Sandwiching Milan

about Malpensa Airport, Milan, Italy

Malpensa sounds like a Bengali dessert but is actually the name of Milan's airport - as a disembodied announcer has already announced several times in the twelve hours I have spent here.

Airports aren't usually food destinations. Even in countries that should know better, the fondness for food and drink seems to stop at the check-in gate and passengers are usually stuck inside with a choice of three different outlets of the same single vendor offering ordinary sandwiches at outrageous prices.

Milan does not disappoint. There are seven restaurants, or so it seems at first glance. It turns out that all of them are run by the same company (MyChef) and offer the same food - just the decor is different. In the central food court, because of some wierd workflow that only the Italians seem to understand, you pay first at the chocolate counter and then order what you want at each seperate counter - one for coffee, one for sandwiches, one for wine and so on. Since the items and prices are displayed at each counter, this usually means several trips back and forth to remember each tongue-twisting name while the lady at the counter in extremely hip glasses wonders why god created non-italians.

The upside, however, is very good coffee and some of the best sandwiches I've had anywhere. The choices are many; various combinations of ham, cheese and bread with or without dressing. Paninis, panindos, foccacias line the counter, attached to names like papavero and napoli. Luckily, quality of the ingredients, specially the freshly grilled bread, is exceptional. They're all melt-in-the-mouth wonders, with real ham and cheese to boot. The wine counter was a disaster, the grilled mixed skewer average, but the sandwiches nearly make me want to layover in Milan again.

Let me go grab my third.

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