Last year, chef and Croc-toting television personality Mario Batali teamed up with Lidia Bastianich and son to open a 50,000-square-foot ‘temple’ to Italian cuisine in Midtown Manhattan: Eataly. New Yorkers hungry for a taste from abroad could now leisurely sample gelatos, sip on Espressos, and enjoy imported antipasti and freshly baked ciabatta whilst shopping for fresh fish and oversized jars of Nutella in a single Mecca of edible delight.
As much as this magical emporium seeks to commemorate its mother country by filling shelves and display cases with her culinary splendor, we are quite certain that Eataly is not synonymous with Italy, as the window banners claim, though its partial representation cannot be completely dismissed. Food has long been a principal means of exploring our geographies, evidenced in the spike of TV shows and blogs that document wayfaring travelers in search of the most eye-opening, vividly storytelling, perfect bites. In keeping with this trend, Antonie Corbineau has created an illustrated ‘food map’ depicting the celebrated boot-shaped peninsula as an agglomeration of vibrantly illustrated foods.
In Corbineau’s map, dubbed ‘Prodotti Tradizionali Italiani,’ a cartoonish Colosseum is painted next to a perfectly pink slab of porchetta, while rustic huts in Taranto are dwarfed by baked golden rings of taralli. Meanwhile Milan’s famed cathedral is abutted by a speckled wedge of rich Gorgonzola and a buttery silo of panettone, both wildly greater in scale than your average Claes Oldenberg. Parma, of course, is completely smothered, with no room for architectural landmarks between the leg of prosciutto and the massive wheel of parmigiano reggiano. And let’s not forget the giant seafood of Sardegna, ready to take out a passing ocean liner.