Imagine spending a day at Epcot, but better because there’s FOOD!
That’s basically what the Expo is. You’ll remember from my previous post that the Expo opened on May 1st, but with final exams and all of the traveling we’ve been doing, today was really the only chance for a large group of us to be able to go before we leave in a couple of days. There was no way we weren’t going, since Bocconi gave us free tickets and this will probably be the only time we get to live in a city when it’s hosting the Expo.
The Expo is located a little ways outside of the city. We woke up early to get to the site when it opened, that way we would have the entire day to spend there. Glad we did, since the grounds are HUGE. There are over 140 countries participating, either in their own pavilions or in “clusters” such as the Arid Zones, Bio-Mediterraneum, or Spices. These pavilions branch out from the main walkway that runs the length of the site.
There was a ton to see, but of course we had to get a taste of home by starting at the USA pavilion. The theme of our pavilion is “American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet.” There was a vertical farm, a boardwalk featuring food system conversation starters, and a video presentation called “The Great American Foodscape.” The videos had us drooling since we haven’t had foods like BBQ in months, so immediately after we ran over to Food Truck Nation to get a BBQ pulled pork sandwich!
Sticking with the USA theme, we made a stop at the Coca-Cola pavilion (corporate sponsors have pavilions too!). We were each given a bottle of Coke (in a glass bottle!) as we learned about Coke’s global presence, emphasis on physical activity, and environmental sustainability initiatives. At the end of the tour we were allowed to choose a Coke beverage of our choice from some miraculous Coke vending machines. Since I don’t like carbonated drinks I hit up the low-cal Powerade.
We then spent some time in Palazzo Italia, which is the collection of Italian pavilions (as the host country they get more than one). Whether it was the pavilions highlighting the food excellence of the 21 different regions of Italy or the wine exhibit, all exhibitions related back to the four Italian Powers: the power of expertise, power of beauty, power of challenge, and power of the future. It’s one giant reminder that Italian food is the best 🙂
We still had a little time before we were scheduled to visit the Switzerland pavilion and we were hungry again (big surprise), so we went to Mexico hoping for tacos. Unfortunately no tacos, but we got to hang out on a cute patio and learn about frijoles (among other traditional cuisine).
It was finally time for us to visit Switzerland. The Swiss pavilion is really popular with visitors because of it’s really cool set up, which is why we had to get what is basically the equivalent of a FastPass at Disney Land. The pavilion is four silos, each stocked with a different resource – coffee, fruit, salt, and water. Visitors to the silos are allowed to take as much as they want, but the silos will not be refilled so the floors will just keep lowering until they’re empty. It’s a super cool concept because it makes all the visitors think about scarcity and their own consumption.
The first level of apples was already gone and we weren’t about to eat a packet of salt or espresso powder so at this point we were really hungry. We made a stop in Germany for some currywurst, and I couldn’t resist making my own Magnum ice cream bar as well.
There were a ton of other really cool pavilions to see, so we made our way along the length of the site to everywhere from Estonia to Japan to Ecuador to Holland. It’s really cool to see all of beautiful pavilions and how the different countries interpreted the theme.
Our last pavilion of the day was Brazil, because it’s Brazil and look at it! The net was actually really hard to walk across since my feet are so small, but it was still a cool concept about the country’s technological capabilities that don’t harm biodiversity. I was also super pumped that they had açai smoothies! I know it looks gross, but I promise they taste great and are really good for you too!
Today’s global food-crawl was so much fun! We got super lucky that Milan is hosting the Expo this year, and I am so so so glad we were able to do this. Food is good, Milan is good, the study abroad life is good ❤