Kitchens are special places – and in today’s modern homes and apartment set-ups, they assume an even more important role. Kitchens are not just for cooking anymore, they are not hidden away as they once used to be. Rather, they are part of a focal area of a home especially if they are part and parcel of a living/dining/kitchen combo that allows the family owners to share their communal spaces with each other at all times of day and even with visitors when these turn up.
Once a kitchen forms part of a focal area within the home, it takes on an added dimension. It transforms from a simple cooking space to a central point of attraction and it is understandable thus that kitchen designs have developed to the extent that they have. Yet, of particular importance to any kitchen are the accessories used to fill it up. These need be not merely practical utensils but also beautifully made and designed items that to allow us to enjoy their appearance as well as their utility to our cooking tasks.
In order to unearth some simple yet handy accessories that can add a dash of style to any kitchen without breaking the bank, I head to Sliema High Street’s own branch of Retroforma, a fabric and wallpaper company originating from Lithuania. This is the first Retroforma branch to open on the islands and its ware are pretty convenient and stylish in a unique and faintly nordic style. One of the key items sold at this shop is the kitchen towel. Kitchen towels in stock are custom-made for Retroforma and come in varied dimensions. However they are all rigorously handmade from 100 % natural linen or from a linen and cotton blend. The towels, whose prices range from Euro 8 to Euro 10, come in block colours or in a striped format of such neutral colours as beige, blue or black. Thus they combine well and can easily complement most colour schemes. The fantastic thing is that the kitchen towel range can be easily paired off with matching aprons with the apron price range fluctuating between Euro 25 and Euro 27.
Then I clap my eyes on something so traditionally Maltese that I cannot miss it, yet which has characteristics that allow it to mingle well with most style. The ‘żingla’ which is a very old Mediterranean utilitarian invention, is a glazed earthenware bowl distinguishable by its ‘overturned triangle’ shape. It comes in varied colours and sizes with a small size being barely 14cm in diameter to the extra large version which spans 31cm in diameter. These are available in red, green, black and blue and their prices fluctuate considerably according to the size selected. The bowls are excellent for mixing ingredients as well as for presenting anything ranging from a small dip to a cereal or a salad, or for serving individual portions of soups and pasta dishes. The fun aspect is that one can mix and match different colours and sizes of the ‘żingla’ on the same dinner table for a very Retro effect, without losing out on impact.