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The 10 best shops in the world: #6 Peck, Italian Temple of Gastronomical Delights

In this series, Georgia Barretta, design director of Geometry Global, takes us on a journey through the 10 best shops in the world. Much has been made about the challenges facing the high street, but here we look at the ingenious stores that are delivering an engaging brand experience through stunning store design.

Georgia Barretta, head of design at Geometry Global, is back to resume her tour of the 10 best shops in the world. Today, she's falling in love with an Italian deli...

Peck, Spadari 9, 20123 Milan, Italy

So I might proudly be a little Italian. And female. And therefore increasingly conscious of the impending metamorphose I’m due into one of those lovely but low-to-the-ground, apple-bodied, orecciete thumbing nonas. Here in Milan at Peck, three tall storeys of delicatessen, I am convinced that had I been nourished by its good staff for the last couple of decades already, I would be well on my way to making said transition seamlessly and indeed, with a greedy satisfaction.

I first came across Peck en route to my first Milanese dinner party. Already a disrespectful 45 minutes late, fresh from my predictably tardy ‘Trenitalia’ and almost paralytic with insufficiency of plated bearing. Taxi – straight to infamous deli.

It’s 3pm, that is post close-for-a-kip o’clock and I’m waiting outside for the

second opening of the day. As can be expected, I’m flanked by some solid Italian grannies and a couple of portly chefs. We’re poised for the iron grate to throw its arms open in a warm, pecorino wafting, mortadella speckled, prosciutto wrapped embrace. Ushered into the epicurean safety of an establishment that speaks high-apero’, vending all things deli’ and with the breathy confidence of a hung-and-dried food legacy that’s been cured for a lot longer than me, I purchase my way to ‘dinner guest hero’.

What’s quite special is a swinging kitchen door that teases a glimpse into the vast halls of tray wielding, impeccably-dressed royalto of marinati, stuffi, and wrappi in Pecks’ own kitchens located at the store’s rear. Bravo!

You’d normally equate the aesthetic of this place: cold marble, industrial wrapping dispensers and big, shiny ham with an antiquated food-langue, but here at Peck, it just works. This design nonchalance is the real latin version of epicurean-ism from which the world has derived its food store visual-dialect for decades.

There’s a deliberate insouciance about its design approach that somehow manages to make the whole visual experience merely a natural fall out from prioritising quality gastronome over any flimsy veneer of deli-pastiche.

What is certainly true, is that said quality hones into view when framed by white tuxedoed butchers and the rigour of cling-filming thrice-wrapped salsice.

This one makes my top ten for not being an oft-referenced-and-knows-it retail experience, but one where shifting product still happens none the less. Where service is as trained as it should be, and where the pickled anchovies and sweating lardo are bloody sexy. There’s something to be said for modesty. For being talked about, celebrated and bought from, and without all the teenage posturing of an SMP.

To me, Peck is where the word deli got its flavour. And I’m buying my swag from the source. Si!

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