After considering Wolf, Lacanche, Delaubrac, La Cornue, Molteni and Diva de Provence, I decided I really wanted something with a little less technology, an old-fashioned look, and definitely--side opening doors. (I absolutely loathe climbing into a hot oven, dangerously straddling the door to pull out a heavy dish of boiling liquid or a giant turkey!) So that's when the AGA came into the picture.
AGAs are amazing! Cast iron, no switches/knobs, engineered to last for generations, multiple fuel options, large-capacity, not to mention, delicious food AND smart side-opening doors!!
Handcrafted in the UK, AGAs have a cult following by celebrities, professional cooks and lovers of good ole' fashioned, intuitive cooking. And it's understandable why. They do everything a basic stove does...but better! You never burn anything, the textures are phenomenal and the moisture stays IN your food.
Basically the AGA cookers operate on "radiant heat" which means the cooker stays on 24 hours a day, so you're ready to cook anytime. The cookers have 2-4 cast-iron oven compartments that maintain an efficient, steady heat (choice of multiple fuel options). The ovens are deceptively big and you can use every square inch of space, without worrying about the flavors mingling in your prized dishes. Ovens are designed to roast, bake, steam and slow cook--simultaneously!
Taking the place of those awful coil burners on conventional stoves are 2 large hotplates with safety covers. Also multi-functional, they boil, fry, simmer, grill, stir fry, griddle and even toast. If you are out of town a lot or really want something higher tech, you could spring for the Total Control model, which has a state-of-the-art touch-screen controlled by a futuristic remote control. Super convenient, super efficient, super eco-friendly.
The only issue I have right now is the 5,000-10,000+ price tag. Maybe I will win the lottery or find a beautiful refurbished AGA and give it a good home someday.
Check them out for yourself at: www.aga-ranges.com. They also have a cute blog-style site: www.agaliving.com.
Note: AGAs also sell conventional ranges, dishwashers, fridges, wine cellars, cookware and woodfire stoves. I chose to highlight the traditional cooker.