Ammu: Made in Sicily. Here you can find a selection of Sicily's finest delicacies ready to eat in or take-away. Deliciously crisp, deep fried dough tubes prepared with a pinch of cacao in Catania according to an old aristocratic family recipe, are lovingly filled (while you wait) with a creamy ricotta filling and a sprinkling of chocolate chips, ground pistachio or caramelised oranges. Refreshing granitas prepared according to Acireale tradition: pistachio, almond, coffee, chocolate, mulberry, lemon, mandarin orange, strawberry, peach and figs. Traditional cassata of various dimensions as well as cassata al forno (flans filled with ricotta and chocolate chips) and torta sette veli (7 sumptuous layers of chocolate, hazelnut and croccantina); fragrant biscuits and sbrisolata made with pistachio flour. If sugar is not your thing, then why not try the large selection of traditional Southern condiments, preserves, sauces, pesto, oil, coffee, wine, beer, spririts, soft drinks, salt and spices on sale in store and on-line at Ammu's huge success at EXPO 2015, they set up their first shop in Corso Magenta 32, which was swiftly followed by their store in Corso Garibaldi, 84.  
Corso di Porta Romana 44 Milano
388 756 31 40
Jewellery may not be novel concept, but Dafni Gioielli is.  Ilia and Barbara, the women behind this relatively new brand, design different collections of jewellery to suit every budget. Whether you want to buy a trinket for yourself or blow the budget on some serious bling, Dafni offers it all and will personalise it to boot. Each item is designed and hand made by this dynamic duo and no two items are the same. Dafni’s prêt-a-porter collection starts at €35 and boasts earrings, bracelets and necklaces made from either rose gold plated silver, 18 carat gold, 925 silver or burnished silver, embellished with various charms, initials, stones or tassels. We love this season’s ‘Gypsy’ collection with small multi coloured stones that sparkle as they hang daintily from their rose gold plated chain. At € 45 for a bracelet they make the perfect gift.What we find particularly novel about Dafni Gioielli is their Progetto Fenice (Phoenix Project): the chance to give a new lease of life to old, unfashionable or unloved pieces of jewellery and have them re-set to reflect the wearer’s unique style. This, in fact, is how Ilia and Barbara came to meet and Dafni Gioielli came to be. Following the birth of her second child, Ilia wanted to re-set several pieces of jewellery she had inherited.  However, she wanted these family heirlooms to have personal meaning and came up with the idea of incorporating her children’s names into the new setting. Word of mouth subsequently put her in touch with Barbara, a professional jeweller, and the rest is history.  Ilia’s original necklace was such a huge hit amongst friends, that Dafni Gioielli subsequently launched the ‘Penelope’ collection (named after Ilia’s eldest daughter): different length gold chains interspersed with coloured semi precious stones are decorated with the initials or names of loved ones in gold (and precious stones if so desired). Prices vary according to the length and materials used to make each unique piece. Dafni Gioielli also has a bespoke haute couture range for people in search of serious bling. Contact Dafni Gioielli for further information or to make an appointment as the showroom is currently open on Tuesday afternoons.  
Corso Magenta, 66 Milan
Although Galdina has been around for a decade, this amazing pasticceria has proved to be a new discovery for us. Run by owner and Cordon Bleu patisserie chef Galdina, this small shop is situated at the end of a courtyard tucked behind Corso Magenta. Here you can find a small selection of freshly prepared cakes in various sizes as well as biscuits, quiche and mignon pastries. What makes Galdina special is that each cake etc is made from scratch daily with fresh ingredients and looks like something you could knock up at home for a dinner, but infinitely better and tastier. Galdina has a huge repertoire of cakes and desserts that you can order from her recipe book, such as: banana or pomegranate chiboust, mango mousse, passion fruit and white chocolate mousse, apple and almond cake, apple crumble, dolce popo' (similar to a bonet), cassis, blueberry and cream flan, cinammon and apple bavarois, mint and chocolate bavarois, fruits of the forest bavarois, fruits of the forest meringue, raspberry and milk cheesecake and apricot flan. The type of crumble, flan, cake, bavarois obviously varies according to what is in season. It's just so difficult to choose!So, not being ones to shy away from a challenge we decided to put Galdina's cakes to the test and ordered a "cherry crumble" cake, "Charlotte al cioccolato a piramide" (chocolate pyramid Charlotte), "tarte au citron" (lemon meringue pie), bavarese alle arance amare (caramelised orange bavarois flan) and an amazing chocolate cake. They were all delicious in their own unique way, but the biggest compliment of all was paid by my mother (Cordon Bleu trained cook extraordinaire) when she uttered the words ...."this is probably the best chocolate cake I have ever eaten. It may even be better than Marco Pierre White's chocolate cake...".  For those of you who don't know my mother, that was a compliment indeed. If you are interested in trying to learn how to make any of these mouth-watering delicacies, Galdina organises cookery courses. Contact her directly for further details.   
Via Terraggio, 9 20123 Milan
02 8907 3280
Passeggiando per le stradine di Brera, forse vi sarà capitato di fermarvi davanti alla sua vetrina e di rimanere incollate ad ammirarla o forse, se siete appassionate di bijoux come lo siamo noi, già conoscete questo brand di gioielli. Se invece Gas Bijoux vi è sconosciuto, ma siete comunque curiose verso le novità, qualche dettaglio sulla storia di questo marchio francese vi farà piacere.La storia di Gas Bijoux ha origine negli anni '60 quando il designer Andrè Gas inizia a vendere sulle spiagge di St. Tropez i gioielli da lui realizzati, ispirato nelle sue creazioni dalla moda hippy di quegli anni. Da allora Gas Bijoux è diventato un brand internazionale con  varie boutiques nel mondo, ma con la particolarità che tutti i gioielli vengono pensati, disegnati e realizzati artigianalmente nell'atelier di Marsiglia.Cosa li rende così particolari da essere stati imitati ovunque? L'utilizzo di pietre semi preziose, di pompon, di piume (stupendi gli orecchini con le piume colorate), le madreperle, le conchiglie, sono tutti dettagli che danno vita a dei bellissimi gioielli, in oro o argento, colorati, divertenti ma anche raffinati, un mix perfetto tra lo chic ed il famoso hippie chic, che tuttora ispira chi li disegna.I modelli più famosi sono Sequin, Diva, Neige Flocon, che vengono riproposti ogni anno con alcune varianti. Bellissimi  anche i braccialetti Masai. Nella boutiques di Largo Treves si possono acquistare anche profumi. Le fragranze sono tante, da quelle adatte alle ragazze e alle giovani donne, ai pregiati profumi di Profumum Roma, che contengono un'alta percentuale di olii essenziali.Vi abbiamo incuriosito? Fate allora una visita alla boutique in Largo Treves, che è tra l'altro l'unico punto vendita in Italia, e scegliete il vostro gioiello per l'estate! 
Largo Treves (angolo via Solferino 11) 20121 Milano
02 875229
Looking for somewhere quiet to sit? Want to immerse yourself in culture but also watch the world go by while either sipping a coffee, nibbling a sandwich or enjoying an aperitif  (with the added bonus of free wifi)? Then, Verso is the place for you!This small independent bookstore offers a wonderful selection of novels by mainstream and independent publishers, as well as a delightful selection of reference books, stationery, comics and graphic novels laid out around the store amongst tables, armchairs and chairs. Verso has set aside a large room at the back of the store, lined from floor to ceiling with children's books, making it the perfect oasis for little ones to leaf through the pages of a book, immerse themselves in storytelling or take part in one of the workshops Verso organises on a regular basis.  Most works are in Italian but Verso also has a number of titles in the English language. One of our favourite things about Verso is that they remove the glass store front during the summer months, so clients get to enjoy the hustle and bustle of Milan's hipster centre: Ticinese and Colonne di San Lorenzo. Verso is open Mondays 13.00 to 21.00; Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays 10.00 to 21.00; Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10.00 to 24.00. 
Corso di Porta Ticinese, 40 20123 Milan
02 8375648
My mother often accuses me of not being very observant and in the case of Suite 123 I am inclined to agree with her. Well to be fair, even if Suite 123 is just around the corner from my home, I don’t usually cycle along the last part of Corso di Porta Romana near Piazza Medaglie d’Oro, and if I do I’m too busy trying not to get run over or prevent my bike tyre from getting caught in a tram track. That being said, this week I deliberately walked down the road scouting out new places and was pleasantly surprised to discover Suite 123. This understated store is run by two delightful sisters, Rosita and Cristina Cigliola. Their philosophy is that each client has a distinct style and it’s their job to help their clients express that style with the help of the clothes on sale.  Hence Suite 123 is a carefully laid out multi brand store that offers everything from clothes, shoes, hosiery, hats, bags, accessories and underwear. Here clients can find carefully selected pieces from brands such as: Sonia by Sonia Rykiel; Tsumori Chisato; Zucca; Red Valentino; Eugenia Kim; Alessandro De Benedetti; Isola Marras; Boonpa; Vivetta; DeCouture; Roberto de Carlo and Stella Mc Cartney. Each rack is carefully colour co-ordinated and each item easily mixed and matched while the presence of black is reduced to a minimum.Definitely going back to buy a few items I had my eye on! 
Corso di Porta Romana, 128 20122 Milan
02 55184842
I have a thing about food in the same way some women have a thing about expensive bags, and I'm not just talking about the finished product that ends up on your plate. Food is my kryptonite; one thing that I'm willing to spend money on regardless. Having been brought up in a country where we only grow root vegetables, apples, pears and plums, the endless variety of fresh treats to eat in Italy never ceases to give me a shiver of delight. Peck is one of the few places in Milan that manages to fulfil all of my food fantasies.The cheese and cooked meats counter is enough to send me weak at the knees, and you will be surprised to hear that it won't necessarily break the bank. Peck's yellow bags with a golden sunburst have become synonymous with eye-watering price tags over the years, but that's not the case with all of its products. I've compared the price of Peck's parmesan with that of large chain supermarkets over the years and it's more or less the same (even cheaper in some cases) and heaps better. Nothing beats the crumbling, moist morsels of flakey parmesan that are lovingly cut, weighed and wrapped in front of your eyes. (My son can regularly be seen begging for a piece when I take him to stock up on supplies). Another excellent buy is Peck's €12 balsamic vinegar: free of E numbers and caramel and simply divine. Further surprises can also be found at the fresh meat counter in the form of Peck's delcious and excellent value pork. However, if you want to give yourself a real treat, you must try Peck's vacuum packed, marinated Florentine steak. My taste buds are salivating at the mere memory as I write. No more expensive that eating out and infinitely better in many cases, just make sure you know how to cook it properly (I asked a French friend to do the honours).Peck also has a wonderful rosticceria section offering an array of readily prepared dishes. Personally I tend to limit myself to the "olive ascolane' (fried stuffed olives with a crunchy golden crust of breadcrumbs) as the prices are pretty steep in this section. Oh and don't miss the dessert, cakes and chocolate area! Another favourite of mine is the bread section offering different varieties of fragrant bread. Big hits in my house are the Kamut rolls and Campa Grein wholemeal loaf. Peck has obviously had to adapt over time to cater for a younger market and is slowly re-styling itself. The bar has now been moved downstairs backing on to the fresh fruit and vegetable section. Make sure you stop and savour a fresh croissant (brioche to the Milanese) and creamy cappucino while you decide what to buy.I've only mentioned a few of the products on offer at Peck so you will just have to go and see the rest for yourself!
Via Spadari 9 20123 Milan
02 8023161
The other day an English friend who recently moved to MIlan asked me where she could buy contemporary Milanese style jewellery; something special that won't break the bank.... Giolina e Angelo in via Solferino immediately sprang to mind! This small, family owned boutique with its discrete shop window, is situated in the less fashionable part of Via Solferino (after the offices of "Il Corriere della Sera" ) next door to an electrical store. Giolina and Angelo perfectly sums up the essence of Milan: beauty can be found where you least expect it. Those of you that love small, subtle pieces of jewellery that are not ostentatious or too eye catching will find everything your heart could desire in the way of necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings. The magic words here are orginality and customisation: each piece is unique and can be personalised according to your tastes. There is a wide range to choose from, whether you are looking for a gold pendant that can be hung from nylon or leather cord to gold necklaces with coloured stones or more precious materials. Prices are affordable (by Milanese terms): simple pieces cost about Euro 60 and prices slowly rise the more precious the piece becomes. Have a look at the website, but we suggest you go to the shop in person as it has a ample selection to choose from and the owners are really helpful and friendly.We love it. Perfect place to buy a present for a friend of treat yourself to a little something! 
Via Solferino 22/A 20121 Milano
02 653770
Looking for somewhere special to enjoy an open air aperatif with a dramatic backdrop? Terrazza Duomo 21 offers just that. Enjoy one of the best views of Piazza del Duomo while sipping your favourite cocktail or a glass of wine. This stunning setting is a great place to watch the sun sink behind the Duomo in tranquil surroundings, but when dusk falls ... get ready to sway to the vibes of the dj set and for the crowds to arrive. If you want to ensure you get a table it is advisable to book in advance.  Make sure don't make the mistake of one of our party and try to order an Aperol Spritz or you will be directed next door the Aperol bar. The charming waiters at Duomo 21 will, however, be happy to offer you a Martini Spritz!Terrazza Duomo 21 can be accessed from the glass elevator tucked away in Via Silvio Pellico. Don't worry there is a doorman close to hand to make sure you don't get lost! 
Via Silvio Pellico, 2 20121 Milan
02 45397654
Being English, I just had to write about Elisabetta Caorsi's English antiques shop located in one of my favourite shopping areas of Milan (or should I say "British" before some of my fellow islanders give me some stick).Elisabetta wrote for "Vogue Casa" until 20 years ago when she decided to focus on her passion for 19th century British antiques and open up this little treasure trove of some of "our" finest.   Elisabetta's philosophy is that everything she sells must be functional yet elegant; adding a personal touch to every home. La Stanza della Memoria is decorated to look like a home: Georgian and Victorian tables; sideboards; book shelves; chairs and armchairs are artfully displayed around the shop together with decorative ceramics from Wedgwood, Coalport, Minton and Royal Doulton. Everyday tableware, glassware, cutlery, trays, desk acessories, frames, paintings, lamps, ashtrays, cake stands, chess sets etc adorn the furniture to give you an idea how each article could look in your home. Some of my favourite items are Elisabetta's golden pub sign letters which make a quirky addition to any home and her selection of vintage garden furniture and utensils.    
Corso Concordia, 9 20129 Milan
02 76008692


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