My French Pottery

Provencal Pottery

A while back, a reader suggested that I do a post about my pottery collection. When I told Romain about it he looked surprised and said that it wasn’t a collection but just stacks of pottery. However it’s considered in the world of les collectionneurs that if you have three or more of any object, that’s a collection. And I certainly have more than three items in my apartment!

I never intended to start collecting plates, platters and bowls in France. (Which I am lumping into the general term of poterie, although a lot of it could be classified as dinnerware.) I would go to flea markets and see old bowls, some showing their age, some salvaged from bistros that perhaps met their demise, and pick them up for whatever I could negotiate them for. Many perhaps are long-forgotten relics found in attics, or people getting rid of their old things, who prefer things new.

I like the forms of older French pottery and dinnerware; the graceful, elongated oval serving platters with deep wells to hold food and any accompanying sauce. I can’t seem to have enough big, heavy bowls and sturdy oval gratin dishes, ones that might have once held a grandmother’s pride and joy, a gratin dauphinois. And I search out platters that might have held the family meal, or dinner plates hefted by garçons in neighborhood restaurants.

French pottery

Almost everything that I have, I’ve picked up at random flea markets or antique shops across France. While there are some nice places to shop in Paris for new and old, once you hit the countryside, there are a lot more things to choose from and the prices are much, much more attractive. So I can’t tell you where to get most of these things, but you can check out my post Paris Flea Markets and Thrift Stores and Antiquing Outside of Paris for more information and links on how to find out where and when they are. (There are some places listed in the post, Tour de France, about halfway down the page, of places in the countryside that we’ve stumbled on where I found some treasures, too.)

While it’s nice to find things in good condition, sometimes objects that show their age appeal to me. I don’t buy things with hairline cracks since you can’t really use them for cooking or serving. And everything I have, I use. The dish just below we used when shooting My Paris Kitchen for the leeks vinaigrette, the classic that I tried to riff off of, but my Parisian partner would hear nothing of the sort. Of course, I won that round – or octagon – because it was my Paris kitchen : ) Maybe next up is Our Paris Kitchen? But until then…

French pottery

A certain amount of pottery sold in France isn’t made in France, but made in North Africa and other countries. I suspect the mustard-yellow bowl at the top of the post is from Tunisia or that part of the world. But the generous bowl, below, with the wild lines of dots that I bought in Provence for €10, I am pretty sure is all French. I love it because it’s wide enough to hold fruits in a single layer, like peaches and pears, which should be given their own space, not piled up, so they don’t bruise and so that each can enter the world on their own, when they are ready, independently. When I buy fruit, I take great pains to ripen it properly and I’d say 95% of the incoming from chez moi goes into this bowl, which weighs a ton.

French pottery

The bowl below I bought in Hyères when I was visiting the Villa Noailles. A shop called Mediterraneo had some massive mortars and pestles, as well as stacks of colorful pottery, including this bowl that I use often for olives, from Le Potier in Marseilles. I like the colors and the fluted form of the bowl, with reminds me of the famed Provençal tian.

French pottery

On the other end of the scale, I picked up four of these brown bowls (just below) for €1 each at a C’est deux euros around the time I moved to France. I thought they were a great bargain, but later learned that they are pretty common and are similar to the terre cuite (earthenware) dishes that you sometimes get when you buy cheese in France, like Saint-Felicien, which are included in the price. So I suspect they don’t cost all that much. (A friend told me that when he moved to France, he returned the dish a few days later to the surprise of the people at the fromagerie, on the assumption that they would reuse it.) They’re being replaced by plastic for selling the cheeses, unfortunately, perhaps for reasons of économie or hygiène?

I use these bowls daily as I like the deepness of them. And due to the price, I’m not concerned about breakage. One issue is that the bottoms aren’t glazed so I can’t stack them up in the cabinet unless they are absolutely dry. I’ve discovered they grow beards faster than I do.

French pottery

I’m big on the Heure de l’apéro, or the appetizer hour, when drinks are served before dinner. So I stock up on little bowls, like the one below, which I use for things like olives and nuts. The French tend to nibble on appetizers before dinner, unlike me, who will go through a whole bowl of just about anything put in front of me. The French like to put out potato chips, which is something I don’t buy at home (because I will eat them all in one go), so when given the chance – well, let’s just say that you don’t want to get in the path between me and a bowl of chips!

French pottery

The green bowl below, I got in Sicily, which has a lovely lip, whose shape reminds me of the Provençal tian. They were €10 each and I got three or four. Underneath it are some French plates that I like. The older ones with the clovers are pretty, but I’m more of a modernist and like clean designs and shapes, so of course, I love the soup bowls (which the French call assiettes à soupe, or soup plates, not bowls) just underneath. Unfortunately they’re pretty fragile and most are chipped or cracked. I’m hoping they hold out a while longer.

French pottery

One thing, or things, that I’m really hooked on are mortars and pestles. I have a few that I use in everyday cooking, but I can never resist these jumbo white ones. They’re super heavy and I have one that is literally over a foot wide that is so heavy, I can barely lift it. Someone working in my apartment chipped it, which irked me more than the rest of the things he destroyed. Grrr.

French pottery

I like them all, but especially like the teeny one to the right, which may have been part of some children’s set. In France, kid’s toy stores often have miniature kitchen items and they’re totally adorable. (One interesting kid’s shop is Filament, near the Bastille. But there are tons in Paris.) I love anything in miniature. But mini French cookware? Swoon.

French pottery

The colorful greenish/blue bowls are from a potter in the Camargue. It’s a somewhat wild, rugged part of France, known for salt and pink flamingos. They’re from the fabulous La Tuile à Loup in Paris, which also sells cassoles, the cassoulet bowls that visitors often ask me about buying in Paris.

French pottery

Crackle glazes to me are beautiful and the crackled oval dish above was filthy when I got it. I pulled it off the bottom shelf of some antique store in the middle of nowhere. It wasn’t cracked or chipped and I think I paid €6 for it. After a good scrubbing, I think it’s beautiful, again.

French pottery

The dishes, below, I picked them up in Pantelleria, Sicily, and was attracted to their wild colors. I got them in a small shop in the main town and loved the bold patterns. I don’t use them much in Paris as their colors seems more fitting to a Sicilian meal. But it’s nice to have a constant reminder of one of my favorite places in the world.

The green dishes, above, are available in a lovely blue and white splatter pattern from Naturaintasca, the cooking school and website of my friend Fabrizia Lanza. I’m not sure about how far they ship, but if you put in an order, I highly recommend adding some of her amazing tomato paste and zibibbo elixir, a grape “honey” made by reducing the sweet, spicy juices of muscat grapes.

French pottery

The dishes below have a special name in French. The name is so obscure that it escapes me, but I’ll update the post when (and if) I remember it. (Update: They’re called raviers.) I LOVE the shapes of them, and they make food for the blog look nice when I take vertical pictures, like cookies or this cranberry sauce with candied oranges that I snuck in last year. It was the day before Thanksgiving and I was racing around trying to find a nice bowl to put the sauce in, that I wanted to share before the big holiday. So far, no one’s complained about me using chipped plates in photos. If I was better at Photoshop, I could probably clean them up. But the chips and dings don’t bother me.

French pottery

This three-colored wacky bowl, or more likely a dish, I picked up at Emmaüs, a benevolent organization with is the French equivalent of a Goodwill or Salvation Army store. They have some stores in Paris – one at 22 boulevard Beaumarchais and another at 52 rue de Charonne (as well as others) which are worth poking around in. I got a huge cassoulet bowl at one for €5, which I chanced upon. But they have some stores outside of Paris that are worth shlepping out to, however it’s best if you have a car. (We have a station wagon which has lots of space, which is dangerous if you’re trying to watch how much stuff you buy.)

The dish is made by Gien, which is still in operation, but it’s their older stuff I like. And since I’m a modernist, this appealed to me. I thought I would use it on the blog but I think the colors might not make food look so good, so I haven’t used it yet. Any ideas appreciated!

French pottery

These small oval plates I think were once popular in France, because I see them often at flea markets. I try to find them in good condition with traditional, classic, patterns on them. Some have rose appliques and things like that, which don’t interest me. But I like patterns like the one below, which seem so unique to France, with the red, white and blue color scheme.

Interesting tidbit: When I was redesigning my site a while back, I suggested that we use a red, white and blue theme for the logo and my designer at the time (in the U.S.), didn’t get it. I told him those were the colors of the French flag. Not convinced he should use them, he did an informal survey of other web designers and they all asked the same thing: Is David Lebovitz running for public office?

The tricolore in my logo got nixed.

French pottery

Sometimes, you just come across things like these brown, earthy oval bowls, all in perfect condition, stacked together at the flea market in the middle of the Marché d’Aligre. When at flea markets, if someone is unpacking their truck and people are furiously gathered around, you can be pretty sure there is something worthwhile there. (If so, I let them clamor and check out the things they don’t want, which are often more interesting to me.) These bowls were just sitting there, unattended. I think to many French people, they’re such everyday items that they’re not so interesting. But I scooped them up for less than €10 for the set.

French pottery

They make nice serving bowls and use them as such, for green olive tapenade and croutons perhaps. I know they are oven proof, but they’re in such good condition, that I put them in the “too good to use” category, and haven’t cooked anything in them  – yet.

croutons and tapenade

You sometimes see perforated dishes for sale in France and are good to use when serving just-washed berries, grapes or cherries so the fruits don’t sit in water. The white oval bowls below it, I think I have about ten of since I like their simple white shape. Everything looks good on them and they let whatever is in them shine. Plus they’re very sturdy; I’ve never broken or chipped one, and usually pick them up when I see them for €5 or so.

French pottery

I got this mini bowl at a place that was appropriately called the Caverne d’Ali Baba way out in the middle of nowhere during one of our road trips. I like the colors. Not sure where it’s from, but I also picked up an enormous cutting board (that was €9) that is literally a blocky 3-inches thick, at the same store that was so packed with stuff that it was hard to walk around in. I wasn’t sure if I should buy it so put a picture of it on Instagram asking whether I should, and the responses were a resounding –Yes!

French pottery French pottery

I am somewhat obsessed with French white café au lait bowls. I’ve mentioned a bit before how when you go to a café in Paris and order a café au lait, what you’ll actually get is a café crème – café au lait is served in a bowl, at home. (Perhaps it’s considered unseemly to be gulping coffee out of a bowl in a Parisian café, although some places – like Cuisine de Bar – does serve their cafés au lait in bowls.) But all that nomenclature is fluid and I’ve had things that people have called an espresso, that looked (and tasted) nothing like the original.

French pottery

You can still get these today, made by Pillivuyt and even in France, they’re a bit spendy at about €9 a bowl in France. (They sell them at A. Simon in Les Halles, in Paris.) You can get them online in the United States, although the BIA Cordon Bleu ones are more affordable. I have some of the new ones, but when I was in a dépôt-vente (antique shop) in the middle of nowhere, and saw eight of these misshapen bowls on a shelf, in spite of the chips and dings (I think they were around €8 each), I bought them all. I couldn’t resist.

French pottery

As you can tell, I like this shape. I think the larger ones were made for either mixing paint pigments or by pharmacists to grind medicines. My local pharmacy had three on display in the window – and I want them!

The tiny one, in the foreground, I’m not sure what that was originally intended for, but I often drink my afternoon café express out of one. I have about twenty of them that I found together at the flea market, that were of varying shapes – perhaps they were the collection of someone else? When I see things together, I feel compelled to buy them all, to keep the collection together. It’s a sickness.

French pottery-22

These little cassoulet bowls are something I use frequently. They were gifted to me by my friend Kate who lives in Gascony. They’re individual serving-sized, which makes them perfect for everything from soup or salad. The picture of Romain eating French onion soup with a stretch of cheese, in My Paris Kitchen, made my friend Meg exclaim “now that’s food porn.”

They’re very sturdy and made by NOT Frères, a pottery place I’ve always wanted to visit but seems so far from wherever I am in the south of France. You can find their larger ones at La Tuile à Loup and they sell the smaller ones at the Gascon stand in the Marché Saint-Germain. If we ever do that road trip down there, we’ll definitely fill the station wagon with them and perhaps have a little sale here!


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77 comments

  • soozzie
    September 16, 2015 10:56am

    So, David, please put me on the list for your next vide grenier…I’ll make a special trip!

    Thanks so much for the tour of your collection. For me such objects are a tactile experience, sensing the work of the designer or maker, as their hands created each piece. Thanks to your descriptions, I can feel their heft and contours in my hands (and see them basking on my shelves!) Up to now, I have tended to collect vintage linens on my trips to the flea markets and depot vents (so easy to pack and always useful), but I see now I need to expand my horizons. Merci bien!

  • Charlotte K
    September 16, 2015 11:02am

    wow! I have what I like to call “my pottery problem,” which is that I can’t resist a lovely dish at a rummage sale or charity shop. I’m deeply envious of some of those pieces!

  • ron shapley
    September 16, 2015 12:05pm

    Beautiful post.. I think I’m going to buy My Paris Kitchen, just so I can get a look at all your pottery…Off topic, you mentioned “ripen it properly”.. Have you expanded on that is another post somewhere ??? Thanks for all you do.

  • Claire
    September 16, 2015 2:33pm

    I visited La Tuile a Loup in May during my last visit to Paris, strictly on your recommendation. Oh my! What wonders! I purchased two bowls that reminded me of the 60s with little daisies and polka dots. The man in charge wrapped them within an inch of their lives in bubble wrap and they made it back to the States just fine. My husband promptly deemed them “too nice to use” and into the china cabinet they went! I usually lean toward vintage linens and kitchen towels, darned baggage weight limits! Great post and I’m having pottery collection envy of the first order.

    • September 17, 2015 11:19am

      Happy to have assisted you Claire. Now I don’t think those lovely objects should just be there to look at. Tell your husband I said it is ok to bring them out and enjoy them. :-)

      – Eric

      • Claire
        September 18, 2015 12:20am

        Mr. Goujou,

        What a wonderful reply! I so loved your shop! You were go gracious and wonderful and allowed me to take pictures to send to my niece who is a beginning potter. I will be back next May and I will buy more. You’re careful attention to my purchases made sure that they made the trip back to Texas in perfect condition. I’m having noodle soup in my precious bowls tonight, on your suggestion. See you in May!

        Claire

        • September 18, 2015 10:35am

          Hi Claire,
          Thank you again. Whenever you use the bowls again, I would love for you to send us a photo. We are now on Facebook so you can even post it on our page: La Tuile a Loup. And I’ll see you in May. If you would like me in the meantime to send you any suggestions that I think you would like please send me an email. I would be happy to put together a personalized catalogue for you (shhh I won’t tell your husband if you won’t) ;-)

          Sincerely,
          One French Pottery addict to another

  • L
    September 16, 2015 2:41pm

    I have the plate with the red dots on the rim and I live in Australia! That is weird.

  • Karine
    September 16, 2015 4:14pm

    Hi David,

    I love your post. I got a lot of old dishes from my grand mother and I love them all, even though they are often too nice to use (I have three kids at home, it makes it too dangerous for these dishes to survive long…). Especially the one for washing the berries (the one with holes at the bottom) but mine is pink tinted (maybe my grand mother liked berries too much) and has flowers in its design (you would hate it, I am sure).

    About the oval dishes you forgot the name of, could that be “plat navette”? The shape reminds me of the cookie from Provence which is called “navette”.

    Thanks for another great post.

  • September 16, 2015 4:20pm

    I am so jealous…..love all of those pieces. I want to raid your kitchen…..

  • September 16, 2015 4:44pm

    The part about aperos made me laugh out loud! Many times I’ve been the American at the table scarfing down chips while all my French friends politely eat a small handful. How do they do it?

    Another thing that baffles me is how French people wait so long to grab a chip (or small handful of nuts) once it’s set down on the table. I’ve sometimes waited 5-10 minutes before being the first one to reach into the bowl. #soamerican

  • Donna in CT
    September 16, 2015 5:15pm

    I love pottery and have my own collection (my husband is of the same mindset as Romain…), mostly bought from the potter themselves, most from here in New England, some from WI and SD, and one, from Middletown, CT, that is the exact shape as your olive bowl. I covet those cassoulet bowls.

    I have had a gorgeous French Potee pot (sorry, don’t know how to add accents) for many years that I have been afraid to use because of fears of cracking it. So I just proudly display it.

    Yup, I can say no to chocolate cake, but never to potato chips or “frites”.

  • September 16, 2015 5:28pm

    I love this post. I could look at photos of beautiful (old) dishes all day long. What a joy. I have my own collection thanks in great part to parents and grandparents and great aunts who loved dishes too. They really are such huge part of my life. And now sometimes my 8-year-old will pick out a special plate or bowl on which to eat his snack or dinner and it makes my heart sing. Thank you for sharing your treasures.

  • Anne in NoHo
    September 16, 2015 5:29pm

    The marquise-shaped bowls are similar in form to barquette molds. So, perhaps the bowls are also called barquettes?

  • September 16, 2015 5:29pm

    I’d have to say this is even more than a mere collection. The pieces that you have are truly spectacular. I brought back a huge oval French ironstone bowl from the Avignon flea market last summer that I scored for 10Euro. I took up my entire piece of carry on luggage (with other purchases cradled inside). It’s my go-to piece now for giant salads!

  • Coral White
    September 16, 2015 5:34pm

    I found about 8 Duralex tumblers at a thrift store yesterday for 25 cents each. I bought 4, thinking I don’t even really have room for those, but I am going back today to buy the rest…!

  • September 16, 2015 5:35pm

    Lovely to see your collection. Now I want to see where you store them all!!

  • Carol
    September 16, 2015 5:37pm

    Hello, my name is Carol and I too am a white only café au lait bowl -aholic. I have over fifty of various sizes. David, what did you say the address was at your local pharmacy?

    • September 16, 2015 7:15pm
      David Lebovitz

      …I’m not giving it up! Although I did notice one got broken, so I may need to finally go in and see if I can provide a little, um, “shelter” for them…

  • September 16, 2015 5:38pm

    Thank you for this wonderful display. I collect all sorts of pottery and porcelain but particularly love Sarreguemines.

  • Mrs. Gibson
    September 16, 2015 5:47pm

    David, I strongly suggest you go to visit my friend ‘Aude’ at Au Bain Marie, if you have not been there already. I have purchased many or most of my Barbotine plats d’asperge from her over the past thirty years. Her pottery and porcelain is superbe! Tell her Cynthia from Bloomingdales says hello! She will help to round out your collection.

  • September 16, 2015 5:49pm

    ooohhh, lovely lovelies! I also have a pottery addiction, and now feel like I’m in good company

  • Anne
    September 16, 2015 5:51pm

    I spend more time each day than I care to admit looking at dishes and pottery on line. This post reminded me of how much I was lusting after a gorgeous gratin dish, I think it was, with an unforgettable deep orange glaze, that you had a photo of awhile back. Were money no object, I’d travel to France just to fetch it home.

  • brooke
    September 16, 2015 5:55pm

    Be very careful of old and sometimes new pottery from asia and mexico
    many of the glazes are lead based and can be very harmful to your health and well being. there is a simple test you can use on your pottery.

    • naomi
      September 18, 2015 12:00am

      A simple check for glaze safety/durability is to put a slice of citrus – like lemon or lime – for several hours. If, when you pick it up, the area underneath has discolored, don’t use that dish for food.

      • Anne in NoHo
        September 18, 2015 12:09am

        Thanks, Naomi for the caveat. I own some collectible Bauer pottery (California art pottery)from the 1930s and ’40s. The glazes were NOT lead free before about the mid 1950s.

  • Terry
    September 16, 2015 5:56pm

    What a delectable collection! But it’s ill-timed for me; I need to DOWNsize, not gather more stuff! :^) But you sure make me want more bowls…

    The tiniest bowl in the 9th picture *may* have been used in a scientific lab; we had lots of them in the medical research lab. The ones we used were made by Corning, and could be heated over a Bunsen burner. Perfect for tiny amounts of chemicals.

  • September 16, 2015 5:58pm

    The tri-color bowl? Olives, of course…black varieties in the green and yellow sections and green/yellow kinds in the blue.

  • Kathy Sykes
    September 16, 2015 6:01pm

    Loved the pottery pictures. I’m a potter and about to start a fall class at Greenwich House Pottery in NYC. Plan to make a set of cassoles. Made one of Kate Hill’s large casseroles some time ago when you showed it with food in it.

    Kathy Sykes

  • carla
    September 16, 2015 6:01pm

    Your tri-color Gien dish would look nice with whole eggs in it. Personally I love seeing used, chipped, unusual pottery in cookbook photos. They look like they’re in a real kitchen and not at a photo shoot.

  • Heidi
    September 16, 2015 6:04pm

    Love the post! I love old things with a history also. Would love to see all of your enamel cast iron too! I can’t afford to come to France so I live it through your posts (and your books)! Love the one about the flea market, so envious. I have the same “sickness” you have when it comes to collecting, a good one to have I think….. could be something much worse.

  • Diane Roberts
    September 16, 2015 6:06pm

    David, what a collection! Where do you find room for it all? We recently downsized and I gave away oodles of table&cookware. I already miss it all & your blog will have me starting to collect again!

  • caren
    September 16, 2015 6:12pm

    Your collection is enviable. Its one to be proud of. If you find yourself in the South, I highly recommend Ravel pottery. Its a beautiful place to visit and has amazing pottery and textiles.
    http://www.poterie-ravel.com/en/

  • Anna
    September 16, 2015 6:20pm

    David, I love your blog. I live in Paris about 4 months of the year, and always learn something from you. I have to ask: have you ever been to the incredible 3-floor porcelain dish extravaganza, M.P. Samie at 45 av. du General Leclerc, in the 14th? I wish I knew how to add a photo — please google it if you don’t know it. It’s new goods, not a brocante, but there is every, and I do mean every, thing ever made in (mostly white) porcelain. And prices are good.
    Thanks for all your wonderful posts!

  • September 16, 2015 6:24pm

    I am so glad you didn’t take that tidying up book seriously! What a beautiful collection of dishes.

  • September 16, 2015 6:27pm

    Gorgeous collection. I love how the pieces all seem to have a history- some have dings and some are a bit worm and others look as though they were made by hand. They are filled with soul, and that’s a fantastic thing to have in a kitchen.

  • rockyrd
    September 16, 2015 6:27pm

    love this post ALOT. i think you should do a book of just pottery photos and include a recipe that goes with the dish. they are so beautiful, especially the well loved ones.
    i am such a dish nut (hoarder) i built two dish closets with glass doors in my kitchen. i re-read your post twice and may go back again just to admire them.

  • Lulu
    September 16, 2015 6:33pm

    Love your collection, David, and especially love the tri-color condiment/apéro bowl from world-renowned Gien.

    You might want to plan a trip to Annecy (a.k.a. “La Venise des Alpes”) in Haute-Savoie.

    In addition to its impossibly blue, shimmering Lake and the magnificent Alps, Annecy is celebrated for its glorious pottery.

    Le Tétras boutique at 2 rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau brims with color, form and design. Plus, it’s parallel to the gorgeous and romantic Thiou canal and all its enchanting petits restos.

  • Lisa Tremain
    September 16, 2015 6:34pm

    David – This is one of my favorite blog pieces that you have written. I love the photos, the explanations – really well done. Surprisingly – the only piece of pottery I don’t see is a beurrier avec l’eau. I’d be happy to send you one to complete your collection :)

    • September 16, 2015 7:04pm
      David Lebovitz

      Interestingly, I’ve never seen one of those in France. (In the U.S., they call them sometimes “French butter bells.”) When I asked someone at a French company that makes them, the ones sold in the United States, why they don’t have those in France, he said, “We make those for the American market.” I’ve not seen one in a store or in use. I think the beurrier à eau is something that’s not in use much anymore, if at all.

  • September 16, 2015 6:44pm

    David. You inspire me (dishes, food, words, photos, wisdom, wit, silliness). I love seeing your storied dishes. Each one speaks a different tale. I appreciate how you see the possibilities, even in a chipped bowl. Life is good. Thank you for sharing.

  • Marie Giacalone
    September 16, 2015 7:00pm

    Oh- Thank you so much for this trip through your cupboards. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I get it about the chips & dings!

  • Eleanor Kohler
    September 16, 2015 7:17pm

    I’m also a potter, a long-time hobbyist; I sell at craft fairs. I loved looking at your collection; it gave me ideas for my work. I especially liked the bowls with the pears and the olives — lovely shapes.
    I believe that if one isn’t careful, butter can go rancid in a French butter-bell. I make a bowl with a cap-shaped lid. The bowl holds a softened quarter pound stick of butter.

  • Pat
    September 16, 2015 8:12pm

    How big is your apartment? Where do you find the room for everything?

  • September 16, 2015 8:37pm

    David, I would say for sure you have a collection…and a lovely one it is. I would buy much of the same and cherish it as I’m sure you do.

  • Cindy
    September 16, 2015 8:40pm

    Love the pottery! The colors and shapes. What a sensory experience to cook with them. Of course part of the fun is the memories.

  • Alexandra
    September 16, 2015 8:58pm

    David, I so enjoyed looking at your lovely pottery pieces. I am a pottery addict. My collection leans primarily toward Italian pottery and I’ve found some great pieces at flea markets in Italy. But I can never pass up a neighborhood yard sale or good old local flea market where I’ve scored some amazing American vintage pottery I love having unmatched, well loved and interesting plates, bowls, dishes and platters. Nothing is less inspiring to me than a too precious, brand new collection of “fine china”.

  • Deborah
    September 16, 2015 9:34pm

    I love, love this post David!

  • September 16, 2015 9:48pm

    now I am super curious about what your kitchen, that can accommodate all of this pottery , looks like!

  • Steve
    September 16, 2015 9:55pm

    Your collection dazzles. Great forms and colors. Sorry/glad? to share a similar obsession.

  • susan
    September 16, 2015 10:05pm

    i love everything, but in the past few years i have been sticking to pure white- yes to the pillivuyt footed bowls, apilco and quirky limoges pieces- i like how i can put it in the oven or under the broiler and then to table, durable as hell- your collection is great! thanks for the inspiration! and i always live vicariously since I left Paris earlier this year.

  • Urenna
    September 16, 2015 10:09pm

    Merci. Some of your pottery is lovely.

  • Heidi
    September 16, 2015 10:29pm

    I’m a ceramic artist. Thanks for the inspirations!

  • Sandra Alexander
    September 16, 2015 11:53pm

    An Australian walks into a bar… No sorry, into a brocante. At the very first stall there’s a lovely collection of modernist blue and white pottery – six side plates and two matching round platters. “Combien?” Thinking 100 euros at least and I will explain, desole, too hard to bring back on the plane. Uh oh, 20 euros the stall holder says. Done! So I carry them around for two hours in the brocante, back on the train from Nimes to Paris, hand luggage back to Sydney. And stuff them into a big Chinese cabinet already groaning with ceramics from all over the world. Yup, understand your obsession!

  • lien
    September 17, 2015 12:42am

    Beautiful collection!

  • Sarah Cushman
    September 17, 2015 1:12am

    Deviled eggs on the tri-color dish…it just begs for bright yolks and white whites! Love your collection!

  • M
    September 17, 2015 1:56am

    Suggestions for the tricolor dish, pastel colored marshmallows to bring out the creaminess of the paint colors in the dish while contrasting the matte softness of candy with the hard shiny glaze. An alternative, except that it might look like an anemic version of the “Simon Says” game, would be 3 types of deep red berries to bring visual intensity without adding too many competing colors. If all else fails, pile some chocolate on it, chocolate always looks good!

  • rebecca wamsley
    September 17, 2015 3:33am

    I love French café au lait bowls too and used to have a lovely one from Café Fanny in Berkeley. It inspired me to start throwing café au lait bowls. I carve black cacao pod designs on them and glaze the insides in bright colors for drinking hot chocolate. They are sold at Mama Ganache, in San Luis Obispo, Calif where I work as a chocolatier.

  • Victoria
    September 17, 2015 7:18am

    I love seeing the pottery you’ve collected and use when you cook, eat or entertain your friends. Since I’ve lived in south Texas the past ten years most of the pottery I’ve collected is Mexican, South American and Spanish. The only French pieces I have are the massed produced Emile Henry which is wonderful to cook and serve in but I’d love to have more of the handmade vintage pieces you have. Many of my friends like a sleeker look, but nothing is more fun to cook, serve and eat from than a handmade dish. Thanks, David!

  • September 17, 2015 12:22pm

    Gorgeous array of textures and colours, I’m unbelievably jealous of course. Still renting means I can’t quite hoard as much as I’d like. However, a trip to Paris is coming up and I don’t think I can pass the opportunity for a little antiquing….

  • erin
    September 17, 2015 1:51pm

    wow David! what a stunning collection! am tres jealous x

  • Caro
    September 17, 2015 4:23pm

    We are a collective habitual herd in my family. If mum makes trifle we all know what bowl she will plonk on the table. Trifle HAS to be in the cut glass bowl (even though it’s ugly and naff it’s right somehow). Horror of horrors, only last week my rectangular baker broke. Crazed with years of use, it finally gave up the ghost and cracked cleanly in half. It was THE ‘bread and butter pudding’ baking dish. I mean . . . I may never be able to have B & B pud again . . . it will just be weird.

  • in irma's kitchen
    September 17, 2015 4:45pm

    david; I love your collection, but where are you able to store it all!! I, too, collect pottery but only hand thrown. And only 2nds. Each one is beautiful in its own way. I use them all…and long for more.
    I wish I had known you were on the Cape; I would have shown you all the wonderful potters we have here.
    Love your blog; you are an inspiration.
    ism

  • Melissa K
    September 17, 2015 7:52pm

    What a beautiful collection! I love how many of the dishes are oval, I don’t see that much in the states. I wonder if the tiny mortar is actually an evaporating dish like is often used in organic chemistry? (Here is a picture: http://www.hometrainingtools.com/evaporating-dish-200-ml) I immediately thought of my chemistry classes when I saw it.

  • Erika
    September 18, 2015 2:52am

    Major pottery envy. I loved this post. I love knowing about people’s collections of items that are important to them. I love how you have a story for all your dishes. I also started collecting pottery about 3 years ago. My collection is still small, but so special to me. Unlike you, I use pottery that’s intended for the kitchen all over my house. I hate to keep them locked up for special occasions. You’re encouraging me to look in other places than I have been. I need to search around more!

  • Nicolette
    September 18, 2015 5:32am

    Okay, this entry is dangerous to those of us (pottery addicts). I did down size but made room for my books (mostly of the cookery variety, including yours) and my French pottery–I mean how can one survive without a proper olive dish, I ask you?! They are in my cupboards and displayed on my bakers rack and are enjoyed and loved like old friends.

  • Brucilla
    September 18, 2015 10:58am

    qui nella provincia di Lecce, in Italia, dove vivo io è molto usato questo materiale per produrre stoviglie. se ti capita di fare un salto dalle mie parti potrai arricchire la tua collezione con qualche pezzo del sud d’italia!

  • September 18, 2015 11:09pm

    What a lovely collection! Flea markets has been my newest shopping destination, I am getting obsessed. My family thinks I lost my mind. Oh well… at least I am not alone.

  • September 18, 2015 11:49pm

    Awsome David! I love it. I have a little problem with everything related to pottery and ceramics: I never have enough. And this collection you presented is sooooo lovely! Thanks for sharing

  • heather
    September 19, 2015 3:47am

    thanks for a great post, i love your collection and am now on the hunt for raviers.

  • Linn
    September 19, 2015 12:42pm

    You could put different kinds of nuts in each section of the tri colored bowl– maybe even some candy covered ones? I love the crackle glazed dish — what a find. An amazing collection and I know you and your guests enjoy using them!

  • Jacque Baker
    September 19, 2015 11:40pm

    David – I love miniatures too and picked up tiny cooking bowl sets in Mexico years ago. If I like a bowl, a few chips don’t bother me – especially if it belonged to a relative who is no longer with us. Thanks for showing your pottery!

  • John
    September 20, 2015 6:26am

    For the tri color dish by Gien: you mentioned how much you liked miniatures in your post, I was thinking some miniature petit four or small candies, maybe Turkish delight. I think the white frosted cakes or the white powdered candies would show off the colored glazes of the dish.

  • September 20, 2015 6:53pm

    I just found your blog while searching for things to do with figs and apples which lead me to your friend Kate’s blog, which lead me here. I don’t usually read food blogs because they are usually just about cooking (obviously) but I am adding you (and probably Kate, too) to my reading list because this is about so much more–culture and France –sigh…. I have a love of all antique-y things so this was an especially fun post to start with. Your photographs, writing style and style in general are very appealing; even your comment policy is fun to read. Thank you!

  • Debora
    September 21, 2015 5:31pm

    It is such a joy to read your posts – I have a confession – I too collect pottery from my travels. I have a weakness for creamers. There, I’ve said it. It is true I have no idea why but I am drawn to the small little pieces and they fit so well in my suitcase. I also like to bring back a new coffee cup on each trip to use and think of the place I was traveling to when I bought it.
    Does anyone know the name of the school in Paris that makes dinnerware? I was enjoying a cup of coffee outside of Notre Dame and the little shop said the cup I was admiring had been made near the Sorbonne but was vague as to the name. It was not fine bone china but a beautiful everyday weight.

  • Maria J
    September 21, 2015 5:36pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful un-collection collection. Appreciate the stories behind all the finds the way only a fellow thrifter (or brocante-r) can.

  • Chrisinauburn
    October 13, 2015 9:10pm

    Pottery porn-my new favorite thing. Seriously. Great looking pieces and fine photography.
    (Long-time listener, first-time caller.)

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