Italy is where I learned to be a professional cook. If you've spent any amount of time there, you probably had a meal that made an impression. Italy has a very unique food economy. If you talk about local this and organic that it means something completely different to an Italian, because wherever he/she comes from they'll have had distinct food traditions accompanied by local production. It could be olives, fish, tomatoes, meats, various salumi, cheese, and on and on. A huge part of what sets Italian food apart is its proximity not only to its history, but also its source.
When I first heard about Eataly, a new Italian market in the heart of NYC, I was pretty skeptical. I want as much as the next guy to relive some of my Italian food experiences, but there's a paradoxical side that comes with import companies.
If the object of a market is to make those memories available; then at what cost? Peddling foreign goods can become exorbitant, and even when you find the right ingredient, you can never really create a facsimile of an experience. (but that's a whole other entry.) Moreover, the notion of Eataly seemed a little contrary to the American food market's shift towards locally sourced food.
Despite myself, I was ecstatic to check out the place. I finally made it over there yesterday. The place is huge, and it's a little overwhelming to attempt to cover the place in an opinionated article but here goes: