Tried & Tested: Put through the mill

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The Independent Culture
Grinding your own pepper is the only way to get it fresh, and just how you like it: fine and powdery or a bit on the rough side.

The perfect pepper mill should look good on the table and work easily without requiring too much wrist action or being fiddly to refill. Our testers - charity worker Zed, former waiter Frank Lefeuvre, fashion designer Julie Facer and her assistant Michelle, property developer Peter Roscrow and interior designer Claire Tyzack-Stack - ground away at six mills, bearing in mind looks, grip, weight and refillability. Jeremy Gibbs, manager at Chez Gerard, Rosebery Avenue, London, and his staff also helped out in their mid-afternoon break. The Trudeau pepper mill gave the best grind, with the Perfex Moulin a cool second

... PEPPER BALL

Cole & Mason pounds 8.99

Jeremy: `For Fisher Price lovers only'

Zed: `Large chunks, maybe a bit too large. Grinding was fun - and a wrist strengthener too, because it involves grabbing the two handles together'

Frank: `It makes you feel needy all of a sudden for a dose of black pepper'

Cole & Mason 01252 522322

.... PERFEX MOULIN

pounds 39.95

Zed: `The big P on the refill tray and the matt sheen make it very appealing.

Even an ape could refill this one. I love it to death'

Frank: `It reminds me of an old

locomotive or a cheap French hotel. Some resistance when grinding'

Peter & Claire: `Definitely the most stable'

Divertimenti 0171 935 0689

. ANNA PEPPER

Alessi pounds 39.95

Michelle: `The metal and plastic combo is a bit garish. Might be popular with the Hoxton gang'

Jeremy: `All form and no function.

The design has failed to marry the basics of style and practicality'

Peter & Claire: `The easiest to fill, but difficult

to keep clean'

Liberty 0171 734 1234

..... STAINLESS STEEL PEPPER MILL

Trudeau pounds 49.95

Peter & Claire: `Along with Alessi, gives the best grind'

Jeremy: `Simple, stylish, durable ... and overpriced. Destined for the loft apartments of Clerkenwell'

Zed: `A coarse grind, which I like. Good gift.'

Liberty 0171 734 1234

... CORRUGATED PEPPER MILL

pounds 10 (with salt shaker) Compass

Michelle: `I want one! A bit plasticky close up, but for the price you wouldn't

really care. Holds a lot'

Zed: `Very "now". Difficult to get started grinding and keep a grip, so it might end up flying across the table at our house'

Peter: `Grinding reasonable, if a bit stiff'

Kitschen Sync Ltd 0171 652 1070

... KING CAPSTAN PEPPER MILL

Cole & Mason pounds 15

Julie: `Easy to hold, with a very satisfying grinding motion. Would make a good gift'

Frank: `Grinding was good, but you need a strong arm, and the spike got in the way when filling'

Michelle: `Breaks up corns nicely and very easily. Agood one for kids to use'

Cole & Mason 01252 522322

PHOTOGRAPHS BY SIMON LEE l COMPILED BY PATRICK DRISCALL l COMING SOON: RICE COOKERS

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