Milan's Taglio is a shop of many things. It's the kind of place to go to when you want an espresso, or some poached eggs for breakfast, or a lovely loaf of bread and some prosciutto to take home, or a bottle of wine and a fresh lunch, or a snifter of Braulio‘s 2008 Reserve amaro. A cafe, kitchen, bar, and convenience store, where every product is considered and delicious. People might dream that Europe and especially Italy overflows with these sorts of places, but finding one that truly executes every aspect to a high level–especially the coffee component–is depressingly rare. And the best part is, Taglio manages to do all this while feeling unpretentious, inviting, and relaxed.
Taglio was opened in October 2013 by proprietor Raffaele Sangiovanni, along with food journalist and author Gianluca Biscalchin, and partners Andrea De Michelis and Mark Tamaro. Mr Sangiovanni worked for many years in the media and entertainment business, most recently directing the business unit responsible for planning all of the big-ticket events for MTV/Viacom in Italy. He seems to always be about the café, and in person he is unfailingly affable and warm, to the point that it is hard to imagine how he managed his previous life captaining high-stakes projects. But maybe that's the secret to Taglio: the relaxed vibe and gorgeous, simple look belie a disarmingly serious core.
Espresso is being made on a La Marzocco Strada EP, serving a variety of espresso blends. Mr Sangiovanni says they currently offer two Latin American blends from local micro-roastery Rosso Espresso, “to serve as a bridge to the Italian palate.” They've also been working with Stefanos Domatiotis and Cafe Taf in Greece, who have developed some more lively blends specifically for Taglio.
In addition to espresso, Taglio also serves filter coffee (a rarity in Italy) made via Chemex (still more rare). Taglio clearly takes their role as coffee ambassadors seriously, and they regularly rotate in coffees from roasters all over the world like St. Ali, Allpress, Nude Espresso and Small Batch. They are also learning to roast themselves on the Petroncini roaster tucked into the corner of the shop, currently focused on roasting a pair of Ethiopian offerings. Those coffees are being served in-house via Chemex and in the cold-brew iced coffee style, making Taglio one of the only places in Italy one can find this summertime favorite brew method.
The thoroughly modern kitchen tucked into the back of Taglio's well-worn space produces the kind of simple, flavorful food that reminds you why Italy is such a cradle of food culture. Today's of-the-moment farm-to-table cuisine trend is an extension of sensibilities that have long been a part of Italian food history, unintentionally locavore and with a focus on simple, high-quality ingredients.
Every corner of the space is packed with goods to buy, from wines to pastas to preserves to fresh lemons, and each offering has been carefully selected to reflect the best of Italian cuisine.
The space is also casually, playfully gorgeous. From the simple wooden shelving to the illustrations adorning menus and signage (and these awesome “Literary Coffee” posters), there's beauty to be found in every little detail.
The menu of offerings at Taglio seems so obvious. Of course I want delicious fresh Sicilian strawberries with my espresso. Of course you should be able to get a Chemex with your poached eggs, even in Italy. Of course a luxuriously stocked meat and cheese case should go in the back. Why wouldn't you have an impressively deep liquor and amaro list to pair with your wine and coffee offerings?
It all makes so much delicious sense. I wish this were my corner store. You could open a thousand new Eataly‘s, each 10,000 square feet more than the next, and never reproduce this place. Taglio is correct. This place is special. You want to go to there.
Photos by Zachary Carlsen for Sprudge.com.
Alex Bernson contributed to this reporting.