Read the original article for The Independent.
One of the few pieces of kitchen equipment used every day, a set of freshly ground salt and pepper mills deliver a more intense flavour and can transform almost any meal.
Peugeot built the first pepper mill with a metal grinder in 1842 (before that pepper mills were based on a pestle and mortar design) however, nowadays they are generally built with ceramic mechanisms because they are incredibly hard wearing and won’t corrode.
There are a couple of key factors to consider when buying a salt and pepper mill. Perhaps the most important, is whether you mind a little overspill of ground salt and pepper left on a surface every time you put the things down.
If you do, then you should only look at mills that grind from the top and therefore leave no mess. If you don’t mind, then you’ll have twice as many options.
Next, you need to consider the grinding mechanism and whether you’d like to be able to adjust the settings. As a general rule a fine grind gives an even flavour and is great for sauces, while a coarse grind is perfect for marinades or steaks.
There are three kinds of grinders; a manual crush grinder (a good, simple choice for everyday seasoning), a battery operated grinder (with all the benefits of freshly ground but zero effort) and a precision grinder (these give a better fragrance and release a real burst of flavour, they also enable you to select the coarseness of the grind).
The Verdict: Best salt and pepper mills
Although some of these prices might seem high, all of these salt and pepper mills will last a lifetime and take centre stage on your table, so it’s money well spent. Our Best Buy is The Bottle Salt & Pepper Grinders from Conran – they look so stylish, are easy to refill, you can choose the coarseness and (best of all) there’s no mess after using them. If you are after a more traditional style, our runner up is the Bistro Salt & Pepper by Peugeot.