Monthly Archives: August 2011

The perfect drinking glass?

La Gigogne. Very difficult to take a picture of a glass..

You may have gleaned, from one of my other posts, that I’ve got a thing about glasses. This may be because my beverage of choice is plain old water, and thus I need to get my kick from the vessel in which it’s served.

I am crazy for these Duralex glasses. Duralex almost went bust a few years ago, which must take some doing considering that its glasses are so beautiful, simple, iconic and various other words that you wouldn’t marry with a company that almost went bust. Perhaps its most famous glass is the Picardie. (That link not only takes you to a picture of the Picardie, but a rather good article on Duralex in general, in the Independent.)

But I’m not so keen on the Picardie. My particular favourite is the slightly lesser known, far simpler Gigogne glass. It looks a bit like a bowling ball with two lines etched around it (not easy to see in the pics, but you can just make them out). It sits so nicely in the palm of your hand and the 160ml size makes a lovely glass for children, too. Not so crazy when you realise (see below) how resilient Duralex is.

It comes in three sizes: 220ml, 160ml, 90ml. It’s the middle size you can see here and it is perfect for serving water, red wine (I really do not like traditional wine glasses, they make me hyperventilate, especially the ones we have which are on stems about a foot high and I always fear knocking them over because I am quite clumsy. My partner is rabid about serving wine in the correct way, at the correct temperature, in the correct glass and then you holding it in the correct way. Me? I drink the Italian peasant way, in a glass rough worker’s hands can pick up easily) or even, as you can see below, cappuccino. It holds, to my mind, the perfect proportions of a good cappuccino – not too much milk, one espresso shot.

You can also serve desserts in it – individual style trifles, mousses, you get the picture. Even though there isn’t one of it holding such a dessert. Another time.

Duralex glasses are virtually unbreakable: tempered, can stand hot or cold, chip proof, can go in the dishwasher or the microwave. No wonder they were used in school canteens and put to various other commercial uses in the 60s and 70s.

I cannot imagine a more hard working, plucky glass. And all for a coupla quid each. I got mine from Rinkit via Amazon. They are surely due for a major come back.

Update. Johnny Loulous has now started stocking them. I now have them in both the medium and large size. I prefer the large for water (I drink a lot of water).

The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Marketing

This little museum is just a short walk away from where I grew up. I’ve been meaning to go there ever since I discovered its existence, a couple of years ago. It’s a lovely way to spend an hour or so and unless you’re unlucky, it should be nice and calm and not too busy.

There are cabinets full of packets of washing up liquid, sweets, chocolate, biscuits, bleach, stock cubes…you get the picture. It shows how packaging has changed over the years (or, not so much in some cases) and it’s a great trip down memory lane. I found it comfortingly nostalgic. There are good toilets, a very simple cafe (simple as in the staff have a kettle and make the tea) but a few tables to sit at – very peaceful (or was when we went) with a TV showing ads from the past on a loop – which provided excellent entertainment.

The shop has some great postcards (55p showing vintage ads).

I loved this place. Go.

Ottolenghi is round the corner if you want to spend lots of money on great pastries.

Museum of Brands:

Opening hours
Tues-Sat 10.00:18.00, Sun 11.00:17.00
Closed Mondays except Bank Holidays
Last entry is 45 minutes before closing
Closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Notting Hill Carnival
Adults £6.50 (including Gift Aid),
Children (7-16) £2.25, Family £15.00, Concessions £4.00. Group discount 10% (groups of 10 or more are asked to pre-book).