My friend Judith and I visited a stone yard yesterday. We were looking for slabs to use in our kitchens for working with bread dough, pastries and crusts. My new kitchen doesn't have the wonderful large granite island that my last space had. And there is only so long one can go without pie.
Can I just say that we died and went to heaven? Everywhere we looked there was a piece of marble or granite more gorgeous than the next.
There were other stones, too, like travertine and onyx. The onyx was incredible; that's a big piece of it, below. It has a translucent gem-like quality. The onyx is more fragile than the other stones, though, and not as good a choice for a work surface.
We were told that most bakers come in looking for white marble, and the white marble was beautiful, but the colors and patterns of the other stones were so tempting it was a real challenge to come to a decision.
The surface of the stone can be either honed or polished. The honed surface is matte, like the surface of Greek sculpture. Bakers often prefer it because it doesn't show scratches. The polished surface highlights the colors and designs of the stone so much better, though.
The pieces are thick and very heavy, so they make the perfect cool nonstick surface for working with dough. The nice thing about 'shopping' at the stone yard is that they have tons (literally!) of scraps and leftover bits from larger jobs hanging around that are just perfect for use in the kitchen. They will cut the pieces to your specifications and polish them for you, and the cost was very reasonable.
This is Leonardo, namesake and grandson of the owner of the stone yard. He was very knowledgeable and patient with the two of us who couldn't stop squealing over each and every piece of stone (ok, I did the squealing, Judith was more composed) and kept asking him if he wouldn't mind hauling out just one more piece for us to see from in between the monolithic stacks.
The piece I finally chose is a green granite, with lots of greys and browns swirling around it. The size is 20x23 which was partly determined by the size of the original remnant. Judith chose a beautiful delicately veined white marble. We both went for polished.
We picked up a few smaller pieces and shards as well, they make really nice cheese plates... ;)