where no two spires are of the same design and carvings. It’s as though the cathedral itself has a story to tell, and it probably does.

My traveling buddy and I spent two days exploring the cathedral. On the first day, we joined a guided tour and explored the insides of the cathedral. We were told by our guide that the small red light bulb in the dome above the apse is where one of the nails from the Crucifixion of the Christ was kept. We took time to explore the insides of the cathedral and even went into the crypt. Well, that kind of crept us out. So, we decided to leave the cathedral, head out into the open and be showered by the warm rays of sunshine.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Right next to the Duomo is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

It’s a shopping arcade that houses mostly boutiques and some cafés and more notably, one of the oldest Prada boutique in Milan which was opened back in 1983.

I couldn’t help but to notice how ornamental their drain covers are.

Until a funny sight at the corner of the galleria caught my attention. I saw people spinning round and round on their heels on the bull’s groin.

I was later told that it was for good luck. If you were to do three anti-clockwise spins on your heel on the bull’s groin, while making a wish, it will come true.

“Well, a woman did that long, long time ago, wishing for a child and she got pregnant after that. So, people started believing in the bull’s groin and started to spin round and round on its groin,” said our tour guide. Uh-huh.

Time for a little snack at the café with a view of the Duomo’s façade.

While waiting for our food, we saw a pink limo!

Apparently, the people in the limo were here for a pre-wedding photo shoot. My buddy and I however decided that we wouldn’t want to have a Gothic cathedral as a backdrop for our pre-wedding photos. I guess we were still having the creeps from the visit to the crypt earlier. Ha.

Food’s here! This has got to be the best pizza for me as it had all my favourite ingredients! Mushroom, olives, artichokes and prosciutto ham!! ♥

Since we’re at the topic of food, this was what I had for breakfast at the hotel. Those green leafy things: songino (lamb lettuce). They are so good. Sweet, without a hint of bitterness, with a very nice texture. It’s so much better than eating rockets or baby spinach. Songino’s good. ♥

Enough of food for now. Let’s head over to meet an old friend of mine, shall we?

Hello!

Well, that was indeed a rather odd giant poodle, but he’s not whom I want you to meet.

There. Say “Hi” people. Meet Leonardo, the polymath, the Renaissance man, my boyfriend.

Leonardo da Vinci.

I think the highest compliment I could ever give a guy is this: “Baby, you’re my Leonardo da Vinci”.

*smacks self and wakes up*

Right. So where were we again before I slipped into my fantasies?

Oh, yes. Leonardo da Vinci.

He spent his early years in Milan, working for the Duke of Milan. He wanted a job so badly back then that he wrote a letter to the Duke saying that he could build the most advanced war machines, construct the strongest buildings and God knows what else. And if the Duke didn’t want any of that from him, he could still paint for the Duke.

So, paint he did, for the Duke of Milan, a mural of the Last Supper.

This picture you see here, is definitely not the real thing. The real painting is probably 10 times bigger than this. I couldn’t take a picture of that to show you because we were only allowed a mere 15 minutes in the room and strictly no photography allowed. So, what I did was, I just sat down in one of the few benches and gape in awe, taking in all the minute details of the painting: the sandals they wore, the food on the table, the light and the shadows…they were served eels, which I was told, was the Duke’s favourite dish.

Throughout the years, the painting went through many ordeals as it almost got destroyed by air raids, had parts of it knocked out to form an archway, had too many restoration that eventually ruined the painting until a team of experts were commissioned to restore the painting to its original condition.

I was glad. I was so glad that I had the chance to be able to see this painting in all its glory that tears began to weld in my eyes. For the whole 15 minutes, it was just me and the Last Supper, until my train of thoughts were broken by a chime indicating that it was time for us to leave the room.

Then, we all walked back to where we came from and headed to where the Duke used to live.

Swanky, eh? I love the fountain.

But here’s something swankier – the Teatro la Scala, a world renowned opera house in Milan!

The view of the interior from one of the balconies

This is where the rich and wealthy mingle and gamble and watch some opera during their free time!

Poster for Otello

Now, isn’t it a time to rest our little feet and maybe for some dessert as well?

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

When in Milan, have a serving of Tiramisu!

After filling our tummies up, it’s time to head home via the subway again. Oh, and maybe to stock up on some groceries as well, along the way. ♥

Inari Europa

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Italian 云吞

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How do I even begin to tell you how amazing Milan is when it comes to grocery shopping? You get all the authentic stuff here!

Now, what do I mean by authentic stuff? Just take the parmesan cheese for example: it’s actually an imitation of the parmigiano reggiano, a type of cheese made in a particular region in Italy that can only be named so because it is produced in that particular region.

Similar cheeses produced elsewhere cannot be called parmigiano reggiano, hence, that’s why our Kraft’s parmesan shakers are called parmasan shakers and not parmigiano reggiano shaker (Not because it’s quite a mouthful to pronounce).

The European Union enacted a law known as the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) in order to protect the reputation of the regional foods and eliminate the unfair competition and misleading of consumers by non-genuine products, which may be of inferior quality or of different flavour (European Commission, 2010).

Like, really, parmigiano reggiano tastes so much nicer than the parmesan cheese we have here, and it’s as white as snow when grated. :) Imagine having it with aglio olio squid ink pasta. Mmm~

Please pardon me with my cheese obsession.

Let’s have a game of matching the numbers to the name of the items. :D

  1. LV sponge cakes (term coined by LV-crazed house mate)
  2. Amaretti cookies (crunchy yet chewy on the inside, macaron like cookies made from almond meal)
  3. Parma ham (dry-cured ham [prosciutto] from Parma) <- this is an PDO item too!
  4. Mommy’s favourite: Goose Liver Pâtés
  5. Also mommy’s favourite: Philadelphia’s Salmon flavoured cream cheese
  6. Dried porcini mushrooms (good for making mushroom risotto)
  7. Walnuts (good for memory)
  8. Garlic and chilli flakes for making aglio olio spaghetti
  9. ♥ Parmigiano reggiano ♥
  10. Ferero’s Gran Soleil Ice-cream in vanilla flavour (It’s an unrefrigerated ice-cream. Prior to consumption, simply shake the container and chuck it into the freezer until it’s frozen)
  11. Carnaroli rice (short grain rice used for making risotto)
  12. Tic Tac’s Summer flavours in cherry, mango and melon & peach
  13. Tortellini aka Italian wantan
  14. Risotto with porcini mushroom
  15. Instant minestrone and pasta soup
  16. Milanese risotto

It’s probably the most boring game ever. But, thank you for attempting to play/ looking at it.

Here’s three stars for you: ☆☆☆

We shall now have some Italian wantan.

I’ve discovered that lemon and rosemary seasoning goes really well with sauces as it gives off a rather refreshing after taste instead of a heavy mouth feel, especially when it comes to thick creamy sauces.

Prosciutto tortellini with bacon cream sauce topped with grated parmigiano reggiano.

Torty smelled my cooking and was paddling like mad in the tank, begging for food. Look at my goldfish at the bottom right. Makes me wonder when was the last time they were fed.

The mushroom tortellini was slightly strong in flavour.

A bit too mushroomy. So, I prepared them in clear broth and topped with thinly sliced cold cuts and cheese shavings.

Mm mm…Italian wantan is gewd. :)

My new love :)

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I am having an intensely upset stomach right now.

But I insisted that I would tell the world right here and right now, who or rather, what my new love is.

May I present you

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my new, super vintage ah ma handbag from Zara TRF. :) I stumbled upon it while window shopping in Milan (I is poor, hence, didn’t even thought of window shopping in Miu Miu or Prada, even though I ♥ Miu Miu to bits). One good thing I discovered while shopping in Milan is that they have so many good designs to choose from; four stories worth of choices. Best part is, of course, the 11% worth of tax refunds. It’s like shopping and knowing that you’d definitely get a discount of 11% at the end of the day.

I must make sure that my grandma never sees this bag. She’d already “confiscated” my Coach handbag a month ago. Sadly, I could only say, we share the same tastes in bags.

The bag is opened by flipping up both latches located at the sides of the bag.

It opens up like a purse, which is a feature that I really like.

You gotta love trf’s attention to detail and how when ah ma bag is opened up, it has bright pink labels with super cute messages. This kind of reminds me of Juicy Couture.

I feel giddy every time I open up my bag to see the words “TRF loves you”. :D I love you too. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

“Don’t forget your keys!!”

Good for a certain someone who will never remember where her keys are. :D