Dine Like the Ancients With Our Ceramic Cruets
If you’ve been inside our store at Aurelius Food, you may have noticed some beautiful oil dispensers gracing our windows and shelves. These are actually called “cruets” (pronounced crew-wit), believed to have been derived from “crue,” an old French word for “earthen pot,” or the Dutch word “kruicke,” sometimes spelled crewet. Of religious origin, it’s believed that they were made popular in the 17th century by Cardinal Mazarin of France, who kept one for balsamic vinegar and one for oil. It’s interesting how much influence past monarchs and authority figures have on current culture because four centuries later, we're still using cruets to protect our oils and vinegars!
WHAT ARE THEY AND WHY SHOULD I GET ONE?
Cruets are used to hold oils, balsamics, and other liquid condiments. In its early days, cruets were made of gold or silver and its stopper was shaped like a cross, as they were used to hold wine and water for religious ceremonies. Today, they are made from different materials such as glass, porcelain, ceramic, or steel. They can come in all sorts of colours and patterns so there’s one for every kitchen. A cruet is convenient for those that like to buy their oils or balsamics in bulk as they can keep a small portion for daily use.
When purchasing a cruet, it’s best to get one that is opaque or at least translucent so that the sun doesn’t heat the bottle and shorten the shelf life of your oil. You’ll also want one that has a lid or stopper so nothing oxidizes. Some people are under the impression that cruets cannot hold balsamics because of their acidity but they absolutely can. If you’ve got one with a metal pour spout, take care to clean and dry it properly so there is no chance of rusting.
The cruets you see at our store are handcrafted by different artists in Montreal. Poterie Bonmatin makes the multicoloured dispensers that hold 400ml; each of the striped ones are painted differently so no two are alike! The larger white and grey ones are from Atelier Tréma and will hold up to 600ml. Our newest cruets are brought in from Montreal-based artist Jacques Benoît. These ceramics are handmade from Kamouraska clay and mixed with ash from cherry and maple wood. The insides of our cruets are glazed so you don’t have to worry about leakage but we do recommend washing them between refills (hot water is best for cleaning oils). Because of their opacity, you don’t need to worry about sunlight getting through but be sure to keep them somewhere cool and dry.
Our cruets make a great gift for yourself or any foodie in your life- practical and colorful, they are the perfect addition to both kitchens and dinner tables alike.