When the new Eataly Downtown opens next month, it will have a little taste of something that no other location has — bread from countries other than Italy. Every location of Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s Italian food emporium has a theme, and New York’s second outpost on the third floor of 4 World Trade Center will be going all out with bread. While all Eataly locations bake their own bread, this one will offer a wider selection and use bread as a jumping off point to look at other cultures, says CEO Nicola Farinetti — including hosting guests who will make non-Italian breads at the Eataly bakery.
To start, Kossar’s bakers will spend a month making bialys and bagels at Eataly in September. Every month after that, a different bakery will spend a month in residency, starting with breads from countries that already have an Eataly location, such as Turkey, Brazil, South Korea, and Japan. Besides selling their specialty bread, Farinetti and head baker and miller Fulvio Marino want to have the guest bakers teach free classes at the location about their food. "We want to use bread as an excuse to talk about other people’s cultures," Farinetti says. "One of the issues is that people don’t really know each other. They see through social media, but they don’t really connect with each other. Sitting, gathering everyone at a table, eating something — it’s a way to interact and possibly live in a more peaceful way."
Italian culture will be explored through the bread program, too. The flagship bread is a bread called Pane Mediterraneao, which features seven different kinds of seeds and two types of flour, Marino says. All the seeds and flours in the recipe represent the beginning of Mediterranean agriculture, including millet, farro, pumpkin, poppy, and sunflower, he adds. "We want to do it for tradition," he says. Plus, the outpost will offer a rotating selection of "small niche Italian breads," Farinetti says, all baked in a custom built wood-fired oven and with an original Eataly yeast.
In the age of low carb and Paleo diets, expanding the bread program might seem like an unusual choice. But the team at Eataly will be trying to convince people that eating bread is healthy here. The bakers aim to use as little white flour as possible, and they’ll be offering bread at an Italian salad bar, as well. Some breads contain seeds, something that Marino calls "energy" for the body. "In the seeds, there is life energy that becomes the plants," he says. "From the seeds, starts the plants, starts the life. It’s important that people eat the seeds."
Eataly Downtown will open in the next couple of weeks, and besides the bread program, it will be the first location to offer options like breakfast, a juice bar, grab-and-go food, Italian flatbread piadina, and Italian pastry pasticcini. Free hands-on food and culture classes will take place three times a day near the marketplace, including background on the many breads. "We’re going to try to tell a lot of stories about bread," Farinetti says.