The Best Nutmeg Mill

“In an essay on nutmegs she [Elizabeth David] tells the story of the sculptor Joseph Nollekens, whose penny-pinching was such that he used to pocket the nutmegs from the table at the Royal Academy for his evening glass of hot spiced negus. When she wrote that the Victoria and Albert had a large collection of silver nutmeg graters, I was off across the park to see them with my sketchbook.”

-Laura Freeman, The Reading Cure: How Books Restored My Appetite

I use a lot of nutmeg – it’s good in spinach, white sauces, with apple, and on veal.

For some years I have been using a standard, rather nice-looking wooden nutmeg grater. I found the bottom kept coming off mid-grind, and it only held one nutmeg – always nearly extinct and no replacements in immediate view.

I grew so dissatisfied with it I developed a new approach – scraping with a sharp knife. This was messy and occasionally ended in tears.

Then I discovered the tiny graters which come free with some bottles of nutmegs were less than useless.

So I embarked on a major nutmeg grater-grinder-mill research programme.  And I now have this spectacular looking, highly functional, grater which looks as if it has been designed by Richard Rogers (who designed both the Lloyds Building in London and the Pompidou Centre in Paris). It’s manufacturerd by Cole & Mason, a traditional British firm, so it’s been well engineered and designed.


nutmeg grinder
The interior of Richard Rogers’ Lloyds Building. Image courtesy Lloyd’s of London [CC BY 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Why do I like it? It has a strong, retractable sprung claw mechanism which doesn’t drop off; it’s got an integrated storage space for replacement nutmegs – no last minute riffling through the larder; and it’s transparent, so you can see what is happening. You can, of course, get it direct from Cole & Mason.

Gorgeous – this is the fourth mill I’ve had, and each has been better than its antecedents. The trick is to get a grinder rather than a grater – easy on the knuckles.

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