Aria is a new line-up of appliances from Indesit with heavy emphasis on style and function. The £399 Indesit Aria VID 641 BC Induction Hob is one of their flagship models. It features dual cooking zones for larger pans or even dishes, boost function, a timer, touch controls and a 10 year guarantee on parts. So is it the right induction hob for your kitchen at quite a competitive price point for its feature set?
Like most hobs, this is an all black affair that is aesthetically pleasing to look at, with light illustrations for cooking zones and controls; and, of course, no physical buttons cluttering the sweeping glass surface heightens the appeal. Our small, medium and large pan set all found homes in the various accommodating zones on this hob.
Not ubiquitous yet in this segment is this frameless design. In the world of home cooking such a concept is still a hotly debated topic in terms of cleanliness and the amount of wear they can take over time. We can safely say that the lack of a stainless steel frame on this Indesit model makes cleaning more straightforward, and it’s good that we don’t need to get the stainless steel cleaner out to keep the edge shiny. Instead, we wipe down the hob after most operations, but give a deeper clean with ceramic hob cleaner every 3-4 days. This takes a non troubling 1-2 minutes to do properly, so it’s absolutely smear free and the ceramic doesn’t ever have a problem where food is baked on. In terms of scratching or chipped corners: again the ceramic surface has been robust from our general use, with pans being dragged off and on the surface - we have no issues to report.
Each ring has its corresponding 9 power settings; passing level 9 leads to a ‘P’ appearing which indicates power boost. Each zone is controlled by plus and minus buttons, and pleasingly the entire control strip is a real gem to operate (but collects more fingerprints than Sherlock Holmes). It registers most light touches and is usually successful at understanding commands from damp fingers too. The flexible bridge zone on the right is engaged by holding down the middle plus and minus controls which then instruct a unison temperature, or you can choose to turn this off and cook at different temperatures within the same zone. The integrated timer is one of our favourite features on this Indesit hob, it's easy to programme using the centre plus and minus buttons and is super handy for timing things like pasta and rice.
Stir Fry: The beauty of induction cooking is the rapidity of response when you adjust the temperature. When we spotted the oil starting to spit out of the pan whilst cooking our stir fry, we just tapped the temperature down button and with immediate effect the fat stopped spitting. A traditional ceramic hob, with an embedded element, lags in response in these circumstances. The Indesit Aria VID 641 BC Hob is a fantastic example that induction cooking really does have the quick response of gas but with the clean simplicity of electric.
Fried Eggs: Here we were looking for no shrinkage, a runny yolk and set whites. The catch twenty-two though is when introducing the cracked eggs into the frying pan we need a high temperature, but fairly soon after this step the temperature needs to be brought down in order to set the whites yet leave the yolks runny. Here, with the direct route of heat from induction, we were able to get the high heat dissipated out of the pan fairly quickly so the eggs didn’t shrink and were just how they should be for our lunchtime sandwich.
Pancakes: This is a simple demonstration to illustrate evenness of heat dissipation at lower power settings in the 3-4 area. Multiple pancakes in the same pan were evenly browned and what’s more the regularity of temperature at these lower levels allowed each pancake to rise and gain a satisfyingly fluffy interior.
Melting Chocolate Bain-marie Style: To start with we headed straight for the boost function to get our 400ml of cold water up to that gentle simmer which took no more than 60 seconds. In this test we looked to achieve a glossy finish with this chocolate once it had set on a marble cake. To obtain this we needed to hold a highly precise temperature range, which the Indesit Aria VID 641 BC Induction Hob proved itself reliable in doing. It didn’t differ more than 2-3 degrees and that glossy finish was successful!
Indesit induction cooking comes with advantage after advantage. Nice controls, a handy bridge cooking zone, the precise and responsive heat control that you usually associate with gas, and the simple to clean all glass design. Furthermore, in a world with increasing electric bills, there’s a real economic and environmental case to be made too, as this induction hob consumes around 40% less energy than the equivalent non-induction ceramic type hob.