Addicted to Cookware? ‘fraid I am.
Addictions are normally known as dangerous, bad, even evil. But I think my addiction has helped me, fulfilled my urge as a ‘homemaker’, a provider to those I love, and also given me a great deal of fun.
Since I was a little girl, I just loved all the odd gadgets that my Mum had stashed in her kitchen drawers and cupboards. I used to rifle through them, and play with all the weird and wonderful implements I could find with pastry off-cuts, bake tiny bread in tiny bread tins or bash some poor food to smithereens with a wooden spoon or something similar.
Ecology Kitchen Utensils – with Bamboo Handles
As I grew older, I used to trot around Hull with Mum and the biggest thrill was going up the stairs to an ‘Aladdin’s cave’, a shop called The Balloon Stores (for more about my early influences in Cooking and Cookware, see “About Us” in the Menu bar).
Then as a teenager, on the odd adventure to London, I discovered the shop that to me seemed the cook’s cook shop, Divertimenti. Whenever we went to London, I always popped into this wonderful cook shop, and purchased tiny wooden spoons, little pastry moulds, just anything I could afford, because I was addicted to cookware.
Mini Porcelain Vessels – just can’t resist these
Years later, as a cookware addict I entered the realms of dreams, as the owner of my very own cook shop,“Kitchen Emporium”, in Beverley, East Yorkshire. Whenever Erik and I visited London, we would do a retail ‘recce’ to Harrods Cookware department, Peter Jones in Sloane Square, David Mellor, (the Designer, not the politician), The Conran Shop, and the best of all, Divertimenti. Erik had to tell me off, because I couldn’t stand untidy shop displays, and I would start to straighten up the pans on the shelves, as if it were my own shop. And he also had to drag me out of Divertimenti – I just loved it so much. But as we travelled back to Beverley, we would muse over what we had seen, and take pride in the fact that our “Kitchen Emporium” had more ranges of pans than Harrods, was better displayed than Peter Jones, but “Divertimenti”, now, that was the real cook’s cook shop.
When I worked at The Aga Shop in Beverley, Aga were just beginning to enlarge their own cookware, and only recently I discovered that Divertimenti is now owned by AGA Rangemaster Ltd., which makes sense. Included in their vast range of cookware, they also stock the cookware specifically made for Rangemaster, AGA and the superb La Cornue ovens. Although their products are of a very high quality, and therefore not the cheapest, they do have frequent Special Offers – in fact, on their website they have ‘Subscribe to Offers’ section. With over 4,500 products (and growing all the time) the range of goods at Divertimenti is just incredible for cooks, whether professional, a talented home cook or a cook complete with L plates.
Knife Block and Stand – Very Handsome!
So imagine then my thrill at Divertimenti agreeing to become one of our Merchants for our Shopping Emporium. With their amazing collection of quality Cookware, Kitchenware, Knives & Boards, Bakeware & Sugarcraft, Electricals, Tableware, plus Cookery classes, some with top chefs, this is a dream come true for me. (If only I lived in or near London I think I would live in this wonderful shop).
Take the Cookware, for instance. Names like Cristel, All-Clad, Fissler and SKK, Le Creuset, all well-designed, practical and top quality Cookware. Then add my favourite, Copper Cookware. Loved by professionals, this substantial cookware is, obviously, made of Copper, most pieces lined with Stainless Steel, which lasts a lot longer than the tin that used to line it years ago. But if you have old Copper cookware that does need re-tinning, Divertimenti will do it for you. This Copper Cookware is quality, and the quality is reflected in the price, but a piece of this cookware is an heirloom piece, it should last for ever. Erik bought me a small Copper Sauteuse a few years ago, and I love using it for reducing sauces. This picture on the right is a Saute Pan, part of Divertimenti’s vast collection of Cooper Cookware, which from my own experience is absolutely brilliant to use.
Divertimenti’s choice of Tableware is vast. Plenty of plain white Tableware, in every shape possible. Bowls, platters, plates, jugs, flan dishes, square dishes, and one of my favourites, Mini Dishes and Vessels (pictured earlier). But of special interest is the Tulip Tableware (pictured above) by the British Designer Nick Munro, and his wife, Ali, who have designed ranges especially for the company, based on images from Ali’s paintings. Another Tableware range I love is the Hand Decorated pottery, (the range from Provence is especially superb), in wonderful earthy brown, greens and terracotta, and stunning Mediterranean colours. Jugs, Platters, Salad Bowls, small bowls, Oil and Vinegar jars and plates – it’s a real pleasure to browse this section.Pottery des Beaumettes – I just love all of these pieces, especially the Jug. I have a thing about jugs.
The section for Bakeware & Sugarcraft is a dream section for cooks and bakers alike. Every shape of cutter, cake tin, flan tin, muffin tins and cases, cake decorating tools and icing and toppings plus icing cutters and presses – plus tools for aiding bakers. I’ve just had such fun looking through it all, and it makes your imagination work overtime just planning your next baking session. “Ummm, will it be Morroccan Orange Cake, Spiced Apple Tart or tiny Chocolate and Chilli Cupcakes. Maybe all three?”
Our site covers quite a spectrum of food-related topics. Food, Wine, Outdoor Cooking, Kitchen Garden, Reviews, Adventures, Photography and, after we had been blogging for a while, The Emporium – Go Shopping, which just sort of evolved as we wrote blogs about subjects and people we admire. Some companies got back to us and said that they enjoyed all the free publicity I was giving them, but wouldn’t I like to earn a tiny bit of commission if readers bought the goods by contacting them through our site. It did seem crazy to not take up their offers.
But that doesn’t colour our blog writing. The Merchants we deal with are listed under the Menu title, The Emporium – Go Shopping. Yet we write about all sorts of subjects, people and products and give you the links to find out more information even though we don’t have a financial link to them. In the blog on Pans, I mention my own favourite brand, and gave readers the link to David Mellor, who isn’t one of our Merchants (but I wish they were). Where we are linked to companies or people (such as my son, Anthony, of Face Publications) we feel we have to make it plain to our readers.
So there you are. You now know my secret, if you hadn’t already guessed. Addicted to Cookware? ‘fraid I am.
(All the Heading, e.g. Cookware, Knives & Boards etc are in the BLUE Menu bar on Divertimenti’s home page. Just click on the title you want to look at, and have a great time looking. I did.)