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A Tour Through the Food-Themed Pavilions of Expo Milano 2015

Spending an entire Sunday at the expansive World's Fair.

Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

The Expo Milano 2015 — more commonly known as this year's World's Fair — has a big theme: "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life." With a focus on food and agriculture, participating countries have brought stunning pavilions to life. Themes like urban farming and sustainability are manifest in the many living walls and recycled materials throughout the fair. Eater photographer Rob Gullixson spent a Sunday exploring the grounds, finding unexpected moments of quiet at the often-slammed event.

The French pavilion (as promised) is an intricate and airy marketplace that integrates food directly into its design. Wine bottles, dried herbs, and local candies hang from the walls, making a mosaic celebrating French foods. The U.S.A. Pavilion — a collaboration between the James Beard Foundation, the International Culinary Center, and the American Chamber of Commerce in Italy — is impressive too, with its vertical farm and Obama-starring computer displays. But the real draw here is the fleet of food trucks, which have had extremely long lines so far. The trucks serve quintessentially American fare like lobster rolls and burgers, under the broad oversight of the U.S.A. Pavilion chief creative officer and James Beard Foundation executive vice president Mitchell Davis.

The Expo Milano continues through October, so visitors take note: Sundays are a great, relatively uncrowded day to check it out. Check out a Sunday at the fair in the gallery above.