Esquire (UK)

Marchesi 1824: Milanese pastry comes to London

A famous Milanese pasticceri­a comes to London

- By Alex Bilmes

As the San Siro is to football and La Scala is to opera, so Marchesi 1824 is to pastry: a Milanese temple to good taste, a place of pilgrimage for the glitterati as well as l’uomo comune. Marchesi is where the Milanese — a people with sweet teeth and sticky fingers — go to indulge their passion for cakes and confection­ery.

The original family pasticceri­a, opened by Angelo Marchesi on a busy corner of the Via Santa Maria alla Porta, right in the heart of the city, is still extant after 195 years. Today, Angelo’s grandson, also Angelo, presides over the operation. A squeaky door opens onto a Wonka-esque fantasia: a small room, with frescoed ceilings and faded yellow walls, cherry wood shelves and antique glass cabinets filled with boxes of candied fruits and sugared almonds and soft pastilles and gumdrops and pralines and fondants and pastries and jam jars and cake upon cake upon cake.

Stand at the zinc bar — a recent innovation, dating as it does from the early 20th century — with a caffè and a cornetto, or take a seat in the room at the back and order a slice of something dolce, iced in pastel pink or blue or yellow. If it’s after midday, or only a bit before, you might even consider a Negroni.

In recent years, under the ownership of the Prada Group, Marchesi has expanded into two new premises, both close by. And shortly the first shop outside Milan will be arriving, in London, on Mount Street in Mayfair, serving the same sugary treats, beautifull­y presented in elegant surroundin­gs, with a side order of that pleasing smugness one experience­s when finding oneself, however briefly, on an equal footing, lifestyle-wise, with the northern Italian cognoscent­i. There’ll be an espresso bar and, an added treat for Londoners this summer, gelati. Go early to avoid Instagramm­ers.

○ Marchesi 1824 will open in April at 117 Mount Street, Mayfair, London W1K; pasticceri­

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chocolates and cakes by Marchesi 1824 of Milan (and now London)
Exceptiona­l sweets, candied fruits, chocolates and cakes by Marchesi 1824 of Milan (and now London)
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