If you are looking for a reliable mortar and pestle but you don’t want to spend a fortune, you might be having a hard time finding something. Sur La Table has a $18 white marble mortar and pestle that caught my eye. Having the need for just such a piece, I purchased it.
The Sur La Table mortar and pestle sell for $18, direct from Sur La Table stores and their website. The mortar is made of white marble, as is the pestle. The product is made in Taiwan. A comparable (though slightly larger) mortar and pestle made in Italy of Carrera marble costs about $100, so there is a huge delta in pricing based on the origin.
Sur La Table sells it as their own, but it was manufactured by Trans-World Association Inc.
The packaging was barebones, but everything showed up safe and sound. The mortar and pestle were kept apart during shipping so there was no scratching and no cracks. The item showed up clean and dust-free.
Being solid marble, it is not dishwasher safe.
This is a small mortar and pestle set, with the mortar measuring in at 2.5 inches tall by 4.5 inches across. The depth of the bowl is right about 2 inches with an internal diameter of 3.5 inches. The pestle is 5 inches end to end.
So it’s small, but for me this is a strength because it keeps the weight of the overall set down!
This full set weighs 1.75 pounds, which is about half the weight of my full-sized marble mortar and pestle. This means the small Sur La Table model is much easier to store in my kitchen and I don’t have to worry about putting it away. A dropped marble pestle could break a toe, crack a tile, smash a glass range, or put a heck of a dent in wood flooring, so I prefer to see smaller models.
This size is completely sufficient for my spice mashing. Sure, you can’t do as much as you would with a large model, but you are alway limited by how many seeds (spices, etc.) you have the strength to smash at once, so the limitation is usually you, not the size of the mortar. Since it’s better to grind in small doses, you might has well have a small mortar.
Overall, the Sur La Table mortar and pestle is a great deal for $18 and it’s something I’d definitely recommend.