ExpatFlyer
Topic Author
Posts: 107
Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2015 8:22 am

In-flight gourmet dining: a taste of Italian regional dishes while flying Alitalia MXP-JFK in Business Class

Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:24 am

Hi again. Since my most recent trip report was portraying the new Casa Alitalia lounge at Milan-Malpensa airport (click here: https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1354749), a stylish lounge offering a great variety of Italian regional dishes, I thought of complementing the TR by adding a dedicated one on what is then being experienced for “dining & wining” while flying with Alitalia long-haul in business class.

So this TR is more for those of you that on top of the passion for flying do also enjoy a passion for good food and good wines.

Italian cuisine is famous worldwide for its authenticity, creativity, variety from region to region, and great taste.

And there’s a lot of confusion here in the US on what is real and genuine Italian food vs. what is being advertised as Italian food: recently I saw a tv commercial here in Miami of a casual dining restaurant chain presenting a special chicken parm lasagna, something that of course does not exist in Italy, and that would leave every single Italian speechless and denying to call that dish as Italian because there’s nothing Italian at all (but if someone advertises a dish as Italian, or with an Italian name, well that must be Italian then!!! … chicken parmesan lasagna!!! Come on!!!).

Anyway, back on track, and have to admit that Alitalia is really doing its very best to differentiate from the standard “international menu” that most airlines serve in premium classes, and offers a distinctive Italian experience of regional recipes and dishes that really makes the difference and provides a unique dining experience while flying at a cruising level of 30,000 ft.

So this trip report brings the flow (unfortunately not the flavors yet) of the dining and wining experience, from the 4-course lunch to the pre-arrival snack enjoyed on Alitalia while flying from Milan-Malpensa to New York-JFK, on board the A330, on my way home in sunny Florida.

Let’s start with the table set-up for the appetizer which was consisting of a trio of speck (a cured smoked cold cut that is slow-smoked using juniper wood or pine to add that special unique flavor), Asiago cheese, and a pasta and cheese fried pie.

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As per the wine, with a personal preference for fruity wines, I opted for a Muller Thurgau, a white wine from the Italian region of Trentino Alto-Adige, which borders with Austria (and talking about the grape variety it is a kind of new breed originally developed in Switzerland back in 1882, close to Riesling), and I will keep the same wine for the entire lunch:

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Chinaware, as well as glassware, is from Italian brand Richard Ginori, once defined "the Ferrari of porcelain" in an old article published in The New York Times, and still an exclusive Italian brand dating back in 1735 (and if you happen to stay in Milan at the Four Seasons Hotel Milano, you'll find the Richard Ginori chinaware in your breakfast tray).

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Lunch continues with the first course comprising a duo of penne pasta with San Marzano DOP tomatoes and basil, and pasta dumplings with spinach and bacon:

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Then onward to the second course, and my choice goes for the loin of lamb in potato crust:

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And closing on the sweet side with an apple pie with custard cream:

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Not forgetting a good espresso coffee:

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The dining experience is not over as one and a half hour prior to landing at JFK a pre-arrival snack is being served in the form of a selection of cold cuts, fresh fruit, another glass of Muller Thurgau, and the unmissable espresso coffee:

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Overall, a great Italian dining experience (and very tasty considering flying at 30,000 ft.).

Thank you for reading and have a great week-end ahead.

And in case feel free to view my other trip reports:

Air France A380, Business Class, MIA-CDG
https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=980179

Singapore Airlines, Business Class, KUL-SIN-MXP
https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=980053&p

Air France, La Premiere Designer Suite, CGK-SIN
https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=979891

Garuda, Business Class, MEL-DPS-CGK
https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=979901

Hawaiian. First Class, HNL-OAK + Delta, First Class, SFO-LAX
https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=979805

Dallas with Delta, FLL-ATL-DAL & DFW-ATL-FLL
https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=979817

Air Asia, office commuting between SIN-KUL-SIN
https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=979843

Ukraine Int'l Airlines, Business Class, KBP-MXP & KBP-FCO
https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=979953

Casa Alitalia lounge at MXP
https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1354749

Air France, new Business Class, SIN-CDG
note: for unexpected reasons all pics disappeared from post, and I'll write a new TR with pics and post it shortly
https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=979731
It's so Miami!
 
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ComfortablyNumb
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Re: In-flight gourmet dining: a taste of Italian regional dishes while flying Alitalia MXP-JFK in Business Class

Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:37 pm

Excellent report. Alitalia definitely wins the 'worst to first' food award. I remember what an embarrassment AZ's catering was to Italy for many years. Good to see they have their act together, at least in J class.
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1860
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Re: In-flight gourmet dining: a taste of Italian regional dishes while flying Alitalia MXP-JFK in Business Class

Fri Feb 10, 2017 6:20 pm

The food looks delicious. I noticed even in Economy the meals are good. I have a friend who only flies on Alitalia from New York to Rome.
 
ExpatFlyer
Topic Author
Posts: 107
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Re: In-flight gourmet dining: a taste of Italian regional dishes while flying Alitalia MXP-JFK in Business Class

Fri Feb 10, 2017 7:20 pm

ComfortablyNumb wrote:
Excellent report. Alitalia definitely wins the 'worst to first' food award. I remember what an embarrassment AZ's catering was to Italy for many years. Good to see they have their act together, at least in J class.


Hi ComfortablyNumb, your "worst to first" reminds me the book written by former Continental CEO, Gordon Bethune: "From Worst to First: Behind the Scenes of Continental's Remarkable Comeback".

Indeed airlines need to start learning how to implement differentiation from competitors and highlight all those competitive advantages that may provide a unique kind of experience when flying, lounge included.

In this case Alitalia managed to highlight all those icons typically Italian, from design to style, from fashion to cuisine, that can create the difference.

Then to maintain and keep the difference is a total different story.
It's so Miami!
 
jetwet1
Posts: 3005
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2007 4:42 am

Re: In-flight gourmet dining: a taste of Italian regional dishes while flying Alitalia MXP-JFK in Business Class

Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:19 pm

ExpatFlyer wrote:
And there’s a lot of confusion here in the US on what is real and genuine Italian food vs. what is being advertised as Italian food: recently I saw a tv commercial here in Miami of a casual dining restaurant chain presenting a special chicken parm lasagna, something that of course does not exist in Italy, and that would leave every single Italian speechless and denying to call that dish as Italian because there’s nothing Italian at all (but if someone advertises a dish as Italian, or with an Italian name, well that must be Italian then!!! … chicken parmesan lasagna!!! Come on!!!).



I couldn't agree more, I was lucky enough to spend 8 weeks last year in Italy on business, I fell in love with Florence and it's food, to the point where I made our corp exec chef fly over to try a couple of places to show what we were looking for in one of our new restaurants (we pretty much stole the papardelle in a bore ragout from Vini e Vecchi Sapori, which still took us 6 months to get right) plus a few different ways of serving food,we went to a place in Rome that allowed our chef to go into the kitchen and learn how to make pasta.

As I had booked my flights before hand with Swiss I was stuck with their bad catering, honestly I began to wonder what Alitalia's was like, the one trip report I read a couple of years ago wasn't overly impressive , however this looks good and I may well book with them for our summer trip back to Florence.

As you noted, a quick fix for Alitalia's issues (well some of them) is to have outstanding catering, in reality it is a cheap fix that many people will forgive their other short comings for while they get their act together. I flew on PIA's ORD-BCN service a couple of times in J, not so good airline with way out dated seats, but the food was fantastic and the crew made me feel like I was sharing a meal in their home, amazing that I didn't even think twice about booking with them again even though the rest of the product was sub standard.
 
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KruegerFlaps
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Re: In-flight gourmet dining: a taste of Italian regional dishes while flying Alitalia MXP-JFK in Business Class

Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:12 am

ExpatFlyer wrote:
And there’s a lot of confusion here in the US on what is real and genuine Italian food vs. what is being advertised as Italian food:


This is quite common around the world. For example, Indian or Chinese foods adapted to fit the local market or simply to cut cost. But I must say, your photos left my mouth watering. That service does look good.

Thanks for posting.
Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. - William Pitt Speech, 1783
 
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ClassicLover
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Re: In-flight gourmet dining: a taste of Italian regional dishes while flying Alitalia MXP-JFK in Business Class

Sat Feb 11, 2017 3:04 pm

Excellent photos of the food - it's made me hungry!! :)

The service looks excellent. I loved everything from the food to the plates to the wine. Very nice report!
I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
 
ba319-131
Posts: 8301
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:27 pm

Re: In-flight gourmet dining: a taste of Italian regional dishes while flying Alitalia MXP-JFK in Business Class

Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:49 pm

Great looking food and well photographed , nice job!
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767747
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Re: In-flight gourmet dining: a taste of Italian regional dishes while flying Alitalia MXP-JFK in Business Class

Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:08 am

Great photos from your flight - The food looks delicious and Alitalia must have some of the best airline plates/glasses I've seen ... so stylish!

Thank you for sharing.
I love to fly!
 
ExpatFlyer
Topic Author
Posts: 107
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Re: In-flight gourmet dining: a taste of Italian regional dishes while flying Alitalia MXP-JFK in Business Class

Mon Feb 13, 2017 12:55 am

KruegerFlaps wrote:
ExpatFlyer wrote:
And there’s a lot of confusion here in the US on what is real and genuine Italian food vs. what is being advertised as Italian food:


This is quite common around the world. For example, Indian or Chinese foods adapted to fit the local market or simply to cut cost. But I must say, your photos left my mouth watering. That service does look good.

Thanks for posting.


Hi KrugerFlaps, yes you are right as that happens when trying to adapt to local taste which most of the time means losing authenticity and that's what happens to Italian or Indian or Chinese recipes when they get changed to accommodate local taste in a foreign country.
It's so Miami!
 
ExpatFlyer
Topic Author
Posts: 107
Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2015 8:22 am

Re: In-flight gourmet dining: a taste of Italian regional dishes while flying Alitalia MXP-JFK in Business Class

Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:01 am

ClassicLover wrote:
Excellent photos of the food - it's made me hungry!! :)

The service looks excellent. I loved everything from the food to the plates to the wine. Very nice report!


Hi ClassicLover, thank you. Indeed food presentation, table set-up and service improved very much on Alitalia. But the "Book the Cook" available when flying on Singapore Airlines remains my favorite (along with Air France).
Have a great week ahead.
It's so Miami!
 
ExpatFlyer
Topic Author
Posts: 107
Joined: Sat Jun 20, 2015 8:22 am

Re: In-flight gourmet dining: a taste of Italian regional dishes while flying Alitalia MXP-JFK in Business Class

Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:03 am

767747 wrote:
Great photos from your flight - The food looks delicious and Alitalia must have some of the best airline plates/glasses I've seen ... so stylish!

Thank you for sharing.



Hi 767747 and thank you very much.
As replied to ClassicLover, Alitalia did improve, and a lot, the food presentation, table set-up and in-flight service.
But the "Book the Cook" available when flying on Singapore Airlines remains my favorite (along with Air France).
Have a great week ahead.
It's so Miami!
 
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CollegeAviator
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Re: In-flight gourmet dining: a taste of Italian regional dishes while flying Alitalia MXP-JFK in Business Class

Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:19 am

Excellent report.

Truly looks like a feast in the sky! :D

CollegeAviator

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