Smeg is unashamedly looking to out-retro the KitchenAid Artisan Classic Blender with the sumptuous and classy BLF01.
It has curves, chrome and thick gloss paint in abundance, but it's also packing modern smarts in the form of three preset programs and a self-cleaning function.
The Smeg BLF01's price puts it firmly in premium territory, though, so can its blending power justify the cost?
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If you're familiar with Smeg's iconic fridges, you'll know what to expect from the BLF01's design. Imagine a 1953 Cadillac Eldorado pressed into the mould of a blender, and then add some even smoother curves and a little more polish.
The glossy paintwork is available in a range of typically retro colours: cream, red, pastel blue, pastel green and pink, as well as the more sober silver and black.
On the side of the incredibly hefty base is a control knob for selecting the smoothie and ice-crushing presets, as well as the four standard speeds. In the middle of the knob is the start button, and above it is the pulse button.
Beneath the base is a simple cable tidy, which works well enough for coiling up any excess of the 1m-long power cord.
The jug is a sturdy 1.5-litre number that's dishwasher-safe and simply sits in the recess on the top of the base. It has a twist-fit lid with a measuring cup that plugs firmly into the pouring hole. The measuring cup also cleverly doubles as a tool for unscrewing the blade from the bottom of the jug for thorough cleaning.
I began by crushing a little ice using the preset – simply rotating the knob to the ice setting and pressing the start button. Just over 50 seconds later, the lumps of ice had mostly been reduced to fluffy white snow, with a few larger chunks left around the outside. No problems there.
Moving onto the smoothie mode, I dropped some banana, apple and yoghurt into the jug and selected the preset. Exactly 60 seconds of alternating fast-slow blending later, I had a smoothie of impeccable consistency. No chunks whatsoever, just creamy, fruity goodness.
Although there's no dedicated soup-making program, varying between the two top-speed settings did an admirable job of smoothly blending an assortment of cooked vegetables into a perfect soup.
Cleaning is simply a matter of either unscrewing the blade from the bottom of the jug and giving everything a hand-wash or a run through the dishwasher, or using the self-cleaning option. The latter isn't really a program, but simply involves filling the jug with warm water and detergent, starting the blender on its slowest setting and then pressing the Pulse button about 10 times. It does a decent job, but the jug still needed a rinse therafter.
More sumptuous than the KitchenAid Artisan Classic, but equally capable in pure blending terms, the Smeg BLF01 would be right at home in any retro-chic kitchen. It also feels like it will last a lifetime and can easily be cleaned, whether by using the self-cleaning option or taking it apart and popping it in the dishwasher.
If you're interested in function and not so bothered by form, you should consider the cheaper, but far less pretty Braun JB 5160. Another alternative is the KitchenAid Artisan Diamond, an updated version of the Classic with a larger, plastic jug and a Hot Food function.
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A gorgeous retro blender that's been built to survive the apocalypse – and it makes a mean smoothie to boot.