Fontignac enameled 'steam cooking' cast iron cookware

bluebloomJanuary 7, 2006

Does anyone have experience with or knowledge of Fontignac enameled cast iron cookware? It's made in France, and has the dimpling inside the lid (?like the doufeu of Le Creuset), and the Diva ones have an indent on the lid holder for a spoon. They're supposed to be ok on any kind of oven/stove, but I didn't see any temperature maximum mentioned on the website.

I like the colors which include a darker green than the kiwi that's popular now in Le Crueset, a pretty yellow (vanille), blue and ebony. I saw a few in a cookware store, and a round casserole Diva pot was under $110 Cdn.

I'm wondering how it performs compared to Le Creuset which seems to be a gold standard (I have none of any.... yet). Oh yes, and whether the dimpling design would preclude any type of cooking that the regular Le Creuset type items do, re the "steam cooking".

Here is a link that might be useful: Fontignac: http://www.fontignac.com/Pages/panglais/gammea/cocottea.html#mervillea

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kbuzbee

By steam cooking I assume you mean braising??? If so, the reason Le Creuset seems to work so well is the fit and the weight of the lid. It also has very high quality enameling (helpful for cleanup). I would look at the lid and see how it seems to fit (barring anyone here having actual experience). I think people are generally happy with most brands of enameled cast iron they've tried. Have yet to hear anyone say "Stay away from X".

Good luck and let everyone know if you give it a go.

Ken

    Bookmark   January 8, 2006 at 9:39AM
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jerrymb

I have to agree with Kbuzbee, I think the days of LC ruling over their particular niche of cookware is slipping fast, There are some good competitors out there, at some excellent price points, I just bought a round enameled item myself, its about as deep as my LTD saute pan, and it has a Pyrex lid, and straight walled and about 10" in diameter, and has the typical everyday handles, I have not tried it yet but i am thinking my enameled lid from my other dutch oven will fit, that would be sweet. I picked this up for $18.00. I will try to report back with a review soon.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2006 at 11:21AM
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bluebloom

Thanks for the comments. I just noticed on some ads for Staub similar dimples or protrusions on lids... I guess it helps to make the water/liquid drips more evenly dispersed.

And yes that would be for braising, but I was wondering if enameled cast iron is great for any other method of cooking (besides "lid off" roasting & baking) that the Fontignac cookware wouldn't perform well.

There was another even cheaper brand (couldn't see a brand name) at the same store... seemed lighter though. That would be nice for my weak-ish hands, but I'm kind of lusting after one of the pretty heavier ones... would probably keep it to either a 3-4 quart size, or maybe one of those shallow round casserole items with lid. In any case, I don't go much to the stores so will read more and probably take some time to decide.... especially since I'm reasonably well-stocked with stainless steel cookware. And also have Romertopf clay bakers that I picked up super cheaply at garage sale/second hand store. But that's not for stove-top use, and our oven's on the blink right now.... hmmm....

Meanwhile, I've learned a ton & really enjoy browsing some of the posts here - thanks!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2006 at 4:04PM
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kbuzbee

Yes, there are similar dimples on some Staub and Le Creuset models. They are, as you indicate, supposed to make them auto-basting. Reviews I've read say the water does not condense and drip from them as the lids are simply too warm. I think they are basically a non issue.

I find the Le Creust works equally well on the stovetop as it does in the oven. I would expect the same from similar products. I was out of oven space last Thanksgiving and made an Indian Corn Pudding dish on the stovetop. It came out perfectly! I would stay with the heavier castings though for uniformity of heat distribution.

Ken

    Bookmark   January 9, 2006 at 5:04PM
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