Approximately 10 years ago I spent a weekend in Cinque Terre, Italy with my girlfriends. We stayed in this gorgeous little guesthouse, ate amazing food and explored the beautiful surrounding villages. I brought back to London not a fridge magnet or tea towel but a terracotta risotto pan. I had never seen one of these before but was assured that it would help me create the creamiest tastiest risotto ever. So never one to turn down a tool which could result in culinary heaven, I bought it. The fact that it was also very beautiful helped me part with my euros. To this day I still use this pan and although I'm biased, I do think my risotto tastes pretty fine.
Earlier this year I spied in the Conran shop a similar, although far more beautiful and contemporary range of ceramic cookware. Designed by Stefania Vasques for Sambonet, the 'TerraCotto' cookware collection was inspired by the Italian tradition of cooking with terracotta cookware. The material which is fireproof and clay based, results in a gradual diffusion of heat which enhances flavours. Interestingly the pots are also dishwasher safe.
Stefania who originates from Sicily has also compiled some of her grandmothers favourite recipes to be included with each pot purchased. The pots are available via the Rosenthal website or in London from both The Conran Shop and TwentyTwentyOne