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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Peugeot Chateauneuf Pepper Mill

Well, I finally got my Peugeot Pepper mill.


It's been a long, long, time, but I've finally replaced my old shitty pepper mill with a worthy upgrade.

I did a fair bit of research and experimenting (and actual testing), and came up with the Peugeot Chateauneuf as the best mill I could find.  

The 23cm version (they make a few sizes).  Anything smaller seemed a waste, and the larger one just seemed cumbersome.  23 cm felt just right.

I found that there are truly a myriad of styles, shapes, themes, mechanisms, and functionalities to grinding peppercorns.  Many (the vast majority) are cheap wooden or plastic mills, with plastic mechanisms (the gears and such inside).  Definitely representing much of the 'low' end of the market, these cheap grinders also bled into the mid, and even high end a bit!  I was surprised.

Anyway, in my testing, and in my own experience using herb mills and grinders, the tantamount concern is of course the grinding mechanism.  So, this absolutely has to be solid metal in my opinion.  Surprisingly few grinders have this.  

The Peugeot Chateauneuf has absolutely no plastic in the working parts.  Anything which needs to twist, grind, or rotate is all solid metal.  This was a big deal.  

Secondly, the grade selector (to select variable levels of coarseness) is a very nice, solid metal piece which - unlike many other varieties - moved fluidly and sturdily.  This was also important.

This model offers six (yup!) coarseness selections.  

From ultra fine - such as you'd find in a pepper shaker, and my least-favoured coarseness - all the way to ultra coarse - barely cracked at all, like you'd expect on a Steak au Poivre or Brandy Cream sauce or something like that.  

Anyway, I was used to having to manually grind whole peppercorns in my mortar and pestle to get that level of coarseness.  Yup.  I'm movin' on up.

And, lastly, and of lesser concern to me, was the aesthetics.  The 'look and feel' of the Chateauneuf was pleasant and far superior to the majority of mid- to high-end pepper mills.  It has the traditional fluted design, but is very weighty and solid, and has the nice metal rings for the working parts.  Pretty.

Anyway... you have to pick it up and use it to get the FULL sense of any pepper mill's worth, but in my own search for the best, this one placed first.

And I am very pleased with it.


I had thought of getting rid of my old grinder, but now I think I'll just fill it with something else.  Maybe some coriander.  Or maybe I'll do a peppercorn medley of green and white and red?  We'll see!