What is a kotlich?
It is an enamelled cooking pot with a strong arched handle and a rounded base. It is finely balanced, beautiful to look at and easy to use. It is essentially for hanging over a wood or charcoal fire and cooking outside. The Kotlich can be almost any size and several different shapes.
We are often asked where our pots come from. We discovered them in the Balkans (Serbo-Croat kotlich, Hungarian bogracs). Pot/kettle/cauldron just doesn’t do them justice, so we use the name we first learnt, the kotlich. It’s light and versatile and has been cooking gouljas and paprikas in Eastern Europe for centuries. Perhaps they came from the East in true nomad style strapped to saddle bags jogging across the steppe.
Really so light?
Yes, if you are used to outdoor cooking with a Dutch oven or other cast iron pot, you’ll be surprised by the kotlich. It is very light because it is fashioned tin in double-dipped and fired enamel. We are proud to support a village workshop in southern Hungary where the kotlich and the tripods are all made by hand. We have watched skilled men fashion 13l bowls on a lathe one fitting perfectly inside the next. Yes, it’s village craftsmanship, which means there are sometimes little inconsistencies, but we know the care with which everything is made.
And are they easy to clean?
They are easy to clean because that double-dipped and fired enamel is as hard and smooth as glass. Even the occasional burning, easy to do when cooking over a fire and enjoying a host of outdoor pleasures and company, is easily cleaned. We usually soak and wipe immediately after use.
They are robust enough to go in a bag in the back of a car, but don’t drop them or whack them; you could damage the enamel. But we are still using some that go back years. Here’s to the sun treading steadily back to us, and here’s to sweet smoke and outdoor cooking!