PizzaExpress is a restaurant group with over 400 restaurants across the United Kingdom and 40 overseas in Europe, Hong Kong, India and the Middle East. It was founded in 1965 by Peter Boizot. In July 2014 the group was sold to the China-based private equity firm Hony Capital in a deal worth £900 million ($1.54 billion).
Founded in 1965 by Peter Boizot, PizzaExpress opened its first restaurant in London's Wardour Street. Inspired by a trip to Italy, Boizot brought back to London a pizza oven from Naples and a chef from Sicily.
In 1995, PizzaExpress expanded into Ireland and currently operates 14 restaurants there under the brand name Milano. The company also owns the brand name Marzano. Originally Marzano was used in countries where the brand name Pizza Express was not available, as with the use of the name Milano in Ireland, but it also exists in some territories, such as Cyprus, to differentiate between the restaurants selling primarily pizza and those offering a wider range of non-pizza meals inspired by Italy. It is also used for a cafe-bar run as an adjunct to the branch of Pizza Express in The Forum in Norwich, "Cafe Bar Marzano".
Milano cookies are a trademarked dessert manufactured by Pepperidge Farm as part of their series of "European" cookies. Each cookie consists of a thin layer of chocolate sandwiched between two biscuit cookies.
The Milano was created as a result of Pepperidge Farm's original cookie concept, the Naples, which was a single vanilla wafer cookie with dark chocolate filling topping it. The problem this posed was that Naples cookies would end up stuck together when shipped to and sold in warmer climates. The company resolved the problem by sandwiching Naples cookies together, creating the new Milano variety.
The original variety used a filling of dark chocolate. Many additional varieties have since been marketed, such as milk chocolate and double chocolate; other flavors include a layer of mint or sweet orange paste in addition to some form of chocolate.
Milano cookies have primarily been marketed towards adults, as an indulgence food, rather than children. Aside from being a processed food and using processed sugar, Milano cookies are made using partially hydrogenated oils of varying kinds.
The main peculiarity of Milano Due is a system of walkways and bridges that connects the whole neighborhood, so that it is possible to walk around without ever intersecting traffic. It was marketed as a residential neighborhood for families of the upper middle class with children.
The works started in 1970, and were completed in 1979. Distinctive landmarks are the sporting facilities, a small artificial lake (il laghetto) and a children's playground.
Milano Due also hosted the headquarters of the first Italian private television channel, TeleMilano, a small cable network who started broadcasting in the area in 1974. It later evolved into Canale 5, the first national private TV station.