* Prices may differ from that shown
I've had my Cole and Mason Salt and Pepper set for a number of years now as we had them on our wedding gift list. I like to have them as a feature on our table and so wanted a pair that were nice to look at and not just a boring or unstylish set. This set fits the bill perfectly. We had them on our wedding list from John Lewis and I think they were in the £20 region.
The mills have a wonderful design to them. They are made of an acrylic material so are quite hard wearing but we have dropped them a number of times and have a couple of little chips in the top of the mill. Having said that though they did not crack or shatter when we dropped them on our hard tile kitchen floor so they are good quality and durable. The mills are see through so you can see the salt and the peppercorns through the mill. I really like this aspect of the mills as I think this is part of the design look of the mills and a nice feature, plus it helps you to see when the mills need refilling which is nice.
The mills are quite long and cylindrical. At the top they have a kind of slant to them which is also another nice feature in my opinion. Then across the middle of the mill there is a chrome band which is also a bit bigger at the front. The words Cole and Mason are printed in the chrome .
When we got these mills they came pre-filled which was nice and then they also came with a tube of plastic refills, one for the salt and one for the pepper. I think we still have the pepper refill but have used up the salt refill as this is what we use more of at home. They do last for a really long time though so are definitely well worth the money. In order to refill the mills it is very easy. There is a little screw at the top of the mill which just comes off and allows you to take the top part off the mill up to the chrome band. This little screw is attached to rod which makes the grinder at the bottom of the mill work. THe opening is quite large so you just pour the corns in and screw the top back on again.
In order to grind the salt and peppercorns you just hold onto the bottom part and turn the top part clockwise and out come the granules. THe granules are quite coarse and fairly thick but that's the way I like it to come out, I do not like it when you have salt and pepper like a powder, I prefer a bit of texture to my seasoning. The grinder turns well and I have never had a problem with it getting stuck or any of the corns stuck in the mechanism either. The only thing is sometimes when you turn too much the top screw starts to come a bit loose but you can easily tighten this up a bit and it is fine.
All in all a nice sleek set that I recommend.
Last year I saw a gorgeous Cole & Mason salt and pepper mill on the John Lewis website. Where possible I like to see things in 'real life' before I purchase them, but I could never find the set in store. On Boxing Day my boyfriend took me to the January sales, and we went to Boundary Mill, where I finally got to see the set up close. Unfortunately, I didn't like it 'in the flesh'! I did, however, see this Seville set which I did like. My boyfriend wasn't keen on this design, instead preferring some stainless steel monstrosity, but I ignored him and bought this one anyway!
The salt and pepper mills came as a set and as well as the mills themselves which were pre-filled with sea salt and black peppercorns, you also get two refill tubes, which is a nice little bonus. The set has a 10 year guarantee which reassured me that it would be good quality.
The mills are identical and are made from clear plastic (possibly acrylic?) and have a brushed stainless steel band around the middle, bearing the Cole & Mason name. They are a squarish shape, but have rounded edges which make them easier to grip. I personally really like the design, I think it looks modern yet classic and think they would look good on any dinner table. Certainly if buying a set as a gift, I would say you couldn't go wrong with this simple design.
The mills are ready filled with salt and pepper and to use you simply twist clockwise. I find the mills have a smooth action and unlike previous, cheaper sets I have owned, I have never experienced the mechanism jamming or getting stuck. There is a stainless steel bar which runs through the mills and this can be twisted to give either a finer or coarser mill of salt/pepper, which I find useful as myself and my boyfriend both have different preferences.
Refilling the mills is also very easy and simply a case of unscrewing the metal bar at the top and lifting the top part off. I find refilling them very easy...Cole & Mason actually sell a little funnel which can be used to refill them, but I have always done it by hand and had no problems with spillage.
In terms of cleaning, they are not dishwasher safe (not that I have one!) but can be cleaned simply by giving them a wipe with a damp cloth. They are very durable and have survived being dropped with no cracks or marks that I can see.
The price of these mills varies widely. I paid £15 for mine, and I believe they were reduced from £25. That was at Boundary Mill, I have since seen this set in House of Fraser for £32! Frankly I think that is crazy money, £15 was quite expensive for me, but I certainly don't think the set is worth £32. I have also seen these for less than I paid and at one point, Debenhams had them for around £7 in the sale, so it's worth shopping around.
Overall I am very pleased with these mills. I think they look good, they work well and I liked that they came with a free tube each of salt and pepper as well as already being filled. If you're looking for a hardwearing, good quality set of salt and pepper mills I would highly recommend these ones.
*Also posted on Ciao under username pink_champagne