Antwerps Kookhuis is a wonderful cooking utensil store in the beautiful city of Antwerp in Belgium. It is a huge store which stocks all the marvels a passionate cook or a chef would dream about. The staff is very helpful and friendly.
I will take you through the store and show you the treasures I brought back in my suitcase.
Antwerp is a city worth a visit for its fabulous architecture, its easy bike rides (you can rent a bike for a very small price anywhere) and its gorgeous beer…
This is the main square very busy for the Tour de France.
Where do I start…
This is the “smoking” table. You will find all sorts of smokers, wood chips of all imaginable types of wood, books, strange sieve looking smoking utensils.
There is an incredible collection of wooden utensils in this store. A lot of them I had no idea what they were for. I started to ask the staff and it ended up in a group discussion and lots of giggle fits. Such an unforgettable moment!
Above, you can see very cheap little wooden spoons for salt jars and spices.
These 1.5 Euros spoons are so tiny and cute, impossible to resist.
You can also find “pinces à cornichon” or gherkin thongs, spoons with holes, fork looking utensils, wooden whisks and other unidentifiable object ;)
Talking about whisks… I only took a tiny photo but the “whisk aisle” was massive… From the Barbie size whisk to the Shrek ones. You can find the classic metal ones and the silicon versions.
Took me ages to guess what these were for… and I still cannot figure out how to use the one I bought! But I love this object. It is a strawberry spoon mind you… With the tip of the handle you dig into the fruit to get rid of the peduncle. With the strange teethed part you dig a hole in the fruit probably to pour some chocolate or jelly…
I loved the sieve section and felt a bit stupid at the cookbook section… I don’t speak Flemish…
This is the astronomical salt and pepper section… I still cannot believe how many different grinders this shop has to offer.
I was wondering what that was. I thought it could be for serving spaghetti… but yesterday, for the first time ever I watched a Nigella show on SBS replay (I know, I was the last person on the planet who didn’t know Nigella…) and I saw her use this spoon to toss her salad! The tiny olive tree wood ones with holes in them are used for pickles or large olives.
These are ravioli cutters made in Italy. The looked gorgeous! I bought three…
Here is the pots and pans section, all bright and shiny. I love their copper collection. It’s beautiful.
In another room, you can find the knife and boards sections and a bit farther, the pastry section.
There is an intimidating collection of moulds, silicon and metal, classic and crazy. You will find absolutely all sizes and shapes.
How gorgeous are these moulds and the icing’s bright colours! See the wooden moulds under the icing? The make the most amazing looking Christmas biscuits.
The knives section was also very impressive. Not only because of the eminent brands they are selling but also because of the prices of some of them (a few thousands…).
Of course they had the chopping board of my dreams… a very large one with deep groves so you don’t get the meat juices on your shoes after 3 minutes… But you’ll see below that I had already gone beyond my traveller’s limit.
These moulds are silicon second generation: you know, when the manufacturers realised that you couldn’t carry their moulds in the oven without spilling 50% of the dough in your kitchen and on your oven door. So these have a metal ring that maintains the mould flat. Such a bright idea!
Just next to the soft moulds, the metal collection. I already have too many photos of that store so I cannot show you the extend of this… Look only at the Gingerbread house style mould on the bottom shelf (right). Lucky I don’t live in Antwerp… I would need to buy a large castle to fit my tools…
Of course they also sell the classics. As you have already guessed, the choice is vast…
You will also find classic and chic dishes and plates to display your masterpieces.
There is a large coffee section with beautiful machines and creative cups.
I regret not to have bought a few of these cake rings. They are so useful and hard to find in some shapes such as the hexagonal one in the middle or rectangular ones.
There was an extensive Belgian fries makers. Well, you’re in the heart of Belgium after all. Lucky my Magimix Cook Expert has a “French fries” accessory (well… Magimix is French after all…) so I didn’t get tempted.
Antwerps Kookhuis sells machines of all sorts with a majority of Magimix, KitchenAid and Smeg.
The photo is horrific… Sorry about that, but by the time I had taken all the others, I had a mob of friends standing arms crossed by the door waiting for me…
OK now, it’s time to confess… This is my “hunting board” as we say in French. It refers to the hunter’s display of killings… Well this is what I caught that day… Starting from the top, left to right, line by line:
– a sort of wooden fork I don’t even know what it is for but I loved it and am sure I will find a use for it; a star shaped piece of wood on a stick, another mystery, you can put it between your palms and rub fast, it makes a hand-made frappé hehehe or maybe you can poke little starts in dough… who knows; a folded spoon for honey or jam; a small round ravioli cutter.
– an almond shaped ravioli cutter and a gorgeous heart shapes one; two horn spoons, expensive but beautiful, my favourite tool of the lot: a double sided olive spoon! My friends said it was the most useless utensil they had ever seen. I don’t agree… I find fishing for olives in narrow jars a challenge because my deep spoons are too large and my smaller spoons are too shallow so the olives fall back in the jar. I have to put my fingers in it which is very unhygienic… I convince half of the crowd. Then when it came to the two sided part of the object, people laughed… if you have a large olive side, why would you need a small olive side? You can definitely grab a small olive with the large one! I was stuck… Back home in Burgundy I submitted this serious problem to my Dad. He told me that nothing would be worse than grab more than one mini olive with the large side, it would go back to the shallow spoon problem, it would grab several and let them fall. And what if you wanted only one small olive?
As you can tell we had fascinating discussions ;)
– two mini wooden spoons to serve cute sauces; strawberry spoon (see 21 photos above); a mini roll, this is genius, you can roll your pastry in the mould itself, which you can’t do with a large classic rolling pin. If you are into gluten free pastry or crust with nuts or legumes or cauliflower which are impossible to spread outside the mould, you can put your pastry in the mould and roll. Same with cheese cakes… I love it; a strange bent spoon for honey and jam; two spice spoons, used also for sugar or salt.
Last but not least, this is the jewel in the crown :) and a nightmare to carry all around Europe and then to Australia… It is a large (very large) and heavy (very heavy) block of Himalayan pink salt. I saw this when I visited my friend Ivan (an Aussie expat in Antwerp) and his kitchen. He knows my guilty habit of collecting kitchen treasures. So as soon as I came into his apartment, he opened a cupboard and pulled this out, handed it to me. I wasn’t expecting such a heavy weight and nearly dropped it.
He said that it was the best thing he bought in ages. It is used as a wooden board and display dish. You can serve your sushis on it, a salad or freshly cut veggies, a fish, a steak, etc. It is pretty but also adds a subtle amount of salt to your dish. You can also use it in the oven if you make sure to slowly increase and decrease the temperature.
When I came back to Australia I was so proud of my find. I showed it to a fair dinkum Aussie and he said: yeah, I know this stuff, it’s like the salt stones you give the sheep to lick… they’re everywhere…. pppheewww…
You can find this stone in Sydney at “Salt Meats Cheese”.
Anyway after all this geeky excitement we visited Antwerp for the second time and it was beautiful.
If you have any idea of use for those tools, let me know!
Terninckstraat 1 (hoek Kasteelpleinstraat)
Antwerps Kookhuis’ website