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Perfect Italian Weekend

A Perfect Italian Weekend - Milan... and beyond!

A Perfect weekend in Italy without the limitations of time, budget, or distance. Every week we ask interesting and inspirational Italians, or Italians at heart, to take us along for a perfect, local weekend. Today Meredith Erickson, founder of Doladira. and writer of cookbook Alpine Cooking, takes us along to Milan… and beyond 

Meredith Erickson

I’ve been in the hospitality and food/wine world for over twenty years, starting with Joe Beef in Montreal which led me to a career in publishing and then to my solo publishing for my book Alpine Cooking. I am Canadian, but call Milan home with my husband and sons.


Part of the reason I love Milan is its proximity to the Alps. But if I’m not driving to spend time in nature, my perfect Saturday involves a lot of really great meals:

Breakfast at Pavé: I like breakfast at Pavé because unlike Italians, I’m a salty person, not a sweet person. Growing up in Canada, I’m more of a two eggs on toast, sharp cheddar, maple bacon and English muffin kind of girl. Pavé has a breakfast sandwich that rivals the best.

A stop at my favorite museum, The Pinocoteca di Brera. It’s the most beautiful museum, mostly paintings, of many Italian masterpieces. Here you will see Caravaggio, Modigliani, Bellini, Raphael….all in one afternoon.

For lunch, I like to meet friends at Taveggia or Trattoria Milanese. The original Sant Ambroeus too, but it’s a bit of a scene.

Swing by PECK, a great little grocery store to stock up on provisions.

 For aperitivo, arguably the most important meal of the day, I like to go to Casa Cipriani as they always make me a new Doladira cocktail each time. I also love SiMa townhouse for cocktails, it’s so fun. 

For dinner, I love Trippa because I love Radi, the sommelier’s wine taste and Diego’s heartfelt Lombardian/ Veronese cuisine. 


I've said it before and I’ll say it again: there is no better geographically located city in the world. So a lot of our weekends are focused on getting out of the city for some fresh air. You want to go outside for some fresh air? In 2.5 hours you’re in Venice on the Adriatic.  Opposite direction to the west, in 2 hours you’re on the Mediterranean on the Ligurian coast, in the green hills. 2 hours south you’re in the rolling hills of Tuscany. And my favourite, 2 hours north you’re in the Aosta Alps, facing the Matterhorn from Cervinia at 1600m. 

If we do stay in town, my husband and I like to cook so on Sunday we love to cook together and, of course, that means a Doladira drink or two. My favorite way to drink it is simply Doladira, a splash of soda, and maybe a sprig of rosemary, over ice, but we love to figure out new ways to mix it. My husband’s current favorite is in a classic Negroni. 


A few other spots, all women-owned!

Al Matarel is a matriarchal restaurant in Brera that I like. 

Osaka is Milan’s best Japanese, also owned by an incredibly strong woman. 

Nilufar Gallery: Historical and contemporary art & design pieces (exclusively selected by @ninayashar since 1979) is incredible. 

But of course if we have to point to one, we look to Mrs. Prada. Now one of the biggest in the world, the Prada shops here are still housed in original signage and you feel a close connection to the brand. She’s an icon. And she started small.

A few others to add 

Cantine Isola: The floor-to-ceiling shelves at this wine bar are packed with wine with handwritten prices and notes from the staff. They’ll open a $2,000 bottle of wine and pour you a glass. You don’t have to buy the whole bottle.

Onest: This wine bar is open for lunch and dinner on weekends, which is rare in Milan. They go deep into the French and Champagne list.

Taveggia: This is an old school local stori. I come here after work for a quick Americano and chips and olives to melt away the day.

Enoteca Naturale: I like it for its outdoor seating in the summer and overall energy.

My favorite places for a cocktail/aperitivo in Milan (yes, they all have Doladira)

Casa Cipriani, Milano: timeless dishes echo the restaurant’s commitment to craftsmanship and elegance. Instagram @casaciprianimilano

Cipriani, Venice: A timeless classic on the waterfront. Instagram: @belmondhotelcipriani

Trippa, Milano: A classic trattoria, simple, informal and with a slightly retro feel,  instagram: @trippamilano

Mandarin Oriental Milan: Fusing chic Italian design with timeless Oriental luxury. instagram: @mo_milan

Terroir Milano: instagram: Terroir Milano is a retail store supporting small and artisanal producers that are yet to be known to the mass market. @terroirmilano

Bar Paradiso, Milan: A hidden secret super cool cocktail bar. Entrance through the “fridge door”, takes you into an amazing beautiful cocktail bar. instagram: @barparadisomilano


My favorite places in the Alps for aprés (and of course have Doladira!)

Rifugio Bioch, Alta Badia: A typical mountain hut, where you can still discover ancient tradition and customs of the alpine population. instagram @rifugio.bioch

Col Alt, Alta Badia: reached by cable car, providing you with breathtaking views of the Dolomites and incredible food. instagram

Hotel Majun, Alta Badia Creative, seasonal Ladin dishes in combination with Italian cuisine represents the gold standard in the gourmet scene of Alta Badia. instagram: @hotelmajun

La Perla Hotel, Corvara: An absolute classic in the Dolomites @laperlacorvara 

Ladinia, Corvara: A picture perfect alpine refuge in the heart of Dolomites. instagram @berghotelladinia

San Brite, Cortina: 1 Michelin star and 1 green Michelin star restaurant in Cortina d’Ampezzo. instagram: @sanbrite_official

Scotoni, Badia: Based on simple and genuine ingredients, the cuisine  features culinary gems that make guests turn back again and again in order to evoke these authentic and rich flavours, inspired by the Tyrolean traditions.


⁠Doladira derives its best-in-class taste from natural alpine ingredients. Plum, gentian, elderflower, pine, and subtle notes of rosemary unite to create the perfect balance of bitterness, acidity, herbaceousness, and salinity. Its vibrant pink color comes naturally from black carrot and rhubarb, avoiding artificial additives.⁠ Doladira uses no added sugar and contains 60% less sugar than other leading aperitivi. Salute!⁠

Named for both the Dolomites of Northeast Italy and Enrosadira: the rose glow on those mountains as the sun goes down.⁠

What is an APERITIVO?⁠

"Aperitivo" is derived from the Latin aperire, “to open” - this is a drink meant to open the evening before dinner, open our doors to new guests, and open our minds to stimulating conversation.⁠


Ellen Grandjean