Cookware Couture For Elegant Foodies
A Dinner Invitation Not to be Missed
By Allyson Volpe
With its unrivalled craftsmanship, choice gastronomy, and seasonal ingredients, Florence is a city that continues to entice the culinary imagination and its ritual of fine dining around the table. Florence based Cookware Couture is one of the rising stars of today’s culinary experience. Launching its 100 percent silver cookware line, Cookware Couture takes its hand-crafted design inspiration from the world-famous history of Florentine artisans who have fashioned the gleaming prized silver since Renaissance times.
When creating their silver cookware, both founders Petra Casini and Laura Shadden, took inspiration from the great historical lineage of Florentine design and silversmith tradition. Both ladies are firm believers in the bottega (workshop), employing the dedication and expertise of Florentine artisans, working with them, and valuing their finely tuned craftsmanship. The passion underlying Florentine craftsmanship is undeniable in the beautifully hand-made Cookware Couture creations, which exude this sort of authentic time honoured expertise in a very modern way.
Teaming up to join forces, Laura Shadden, a Californian native and design consultant in the fashion industry, and Petra Casini, a German native that hails from a family of stone cutters, gemologists and jewelers, began collaborating eight years ago for a mutual client. Gradually, they began realizing their collective potential, love of cooking, and passion for the Tuscan way of life. The idea of creating a silver cookware line become a reality with the launch of their Cookware Couture in 2017. Although Shadden and Casini have fashioned a very unique line of cookware that is setting an important trend in the kitchen, and may become the tour de force in healthy eating and sustainability, they have never lost sight of the innovative backbone of Florence nor its enduring authenticity.
Since Renaissance times, the roots of the elevated epicurean experience can be attributed to the powerful Medici empire in Florence as well as to the papal and ecclesiastical courts throughout the regions. The ritual of dining was like a grand theatre in itself, with some banquets lasting for days on end. Their orchestration was not only to astound but to elevate all the senses.
The Medici commissioned the best artisans of the day to fashion materials such as gold, silver and crystal into precious objects for the table that would create a grand effect for their esteemed guests. The glowing candlelight offered the illumination of each object with astounding beauty. New codes of conduct and manners gradually developed at the table as dining theatrics gradually became an artform. It was Catherine de Medici who first introduced the fork from Florence to the aristocratic tables of France, thus further elevating the gentility of the dining experience.
“We know that the Renaissance mentality not only embraced the elegant presentation of food, but it was becoming knowledgeable about food hygiene and the anti-bacterial properties of silver,” explains Shadden. “We created our hand-made cookware using silver, as it is an unrivaled healthy cooking choice and truly preserves the natural flavours of the food.”
Embracing the modern-day food culture, the luxurious hand-crafted Cookware Couture creations are a healthier option to use as silver does not leach harmful toxins into the food, thus the essence of the taste is accentuated instead of diminished. For today’s modern foodies who spend increasing amounts on zero-kilometre organic food, the silver cookware seems the perfect vehicle to truly get the most from the precious edibles.
Although the extravagance of Renaissance banquets are now happenings of the past, the importance of silver cookware and its presentation at a table is no less irrelevant. “With our stove to table silver cookware, the table is instantly transformed into something quite magical,” explains Casini. “The Florentines still have a great affinity for entertaining at home, bringing people together in a traditional setting to celebrate the craft of conversation and sumptuous food alla tavola.”
With this in mind, Shadden and Casini made a decision to extend their cookware line from its conventional retail setting to their exceptional gastronomic happenings called “Divine Dinners”. The luxuriant evenings are unique experiences organized by Cookware Couture to allow clients to host a meal of their choice prepared in the silver cookware by a private chef. “Clients may choose to host the dinner in their intimate home setting or to create the dinner at some other fabulous venue, which in Florence, one is spoilt for choice with its many remarkable locations and vistas,” Shadden explains. “We are here to spark imaginations to create an amazing evening for the guests. The possibilities are endless.”
The artful meals are intended to pique the imagination, triggering connoisseur curiosity and sensualist delight. As the food is presented at the table, the gleaming visual effects are achieved, as in the tables of old, by the luminosity of the silver reflecting the candles, crystal and settings. The flavours and aromas of the foods prepared in each dish are usually a welcome tease to the taste buds. There is even a ‘taste test’ on offer to compare those foods cooked using the silver cookware versus the same dish cooked in a stainless pan which unreservedly becomes part of the evening’s entertainment and novelty.
The sounds of the animated conversations rise and fall around the table, especially as each course is presented by the chef. The overall impression achieved leaves one feeling that they have experienced a new level of epicurean delight where haute cuisine meets culinary couture.
Allyson Volpe is a culture & lifestyle writer who loves to tell the authentic stories of people who are living their passion and creativity.
Photos © Cookware Couture