This article is not what I intended it to be about. On my almost monthly trips to London I have my list of usual places I have to visit before leaving. Restaurants, fashion stores, cookbook shops, antiques and farmers markets. I’m always hunting for something I haven’t seen before. Some ingredient or technique that will inspire and motivate me to try something new.
Today, inspiration was everywhere. In my stomping grounds of Chelsea it is the opening day of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. A highlight of the year for many and an institution in the gardening world. The grounds of the Royal Hospital are converted into vignettes of various gardens from all around the world. Participants spend months planning the layout and design that includes flowers and plants from many nations, stone work, outdoor kitchens and whatever the creator’s imagination can create.
To honor the festivities store fronts across the Chelsea area decorated their windows and entrances with breath taking displays of fresh flowers.
The photograph above and below was taken at Cartier. This large flower is made from thousands of smaller ones. The top and bottom of the stem are outside the storefront. The center portion of the flower stem wraps inside the display window and connects back outside to the petals. Amazing! The other photograph is an example of the majestic fresh floral arrangements taken from outside Tiffany & Co.
All of this beauty encouraged me to wander and made me late for what I originally set out to see. I wanted to share with you my favorite cookery store in London. Divertimenti is the kind of store you can lose yourself in. Whether you are a chef or an aspiring one.
Julia Child mentions her enthusiasm for the shop when she would travel to London in her book “My Life in France.” Apparently, she never left empty handed. That fact is enough to draw me in.
When you first enter a large farmhouse table greets you covered with pots filled with goodies. I refer to it as the “chef’s wish list for stocking stuffers.” Wooden spoons of all sizes, gadgets, graters, peelers and honey spoons. The store is filled with cookbooks, luxury food items, treasured chef’s knives, French cookware and tools you’ve never seen before. There is also a demonstration kitchen that hosts an assortment of classes from basic knife skills to specialty topics.
As exciting as this is for me I may be losing you at this point. So, I will get to my main point. Yes, I always pick up a gadget or two but I really come to visit my dream kitchen. The ranges made by La Cornue are proudly displayed.
Each range is custom made to order. You can choose from 24 colors. I have my heart set on the double oven, which measures an astounding 6 feet in length! It’s called the “Grand Palais”, of course. I can’t decide between the Lafayette blue with copper trim and the chocolate with gold trim. There is a solid copper range but that would be a nightmare to clean.
The price tag you ask? Here’s the fun part. It depends on how you customize your order. You can play around with that on line. Mine? 38,000. That’s British pounds. Roughly $56,000. One day, one day….