Bambu, the maker of bamboo kitchen tools and serving pieces, has launched a new line of products made from another renewable material, cork.
The earthy material has been pressed into a number of modern designs for bowls, cutting boards, and serving trays. The high-density cork products are lightweight and surprisingly impervious to liquids, and, according to the company, naturally anti-microbial and anti-fungal. Bambu claims the product line is "the world's first cork tabletop collection."
I recently gave the cork cutting boards a test drive.
Unlike wood (and, particularly, synthetic) cutting boards, the cork boards have a naturally spongy consistency that works like a shock absorber, cushioning the knife (and your wrist) with each slice. They also clean up well, which was a surprise, since I expected the cork would be particularly vulnerable to staining. Juice from freshly cut strawberries left no permanent marks.
While there's a benefit to the extremely light weight of the cork boards -- very easy to haul out from the cabinet -- the boards weren't ideal for more difficult cutting maneuvers. For example, the board tended to slip when I worked at splitting and breaking down a whole chicken into parts. A heftier board would have been more effective and reliable.
And though the cork does have a natural "healing" property that closes up cuts made by a knife, I would be concerned that the occasional misguided slice would end up producing divots, diminishing how long the boards will last over time. Serrated knives would certainly be a no-no.
So, while I wouldn't replace my cutting boards with cork ones, they're a welcome addition for those cutting tasks to which they are best suited.
Bambu's collection of cork bowls, cutting boards, and serving trays are available at branchhome.com.