By Jo Cooksey
We all know the kitchen is the heart of most homes, a place to eat, to chat, to share and make memories. No matter how large or small, it is a place to gather and entertain.
No one knows this better than Stefano de Blasio and his family, who for the past 40 years have been designing and fitting kitchens. For the past 25 years their firm, based in a rural part of Cheshire, have delivered over 12,000 kitchens in 10 countries.
They have recently taken the time to re-vamp their showrooms and part of this project has been to install a fully working demonstration kitchen, in order to offer customers, past, present and prospective, a more practical demonstration.
In order to show off this new installation they recently invited customers, suppliers, bloggers and writers along to the showroom to watch a demonstration of Italian dishes, cooked by an Italian chef they had flown in especially for the event from Rome.
Chef Antonia demonstrated 2 dishes on the day but had also made a delicious assortment of canapés and Sicillian sweet almond biscuits. The first dish was Spaghetti All’ Amatriciana, a tomato based sauce combined with Guanciale , (cured meat from the cheek of the pig), chilli, pecorino cheese and white wine. Once cooked Chef Antonia and her nephew Gino dished it up to the salivating crowd. A simple yet scrumptious dish that will doubtless become a staple in our house, even though I will probably have to substitute the Gianciale with Pancetta.
This was followed my favourite dessert in the whole world, Tiramisu. So passionate am I about this creamy, coffee infused confection that if a restaurant I have dined in doesn’t come up to scratch in this department, then the chances are I won’t go back. Chef Antonia had brought her Savoyard biscuits with her from Italy and these artisan monsters dwarfed our rather insipid looking British ones.
Once assembled the Tiramisu was placed in the fridge to chill and in a Blue Peter ‘here’s one we made earlier’ moment a vast tray of already portioned up bowls appeared. This tiramisu was good; in fact I will go so far as to say it was amazing. So much so that I had seconds and if there had been any left I would have had thirds too.
The de Blasio family were excellent hosts and their showroom is beautiful, full of inspiration for that dream kitchen. In fact, I am already planning the new kitchen I desperately need to replace my current 23-year-old version with its extremely temperamental oven.