"There is nothing better than chicken stew cooked and eaten from one of your bowls." And she is right. If you have ever cooked a classic Dauphinous in a French Gratin dish, or slaved away at cooking a Cassoulet in a traditional Cassoulet bowl, then you will know that not only does it taste magnificent but the very act of bringing food to the table in these traditional dishes connects you completely to the food you cook.
We work with a tiny business in Southern France, a family run workshop that has been making cassoulet and gratin dishes for 140 years. Three generations of know-how has been handed down from father to son and now two brothers make the pots, their story and commitment to their family history leading them to be awarded the “Living Heritage Company” status, a label of recognition awarded to distinguished craftsmanship and expertise in their field.
The Pots are all thrown using clay surrounding the studio on potter’s wheels dating from 1830 and glazed using limited colours that are both natural and food safe, including iron oxide for yellow, manganese for the chestnut colour and copper for green. Firing still happens in the original wood-fired kiln.
We think Diana Henry's book, From Oven to the Table is brilliant if you want to test out your gratin dishes. Her recipes are one pot wonders. She also writes for the Stella Magazine in the Sunday Telegraph.