A mortar and pestle is perhaps the kitchen tool that blends utility and beauty better than anything else. And the summer is high season for your mortar and pestle — I use mine every week during the summer for cracking spices and peppercorns for steak rubs, and mixing fresh pesto. So here are three extra-beautiful mortar and pestle sets, each a heavy-duty tool for summer cooking, and an art object when not in use.
The handmade mortar and pestle above is made of ceramic, not stone, but is dense and heavy for hard work. I like the shallow shape of the bowl, which gives more surface area for grinding and pounding.
This glamorous and unusual mortar and pestle from Tom Dixon is more suited to spices than to herbs, grinding herbs into rough or fine powder with the heavy ball.
These classic, gorgeous mortars and pestles come in sizes that range from small to extra-large. I actually have one of these (a medium-sized model) and it's my go-to tool for making spice pastes and blends. Heavy and long-lasting, and it looks beautiful on my kitchen windowsill.
What kind of mortar and pestle do you have? What do you use it for the most in the summertime?