terracotta cazuelas get hot - very hot in fact and unlike many other types of cookware they also retain their heat for some time afterwards. Place a piping hot terracotta cazuela onto a hard cold work surface such as granite or marble and there is the chance that you may end up with disasterous results because as with glass and other clay cookware cazuelas don't tend to like extreme differences in temperture...
There is also the table top to consider, eating outdoors is of course fantastic but the guests will not be impressed with the smell of burning plastic followed by the chilli garlic prawns disappearing through the center of your plastic garden table.
Keeping things as natural as possible we welcome the wooden 'cazuela board', available in various sizes from 14cm - 30cm these inch thick wooden boards both reduce thermal shock for your terracotta and also fully protect your table tops and work surfaces. Essentially a multi purpose round serving board some of the local bars, restaurants and indeed ourselves (yes we have a outdoor plastic table..!) are now taking advantage of what is a very simple solution to serving piping hot Spanish dishes in their terracotta cazuelas. Spanish cooking is a friends and family affair where just with the paella the food is placed in the pan/cazuela it was cooked in center table for everyone to dig in. With cazuelas becoming so hot a wooden board is the ideal solution for all types of serving scenarios including those sizzling garlic prawns.
These concave round boards are made from pine, an economical but hard wearing wood that is also open to staining and dressing so why leave them their natural colour when for a couple of pounds or euros down the DIY store you can get some small tins of wood stain and put your own ideas and colours to work. Tapas are all about colour, served in rustic terracotta tapas do not get any more Spanish so why not consider adding some colour and functionality to the table and create your own personalised way of presenting your Spanish food?
'Cazuela Board Sets' available here.