Ever had a coffee that was too hot to drink? What about one that was too hot to hold?
That latter sometimes proves to be the case when we serve it in some cherished French porcelain Mazagran drinking cups.
The ones pictured above are part of a set purchased as a gift way back in 1974. They were bought in Vierzon at a weekly fair at which various artisans plied their wares. I haven't been able to trace where exactly they were produced but each carries the mark "Atelier de Tabalou" and I'm wondering if they come from the Limoges area, home to other fine porcelain products.
Mazagran refers to both the drinking cup and a type of coffee popular in Algeria. There's a little more detail over at this wikipedia link.
One way of cooling the coffee and the cup is to place a long handled spoon in the hot liquid - it dissipates the heat. I find though that if I hold the cup at its base, holding a finger under the rim for stability it's easy enough to manage. Nice too on a cold day to cup the Mazagran between your hands to warm them. Sometimes visitors express surprise at the absence of a handle and look at us as if we weren't wise especially if the heat gets to them.
I have another set that are a bit taller / deeper and that makes it a little more difficult to clean the bottom of the bowl. That isn't a problem with these ones though they do pose the different challenge of protecting the delicate gilding and decoration. Requiring that extra bit of care, I tend not to trust the dishwasher with their cleansing.
That way, even as they are approaching their half century they look as if they will provide many more years of pleasurable use.
Time for one.