I am long overdue to write an article about Kahla Porcelain. They sent me a free sample of a few pieces last summer just a couple of weeks before we left to start cruising and I didn’t have time to write. Since then we have been using them steadily so now is the time. First though let’s look at the matter of materials.
Plastic, Corelle, Stoneware, Porcelain?
There are always folks that prefer unbreakable dishes, and that’s great. Personally though I find melamine, even the good stuff, does scratch over time. The cheap stuff scratches in a season. Plus I like a little more weight in my dishes. And I just prefer not to use plastic when there are good alternatives. However the good heavy-weight melamine is a reasonable choice for long-term cruising. The cute, cheap stuff is fine for seasonal boating but will not stand up to living aboard.
Most stoneware I find TOO heavy though, so call me picky. But there are some lighter stoneware choices and I’m currently using a Denby China pattern that is a stoneware but not a really heavy one.
For years I used Corelle and have only one or two pieces break over the last dozen years. But boy, when they do break it’s everywhere. Corelle had the slickness and weight nearly of good porcelain, but stacked in no space at all. I know many cruisers use it.
Cheap porcelain chips and cracks. Good porcelain is robust, light-but-not-too-light, and can come in beautiful patterns. Good porcelain can be used for years before you see chipping or signs of aging. It will break, even on the wood floors of a boat, but not easily and it breaks in pieces, not tiny shards. It holds the heat of a meal well, as does stoneware. It costs more than the other choices. I would not use it for seasonal boating, but for plans that include years of full-time cruising it’s a reasonable choice.
Kahla Porcelain for Boats
First of all know I’m a beauty nut. You wouldn’t know it to look at the way I (don’t) take care of my hair and clothes, but I get immense pleasure from beautiful things. I inherited a silver teapot from my mother that makes me happy each time I see or use it. (Sadly I decided I could not bring it on the boat, but it waits in storage in case we ever return to land.) I never fail to get pleasure from using beautiful or beautifully designed objects. Now I realize people have different ideas of beauty, but some of you will find the Kahla porcelain as beautiful as I do.
Let me start with the utility angle though. The items they sent me are part of their first line of porcelain for boats and utilize a silicone-coated rim so that they stay put. They call it Magic Grip and it is done beautifully. Yes, you can apply a silicone caulk to your own dishes, but this is done flawlessly and has not come off or changed in any way in the nine months I have been using them daily. I wish all my dishes had Magic Grip. It provides a solid and reassuring feel when you put your hot tea down on a table.
The line of porcelain for boats is called “On Tour” and has three colors which can be mixed and matched nicely: white, Blue Harbor, and Sail Away. Blue Harbor has a stunning blue glaze with gold accents on the outside and a gold compass symbol on the inside surface. Sail Away is predominantly white with dark blue and gold accents in a lovely web pattern. It also has the gold compass symbol on the interior surfaces. And white is of course all white and is less expensive than the decorated items.
There are many pieces to this set, perhaps more than is strictly called for! They have a two-person set that will save a little money if you want all the pieces, but I’d really love to see a more basic set for even less money. The two-person-sized set is a brilliant idea, although I suspect most of us would still want to buy two sets for two people. The box of patterned items have different patterns of each person – i.e. there is one Blue Harbor mug and one Sail Away mug. I love the mix.
The sizes and names are unusual – possibly this is more familiar to europeans. The main pieces are:
|Item||Diameter(Inches)||Approx Price Range||Usage|
|Dinner Plate||10.4||$25-$30||Full-size dinner plate|
|*Pasta Plate||8.6||$20-$27||Broad bowl|
|*Dessert Plate||8.5||$18-$23||Lunch Plate|
|Plate||5.5||$14-$14.50||Dessert plate - too small for meal use|
|*Cafe au Lait Bowl||5.25||$19-$21||Rounded small bowl|
|Saucer||4||$10||Covers bowl and mug but not essential|
|*Mug||3.25||$14-$19||Small tea mug (8 oz)|
*I would consider the asterisk’d pieces to be a minimal set, but your needs may differ. Why would I select these particular pieces? I would leave out the dinner plate because we prefer smaller plates (and they are easier to store). I would leave out the “Plate” because we don’t need a plate that small. I would keep the pasta plate because we serve lots of one-bowl dishes like soups and stews. However the “Dessert Plate” would be perfect for sandwiches or dinners that don’t need a bowl. I would get the cafe-au-lait bowl for cereal, although the slightly larger bowl would be fine, too. The mug, although too small for my husband’s preferences, is perfect for my tea. I would skip the saucer.
The On Tour selection is a pleasure to use. The non-skid bottoms are perfect for boat or home and makes them stack quietly as well. I find the patterns pleasing and nautical without being “too cute” – you could live with these for formal and informal meals forever. Except for a great travel mug (not pictured) from another line that I dropped while unpacking it (and of course it fell on a piece of metal) nothing has broken or chipped in the last nine months of use. I will continue to use it and show it off!
You can buy it from the Kahla Porcelain online store (look for the Buy Online button to find the online store). The prices are provided in British pounds, the prices I included above are approximate conversions of those prices, I don’t know what the actual costs would be. Shipping is from Germany and will take some time so plan ahead. I notice that Amazon is also carrying some of their pieces, but at least at the time of writing they did not have the On Tour line there.
If you do decide to buy some, please let me know!