Cole & Mason, Adhoc and the Riedel Amadeo 265th Anniversary decanter.
8th May 2021
Last week I promised to talk about some new lines that we’d just had in, so this week I’m going to do just that, starting somewhat illogically with an item that isn’t new, but worthy of mention. So, both the brands I’ll be mentioning today, namely Cole & Mason and Adhoc are now owned by a Swiss company called Diethelm Keller Brands (DKB), who incidentally also own WL (Magican fame) Ken Hom purveyor of woks and Zyliss, the upmarket Swiss kitchen gadget manufacturer. And it’s Zyliss incidentally who make the best, garlic press on the market today. Strangely named the Susie2 it’s still the only one of its type which utilises non-stick throughout the body of the press to make pressing garlic, unpeeled (Yup!) through the tiny non-stick coated holes, bring a smile to your face! It makes you feel the handles of the press are a yard (metre) long such is the apparent mechanical advantage. Terrific! Avoid putting in the dishwasher to prolong its life.
Now, on to Cole & Mason. This brand has had a somewhat chequered history. Back in the 80’s 90’s and early part of this century they made the most god-awful pepper mills which wore out for a pastime. When people started to want to grind their own salt (whatever next… I blame Elizabeth David) they made the movement from nylon because if you put salt in a steel peppermill grinder it will rust up solid in a matter of weeks. So, nylon doesn’t rust but neither is it up to the job of breaking down salt crystals regularly week after week, and as a result they also wore out very quickly. Eventually we stopped stocking Cole& Mason mills altogether because of this problem, for about 10 years (I think). To be scrupulously fair to C&M they weren’t by any means the only people to adopt this approach and there were, and in fact still are, an awful lot of inadequate mills being produced even today. At the time one of my favourite manufacturers, called Peter Piper, made very good pepper mills and ok ish salt mills, albeit still with a nylon movement for salt. The difference being that their movements were replaceable and free of charge, and I recall customers coming in for their salt movements to be replaced which we did very happily for many years. Anyway, about 10 or 15 years ago I was tempted back to look at Cole & Mason, at their then, new design of mill movement, because they had not only redesigned the pepper movement but had switched to ceramics for salt. Ceramic as a material for salt (and pepper) wasn’t new even then, but arguably one of the best combinations for pepper and salt mills now is” steel” for pepper and either “ceramic” or “stainless steel” for salt. I am pleased to say that their new movements have been a resounding success and we’ve not had any significant problems since. On top of that they are really nice people and this shows in their after sales service, it’s exemplary.
Cole & Mason Lyndhurst Mills
So back to the new lines. I love wood as a material and am particularly fond of Ash, with its very light pale straw colour and yet distinctive grain. A wood for a modern design I feel. And so, the Cole & Mason Lyndhurst Mills are to my eye a beautiful product. They are made from Ash, and like all the mills we sell these days, work not just for 5 or 10 minutes, but for years and years and in fact have a lifetime guarantee on them. They employ a carbon steel mechanism in the pepper mill. Cole and Mason describe it as the “Gourmet”, has 6 setting fine to coarse, and that it grinds the pepper in a way that does seem to extract the best flavour, surprising, but there’s certainly at least some truth to it. The salt mill has a ceramic movement with 3 pre-set grinding levels. It’s important to remember my earlier warning, that you must not put salt in the pepper movement (it will rust and stop working in a relatively short space of time) and it’s not good to put pepper in the salt either, although the consequences won’t be so dire. The other interesting design feature of the Lyndhurst is that it won’t ever leave a tell-tale sign of where it’s been, as mills do usually, because it is what is referred to in the trade as an “Inverta Mill”. The salt or pepper doesn’t come out of the bottom. Instead, you invert the mill over your food and the grounds come out of the top instead. A neat modern classic. We have an offer on of a pair at £59.99 or you may buy them individually at £45 each, which makes the pair seem like a bargain doesn’t it?
Cole & Mason Derwent and Amesbury Mills
Both these mills, whilst looking very different to the Lyndhurst above, do share the same high quality Gourmet mechanism although they have it fitted in the “normal” place, i.e. the bottom of the body. Actually, the Derwent we’ve done in a larger size for a number of years, but these 6”(157mm) models are a new addition and again very attractive. This time with stainless steel and acrylic bodies that not only look good, but also allow you to see the content’s level at a glance. Same goes for the Amesbury and really, price difference aside, you can safely make your buying decision based on what you like the look of, because all will work supremely well.
Adhoc Profi Mill
Adhoc is one of the more recent acquisitions of DKB, based in Germany they produce expensive, beautifully made products for the kitchen and are particularly strong on mills. They incidentally have chosen a path of just ceramic material for their mills which means that you can put salt or pepper in them with impunity.Now, the Adhoc Profi mill is a rather amazing piece of engineering. Adhoc, being a German company, think their designs through very well and this is reflected in the finished product, and this mill is both unusual whilst also being typical of their approach. They refer to this mill as “high efficiency” and blow me down, it really is that. One full turn of this mill and you’ll find yourself knee deep in pepper. I’m exaggerating of course, wildly, but it really is extremely efficient, as pepper mills go and Adhoc claim it mills up to 4 times more than conventional mills. It looks lovely, if you like a teak coloured wood (it’s actually Acacia Wood which to my eye looks like Teak) and is pretty big (too big perhaps for very small hands or weak arthritic ones). It’s adjustable with eight different settings and has a ceramic movement designed to take salt or pepper for £44.99.
Adhoc Select (Cranked) Mill
Now, having just mentioned Arthritis, I thought the next obvious mill to tell you about is sort of the exact opposite to previous mill. By which I suppose I mean inefficient! It is in fact its geared down by a factor of 4, if my counting’s correct, and coupled with the addition of a cranked handle (adding leverage) for every turn you make of the handle, the movement only turns a quarter of a revolution, meaning the milling of pepper or salt is as effortless as it could be. Nice looking heavy gauge stainless steel and acrylic body, with 12 adjustments between fine and coarse. Great for the smaller, weaker or arthritic hand. It's £39.99.
Cole & Mason Kew Electronic Mill
I’m returning to Cole & Mason for two last products. Their electric mill called Kew. Personally, not my cup of tea from a looks point of view, but if your need is an electric mill that grinds both salt and pepper then the Kew may well fit the bill. It’s powerful having 6 AAA batteries, grinds at modest pace and does the job. When the Reigate team were playing with it (they call it training) on Tuesday morning before we opened, they liked it generally but found the internal cover that goes over the top of the salt and pepper container, a little fiddly to remove. Yours for £39.99.
And lastly, a salt and pepper shaker set. It’s called Bray…not sure why, after the town perhaps, and is just a nice plain design with some weight to it as the body is glass with stainless steel lids. Sold as a pair and shakes salt or pre ground pepper and it’s £9.99. Tip. When I was looking at the Adhoc website earlier I was reminded that when adjusting a mill from a coarse setting to a finer one, you need to clear the movement of the large pieces. To do this invert the mill and twist the movement back a forth a few times which will clear it and now you’ll be able to easily adjust it to your heart’s desire.
Riedel Amadeo Decanter Limited 265 edition
Ok so that is a section of the mostly new pieces from DKB stable. I’ll finish with a new limited addition from Riedel, namely their Amadeo Decanter which they have produced with the 265th anniversary edition logo etched into the base of the decanter, it also comes with decanter beads (to aid cleaning) and one their super microfiber polishing cloths(to dry and polish). It is, I think, the most beautiful of all the decanters that we sell. It’s on the website and in the shops at £495 and because I’d like to get our not inconsiderable stock down a little, for this weekend you can buy it £100 off. Not a steal exactly, but a pretty generous discount none the less! Use code AMADEO265 on the website, or if coming into Reigate or Cobham then let us know you are on the mailing list.