Other Brands of Enameled Cast Iron?

ben_950November 10, 2005

Wow. I've only been visiting this forum for a few days, and can't believe the enthusiasm for enameled cast iron. Every other thread seams to be about le Creuset or Staub.

I was wondering your thoughts on a couple other brands I've seen, Olive & Thyme and Well Equipped Kitchen. TJ's and Marshalls carry both these from time to time, and the price is considerably less than the "Big Boys." Is there really a noticeable difference? Or is the name what you're paying for?

Just wondering,

Ben

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kbuzbee

Actually, I'm interested in folks "favorite" cast iron brand, over all. Le Creuset? Staub? Something else? It varies by piece??

In another post there was an article comparing 5.5 qt Le Creuset, Staub and Emile Henry Flametop. They concluded the Staub and EH did not self baste the way they said they would and so prefered the Le Creuset for it's tighter fitting lid. Seems valid but I don't understand why the others didn't work the way they were supposed to...

Thanks!

Ken

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 5:44PM
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maggie2094

I was wondering about that too Ken and Ben (okay I'm not laughing at that)....especially since they called Staub an upstart (been around like 100 years and the top french chefs use it). I am getting my first piece of Staub soon so I can't answer the question, but for me a $100++ piece of cookware isn't in my near future after blowing the bankroll on the remodel! Plus, other rooms in my house are now jeolous and want to be remodelled too! Looking forward to the responses.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 8:29PM
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mgmsrk

Martha had a line, she may still produce it. I have one of hers aside from the fact it is a sickly gray-green it has held up fine over the last 5 years or so.

I have the large LC oval and just love it.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 9:43PM
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lindac

I started out many many years ago with some desco ware that were wedding gifts....still using all but the 8 inch frypan that I simply wore out.
I gave my daughter and DIL a Le c knock off Dutch oven about 7 or 8 years ago....and they both still are fine....and my daughter uses it all the time. And last Christmas I gave my daughter a red "cordless crock pot" from Well Equipped Kitchen....it, so far, seems as good as Le C.
I love good heavy substantial cookware.....and if I had more room to store the stuff, I would have more!!
Linda C

    Bookmark   November 11, 2005 at 10:58AM
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triciae

I have both LC & a Staub from QVC. I love the LC, it's wonderful and there's not much else to say about it. I couldn't resist trying the Staub line from QVC 'cause of the incredible price point. I'm not certain, but suspect, it's made especially for QVC and not part of their regular line that you'd find, for example, at Chef's. The Staub is a very nice pot but is slightly thinner than my LC and the lid spews a little steam which my LC do not. However, neither of those seriously detract from the inexpensive Staub from QVC. I haven't had the Staub long enough to know whether quality of the enamel is a good as LC (which means I haven't banged it against something by accident yet). I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the QVC Staub line to someone who wanted to try enameled cast iron but didn't want the LC expense.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2005 at 11:41AM
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kbuzbee

Well, I bit the bullet and picked up the 5.5 quart LC round (blue) at Tuesday Morning yesterday. Be trying it tonight. After a few tries I'll let you all know how it goes.

Wish me luck,

Ken

    Bookmark   November 12, 2005 at 7:55AM
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bhardy

I have been searching everywhere for Olive & Thyme cook/bakeware, and only found Ben's message here online! Can anyone tell me wher to find Olive & Thyme cook and bakeware retail? I found one piece of red enamel cast iron at TJ Maxx, and would like to purchase more. Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 6:28PM
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maggie5il

I have both Staub (from QVC) and LC and like them equally. I've never had steam escape from the lid of my Staub. I just love them. I did see last month on an end cap at Target that they now sell a line of enameled cast iron. Don't know anything about it but I did pick one up and it was very heavy like the LC.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 9:14AM
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cooks4one

I only have 2 pieces of LC and absolutely love them. Having never used anything but LC, I can't comment on the other brands. I did read on another forum that Staub is excellent and was highly recommended.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 10:07AM
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nourania

ATTN: BHARDY
HI!! well, I found this site as I was searching for info on OLIVE & THYME cookware( I googled it and this site came up because of your post) I just bought a lovely OLIVE & THYME (7 QT Dutch Oven) today- I bought it here in NYC at Marshalls(like TJ MAXX)I bought it for 49.99usd. It was "orig". 85usd. It's beautiful, a lovely cream color(oval) with the OLIVE & THYME LOGO on lid. The only issue is that I CAN'T find ANY info or reviews on them ANYWHERE!! I hope it is not some horrible brand!! I mean 85 bucks is not cheap!! but I (or anyone else) except you has not heard of it. Do you have any advice on usage and care? Thanks

    Bookmark   December 6, 2005 at 12:09AM
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leolady

I have Descoware, Cousances, Le Creuset and they are all real good, but my very favorite is Copco enameled cast iron.

It is heavier cast iron than the other brands and has cast iron bottoms.

They no longer make this fine cookware, but great buys are available on Ebay.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 1:16PM
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nwesterner

Does anyone know about Innova? There is a local store that carries it. I purchased the non-stick 10" grill pan couple years ago, it is heavy and seems to work well. They seem to have quite a collection of fryers, dutch ovens, pots etc.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 5:51PM
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jerrymb

hi, well i have the 71/4 qt LC and a 5 qt round olive and tyme, its a redish orange, with a cream colored interior, the olive and tyme is a great pot, I have had it for a while and its been great

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 12:37AM
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rory8343

I have the Innova 4 quart oval and another oval that is 6.5 or 7 quart. I've had them for about three months they seem to work great and the price was right at Tuesday Morning.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 5:10PM
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mrsmarv

I have the "sickly gray/green" Martha Stewart Everyday round Dutch oven, purchased from KMart a few years back. I don't believe it's still in production...haven't seen it when I've gone in the stores. It's very good, well made and a fraction of the cost. I use it all the time. I also have an older LC (was my mom's) and a non-enameled Nomar from France (oval 7 qt.). They all work equally well.
I bought an Olive & Thyme for a friend at TJ Maxx's and she loves it.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2006 at 8:19AM
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sakismom

I was in the LC outlet store ove th eholidays and the guy in there told me that LC made certain pots that MArtha Stewart put her name on, not sure it had Martha Stewart for LC, kinda like William Sonoma had their own LC pots at one time.
I tell you I never had LC before my kitchen rennovation but I now swear by them I doubt I will be using my stainless pots for much more then making pasta. Teh LC cooks well and clean up is a dream of course they are heavy but hey that's one way to get a work out in....

    Bookmark   January 24, 2006 at 2:43PM
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bluebloom

I recently bought a 'Cook's Choice' (made in China) 2 quart, 2-handled enameled cast iron casserole pot in a pretty two-toned dark cobalt blue. That was the only size and color available; I prefer the blue over the orange on the box picture, and thought it was good for a first trial at a sale price of $14.99Cdn (regular $23.98).

It doesn't specify being good for fridge to oven or stovetop (as Le Creuset does), but would that be a no-no for any reason? Stated range compatibilities: Gas, Electricity, Radian, Halogen, Oven. Maximum temperature according to the enclosed paper: 200C.

It also doesn't specify whether the glass cover (with plastic knob) is ok for oven; I'm presuming and hoping it should be since they don't say it isn't??

I used it last night for chicken curry and thought I might have overcooked the chicken but it turned out very nice and moist. Cleaned up very nicely. I do wish the bottom was also enameled (it's dark, rougher as seen on many pots and I already put a scratch on the smoothtop range by carelessly sliding it instead of carefully picking up).

---->went to inspect it closely - left in on the dishrack to dry overnight after handwashing as per habit & was concerned whether rust would have formed on the top rim where there's no enamel. No rust, but there were a few scratches in the enamel - I thought I had read that it was ok to use SS utensils; I used both SS & hard plastic.

I did reject a couple other of the same pots before this one in the store, because of 'specks' of missing enamel on the inside, and perhaps the enamel might be a little thin on this pot. The bottom weighs over 3.5 lb (my scale isn't super accurate) and the lid about 0.75 lb; seems heaviesh to me but I don't know what a similar Le Creuset or Staub would weigh.

I'll aim to use it a lot before succumbing to the temptation to purchase others - though this pot is rather small and I like to make leftovers. If this brand seems to work very well, I may try a larger version(s).

Anybody spot any downsides to this brand that would be good to know? Or relative merits of other brands that might tip selection elsewhere for the next one? Can anyone clarify about glass lids and usage in the oven? Issues of fridge to heat or vice versa?

Link below is: http://www.kitchenniche.ca/casserole-4-p-1039.html

ps - Funny things are showing up on my "preview message" and my link doesn't seem to be accepted so I'll delete it from the link spot, & just cut & paste it here: http://www.kitchenniche.ca/casserole-4-p-1039.html

I hope the "junk letters" don't show up at beginning of paragraphs as in preview!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2006 at 4:40PM
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lynnalexandra

My mother just lent me her Le Club enameled dutch oven - but as I think about it - it's heavier than I think steel would be (though definitely lighter than le creuset_ - but the metal is light - could it still be cast iron - or is all cast iron dark gray?

Any opinions on these? It's brown enameled - round - probably close to 7 quarts.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2006 at 9:34PM
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bungalowbees

Mario Batali has some enameled Cast Iron. Great stuff, less money than LC & Staub but still not "cheap."

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 1:12PM
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Carol Schmertzler Siegel

lynnalexandra, I think it's aluminum. Club Aluminum. My mom has a set in brown, too! It's enameled on the outside.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 8:33PM
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lynnalexandra

dishesdone - thank you - I think you're right. Do you have any idea of it can go in the dishwasher?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2006 at 9:58PM
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Carol Schmertzler Siegel

I don't know, Lynnalexandra, my mom always washed them by hand. She used steel wool SOS or Brillo on them. I never saw her put them in the dishwasher. She still has them, they look good! If something burned onto the bottom, she put a little sour salt in with water, boiled it, and the burnt part came off.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2006 at 11:39AM
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sawmill

FWIW: I happened to go into a Domain store yesterday. It seems that AGA (the British cooker) has purchased Domain, LaCornue and several other brands. Now there is an AGA shop inside the Domain store.

What is relevant to this thread, you ask?
AGA has its own colorful line of enamaled cast iron. It felt slightly lighter to the touch than LC, but I could be wrong about that. The pieces were more modern in style, sleek perhaps. They had a light cream interior and various exteriors. The staffer told me they have machined bottoms which create a more even heat distribution. Then I came home and read that pots must have a machined bottom to work on an AGA.

AGA cast iron is not cheap; however, it is less expensive than LC and has a very attractive look. Just another option to check out.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 12:00PM
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nickie

Hi every one. I just had to join after reading this interesting topic. I have recently bought a second hand enameled roaster for ten dollars canadian. It is from a manufacturer I have been unable to find. I'm not even sure they exsist anymore. It is old, possibly antique. The label is hard to read as well. It has Siegwer,Star(k)plus more letters& Sieger. All in a circle around a large S with a small five point star above the large S. I think it is German. It is quite large at about 10 quarts. The handles are offset slightly to the side and is oval in shape. The lid is very flat and also has its handles to the side. It is black enamel on the outside and dark royal blue on the inside. It has to be the best designed roaster that I have ever come across, and believe me, I have used many different types. The handle for the lid and bottom together so well that it is like there is only one handle on each side. Can you tell I looove my new roaster. I would really like to find more types of products by this same company. Any else heard of this brand? Any suggestions? Oh yeah it works fabulously too!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 5:35PM
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nickie

I have just joined this group in hopes of finding more of this particular brand of enameled cookware. I bought the best oval roaster that I have ever used at a secondhand store, and believe me I have used lots. The label on the side is indistinct. What I have been able to read is Siegwer, Star(k?) more letters(?), Sieger all in a circle around a large S. The S has a small five pointed star above it. I know that it is older and possibly German(?). My first posting was in Other brands of enamelware, but have had no response yet. My roaster is large at about 10 quarts, oval with the handles slightly off the sides. The lid is very flat with its handles sloping down to meet the handles of the roaster. When you pick it up it is like only having one handle on either side. It is black on the outside and dark royal blue on the inside. It is also very heavy. I love it so much I want to find more. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Yes I have already tried the internet, that is how I found your site. Not much success otherwise.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2006 at 3:21PM
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arley_gw

I was just at TJ Maxx where they often have Le Creuset seconds. They also had a line made in China called 'Best Equipped Kitchen'. I compared them to the LC items right next to them, and couldn't see any difference in heft or apparent quality. I will try to put it through its paces this weekend (I hope to try 'Poulet Poele a l'estragon' from J. Child's 'Mastering the art of French Cooking'. That recipe should give it a workout--browning the chicken then putting it in the oven to finish). This item was about a 4 to 5 quart oval dutch oven for $39. A comparable LC 'second' would retail for about 2 times that, a 'first' about 4 times that. While LC may indeed be better, I don't know if it would be 2 to 4 times better.

I bought a smaller LC second there as well. A tiny chip on the enamel of the lid. Doubt that it would affect cooking perfomance.

I'll post my impressions when I have some experience with the pot.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 3:39PM
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arley_gw

that chinese cast iron was 'well equipped kitchen', not 'best equipped kitchen'

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 5:07PM
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susie53_gw

I received a Le Creuset skillet last Christmas. I didn't use it due to it being so heavy. I have arthritis and it is difficult for me. However. we just put in a new kitchen and I have started using it. I love it. It is so easy to clean.. And I use it on a glass topped stove...

Susie

    Bookmark   November 4, 2006 at 8:13PM
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franci_a

I need to locate a Desco Ware dealer in Southern California.
I received an entire set for a wedding present many, many years ago, and I need to get the bottom of the large roaster pan re-enameled. The rest of the set is still in great shape! This is my favorite (and most heavily used) of the set. Any suggestions?
Franci

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 11:20AM
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joe_blowe

franci,

Descoware is no more! Long live Descoware...

Here is a link that might be useful: A Brief History of Descoware

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 2:20PM
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kitchendetective

There is a company named Siegwerk in Lynchburg, VA, that makes enamels, I believe. Perhaps if you could track that company down, they would know something about a similarly named cookware? Just a wild possibility?

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 10:52AM
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southernorchidlover

Arley,

I eagerly await your review of the Well Equipped Kitchen dutch oven. I am so tempted to purchase one, but I can't find any information about the manufacturer. A bright lime green one is calling my name!

I'm glad I found this forum!

Thanks,
Valencia

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 4:04PM
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blondelle

I'm really upset as I just found out that Staub is also making the Rachel Ray enameled iron cookware. They seemed to have cheapened it as someone complained about the quality on Amazon, and another there said the enamel was chipping off after one use. I'm really surprised at Staub, as I thought they would have more regard for their reputation. They even used the same designs. On the top is Rachel Ray, and on the bottom the Staub cookware.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 7:27PM
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jackidr

Southern, I have the lime green Well equipped Kitchen dutch oven from TJMaxx/Marshalls/HomeGoods (I can never remember which one I bought which item). I have no complaints, cooks well, cleans easily and no chipping. I've purchased several peices from there with different brand names but I think they are all the same manufacturer: Authentic Kitchen, Olive & Thyme and Innova. Lately they have had a couple of ther brands that seem to have a different styling. I got a reversible double grill/griddle that is NappaStyle by Michael Chiarelli. It also performs well. I've never had LC or Staub, but I really can't see what else it could do to make it worth the difference in price.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 9:16PM
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southernorchidlover

Hello jackidr,

Thank you for your review of the Well Equipped Kitchen dutch oven. Alas, I waited too late to purchase the lime green lovely, but the next time I see one, I will purchase it!

Valencia

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 9:19PM
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jackidr

Southern,

They seem to get them in quite reqularly, so I'm sure you will find one soon.

I have a rule about Marshalls/TJMaxx/HomeGoods - if I even think I might want it, I buy it. When I get it home, I tape the receipt to it and leave the tags on until I use it. If I haven't used it by the 28th day, I take it back, unless it was an item that I knew wouldn't get used until later, like a holiday item. If I can think of a person that would like it as a gift, I will keep it. Otherwise back it goes.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 9:23PM
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lagatella

I live in Lynchburg Virginia and checked the phone directory for the Siegwerk Company. I called and they make priting ink. Hmmmm, I'll keep checking!

I have heard the Mario enamel cookware can stand higher temps in the oven.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 8:33AM
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arley_gw

Interim report: so far the Well Equipped Kitchen oval Dutch oven is working fine. I've only used it a few times, but it holds heat well, cooks evenly, has a nice slick enamel surface, and seems to be doing everything one expects a Dutch oven to do, all at about 1/3 (or less!) of the price of comparable Le Creuset item. The oval shape is just right for poaching a whole chicken.

I tried it on induction, too; it worked great. (I have a little dinky HomeSmart induction hot plate. I imagine it would be even better on a "real" induction cooktop.)

Briefly, if you see some, feel free to go ahead and take a chance on it. IMHO I think it's a real good value for the buck. I'm gonna buy more if I find some different sizes.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 5:14PM
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Diane2566

Hello, I am about to purchase a LC Oval pot. I think I want the 6 3/4 qt. size unless anyone thinks I should just get the 5 qt size. Then I have to decide on the color. I can get any color but was thinking about the NEW Satin Black. Does anyone know about this color? Some people say it is not enameled as well as the other color pans. I will try and get to the store to find out but just thought someone in this forum might know. Thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 8:28PM
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blondelle

The enamel on the Satin Black is a high temp enamel, which means it's stronger and can take a higher cooking temp, as it was fired at a higher temp than the shiny colors. It's enameled just as well as the colors. It also will build up a nonstick patina which the others won't do. It won't show stains as much, and will sear and brown better than the glossy enamel. The trade off is that it's not as pretty as the colors. If you have a TJMaxx near by, call and see if they have any of the Staub. Several people have seen the French Staub there, for ridiculous prices. The French Staub is the one with the black interior.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 10:52PM
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southernorchidlover

Arley,

Thanks for the interim report. I've seen a few ovals at my TJMaxx but haven't considered them because of the shape. Now I'm curious!

Valencia

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 11:27PM
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cooking4life

The only difference I have noticed in the Olive & Thyme brand and the LeCreuset brand other than price, is the heat resistant plastic knobs as opposed to the iron knobs. The Olive & Thyme brand requires a pot holder to remove the lids. Otherwise, I must say that my enameled cast iron cookware has been one of the best kitchen investments I've made!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2007 at 5:56PM
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honey_grower

Martha Stewart has a cast iron 5-qt w/glass lid $25 and also a 5-qt cast iron w/enamel w/cast iron lid $50 - is it worth the difference in price to get the enamel inside and the cast iron lid?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 1:47PM
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jessyf

Target sells Lodge enameled cast iron. I bought the 6 qt and I love it. Their selections change all the time - as of now they are only selling 3 qt blue or reds. I paid $50 plus shipping. for mine. As we speak I'm braising short ribs in it!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 6:01PM
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maywoodw

$50 for a 6qt enameled Lodge - good deal! The local TJMaxx had some beige oval "well equipped kitchen" ovens - about 5qts +- for $36. The brown LCs are being discontinued and can be had at some savings at the LC stores. As for me, I picked up a 5qt Innova for $29 from the same TJMaxx store.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 9:52PM
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blondelle

By the brown Le Creuset, do you mean the new Chestnut color? They just introduced that a few months ago!!! I don't think the person doing the colors for Le Creuset is doing a very good job. I'm not crazy about the Dune or the Chestnut, or their new turquoise Carribean color. Mario Batali just brought out a Chianti color that's stunning. A beautiful brick red. Le Creuset should do a beautifully shaded brick red, like a deep Adobe color, with a touch or rose.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 11:50PM
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southernorchidlover

Last week, the Home Depot web site was selling the chestnut LeCreuset at quite a discounted price.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 9:37PM
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bungalowbees

More enameled cast iron choices -- saw Calphalon at BBB & the covered pots have "raised dots" under their lids similar to Staub. More options. Not exactly cheap but less than some brands. Anyone tried these yet?

Nice to have choices.

Here is a link that might be useful: Calphalon enameled cast iron

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 12:53PM
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kitchendetective

I just noticed that Calphalon at BBB, too. Would have posted, but you beat me to it! I must say, though, I agree with Gardenlad about those raised dots: not fun to clean them when I use my Lodge fryer (not enameled--just cast iron).

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 2:40PM
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jackidr

I saw the Calphalon at BBB too. All my enameled cast iron are the brands found at Marshalls/TJMaxx/HomeGoods. None of them have the raised dots. How exactly do they work? All the food that I cook stays moist without the dots. Now, I wonder how long it will take for the Calphalon to start showing up at Marshalls/TJMaxx/HomeGoods? It didn't take the Calphalon One long, so I'm guessing these will be there soon.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2007 at 11:31PM
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southernorchidlover

I found a Target Chefmate enameled casserole pot last week. I am one happy young lady! Thanks to all for your help. This forum is great!

Now what to prepare first! :)

    Bookmark   February 18, 2007 at 8:57AM
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kitchendetective

Blondelle,
Have you tried that satin black version of LC? How high a flame can you use? Do you think it would scratch if shaken and moved over the grid? I'm curious because I use my LC on my small (low BTU) cooktop because I use it with a low flame, but then I never use it to saute or fry.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2007 at 9:53AM
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andreagb

Southernorchidlover, where, oh where, did you find that Target Chefmate pot? I missed it the first time they had it in stock and have been looking everywhere since. Deeply appreciative of any and all help!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 12:24PM
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blondelle

I wound up selling the Satin Black. Actually I'm changing everything over to Staub, I like everything about it more than Le Creuset!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 10:54PM
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southernorchidlover

andreagb,

I went to Target to check out canisters and glanced over to the spot where they are usually displayed.

There it was.

My local Target only stocks one at a time. Once it's gone, you don't see another one for three or so months.

-Valencia

    Bookmark   February 23, 2007 at 5:10PM
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marys1000

I'm wondering about what I saw somewhere (can't remember) that some Le Creuset is made in Taiwan and some in France.
For me part of the draw is that is made in France - I need to replace a 20 year old pot with handle and want to buy LC that is made in France - how do I make sure?
Enamel is desireable to some people because of its inertness - I don't particularly trust the Tawain and Chinese versions as much. What goes into their enamel? How is it fired? etc.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 2:01PM
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marys1000

Well I answered my own question by call LC's hotline.
Their enamled cast iron is made in France but the stoneware and enameled steel is made in Thailand.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 2:14PM
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mccall

Just found out that Mario Bettali enameled cookware is made by COPCO. At least according to Wakiipedia.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 11:08AM
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qwerty_2007

I came across this thread because one of these posts makes reference to an online vendor at www.kitchenniche.ca

I had a bad experience using that vendor. My experience:

They delayed shipping my purchase, without notifying me, and did not respond to email communication asking for an explanation. An item which was supposed to ship in 24 hours, and take 3-6 days to arrive, took a month and a half. According to the tracking record, the item only actually shipped after I initiated action through Paypal. Neither of my two emails to this vendor received a response.

FYI.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 3:18PM
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weeks_liz_gmail_com

Great thread - I bought an Olive and Thyme yesterday at Marshalls, noticed the "made in china" label after I got home and with all the recalls lately about lead-painted toys and melamine-laced grains, i got a little concerned.

I've purchased a number of Le Creuset ovens as gifts, but have never been able to part with the money on my own behalf. The O&T was half the price with the same heft, and i liked the iron handle as opposed to heat resistant plastic, so I just couldn't resist.

Anyway, I went i-hunting just to see if there were any recalls, and I find a handful of nice reviews. Thanks everyone, and happy cooking!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 7:54AM
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jessyf

Lodge sells enameled cast iron. Try Amazon. They have two lines - Liberty (more expensive) and Colors (less expensive - $50 for a six quart, through Amazon Target).

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 8:07AM
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plumfield

I bought Staub because of the non-reactive surface and because Staub's all-matte-black option and rich colors appealed to me.

I was so disappointed when both a 1-year used Staub pot AND my brand-spanking-new Basil Coq au Vin failed the "baking soda and water" test for leaching metals.

Aside from being so beautiful and sturdy, I think most of us justify the cost of this product because we believe it will be a healthier option than teflon, aluminum, and stainless that leaches nickel and chromium.

If health concerns are an issue for you, I strongly suggest you test whether or not metals are leaching off of the enamel, and what they are....and even if it tests safe, it might be a good idea to test periodically.

If for one am very interested in hearing results from others, since my Staub has failed. I purchased both pieces from Sur La Table. I understand that some of the higher end cookware companies farm out some of their manufacturing to China and sell it at lower prices, btw, but I was under the impression that I was purchasing products made in Europe.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 11:41AM
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wngfn1996

I am new to this forum. I would like to know about the last statement about the baking soda test. I today purchased two dutch ovens by Descoware. A two quart and a five quart. The small one is pretty much unused but the larger one was diffentately more used. It has some scratching on the bottom but I don't think it has gone thru the enameling. Is this something I should worry about. TIA Jeanne

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 4:00PM
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joe_blowe

The "baking soda test" is used by unscrupulous snake-oil salesman in order to scare you, make you think there's something wrong with your existing cookware, and to make a big sale off suckers.

Don't fall for it.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 4:04PM
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plumfield

How I did the baking soda test: I read somewhere to use 3 T baking soda to 1 c water, but because I was low on baking soda the day I did this, I just used 1 T baking soda to 1 c water...heated it to a boil for a few minutes in a variety of pans, tasted it and compared each one to a control batch that hasn't been heated.

Here's what I know so far: the taste was AWFUL, as I mentioned above. Metallic and nasty.

So, the results are that there is a bad, metallic flavor. In order to verify which, if any, metals come off of cookware, I plan on doing some testing to see what metals, if any, are in the water I use, (and hopefully to find some pure water from my home water filter to work with)the control baking soda solution, and then in the solutions I test in the pans. I plan to use different levels of alkalinity and acidity and plain water. I also plan to take different foods of different levels of acidity and alkalinity, cook those with some water that can be tested later. Tomato sauce will be a definite one to try, but I'll have to dilute the results enough to see a visible color change during testing, and see what that yields. I am told, but do not know for sure, that some foods will react, but perhaps that those foods with a fairly neutral pH should not react. And I'll need to do a few tests at different points in time, like before the boiling point is reached. All of these tests need to be repeated on a variety of cookware -- different types, different degrees of use/misuse, etc. And I will be somewhat limited by the test kits I use. It will be an expensive project, even getting the testing supplies in bulk. Hopefully, at the end of it, I'll know under what conditions any given type of pan is likely to release a substance that is toxic.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2007 at 1:30AM
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cjmzzz

At an Estate Sale today I purchased a beautiful PAUL BOCUSE blue enameled oval cast iron dutch oven with self basting lid. The name PAUL BOCUSE is emobossed on the lid and it is made by Nomar in France. I can't find another one like it. Does anyone know when it may have been made and if it was a limited edition? I wish to sell it on Ebay but I would like to know more about it first. Thank you!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 10:34PM
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danab_z9_la

The baking soda test is nothing more than a sales gimmick designed to make the unwary consumer believe that something is wrong with their cookware. Don't fall for it.
A common demonstration by cookware hustlers is to heat baking soda and water in various pots, including the brand being sold. Often cheap aluminum pots are used for the demonstration. When the customer tastes the water from the other pots in the demonstration, a strong metallic taste is noticed. The electrolytes contained in the baking soda solution grossly amplify the metallic taste. On the other hand, the water solution from the demonstration pot simply tastes like baking soda.

This is a strong selling point for the hustler's brand. However, this is absolute non-sense as it pertains to real life. It has no scientific basis whatsoever and it's a totally meaningless test. Who in the world cooks with strong alkaline solutions??

Baking soda in water is highly alkaline (high pH) and readily reacts with aluminum to create the metallic taste in pots that contain that metal. It also reacts somewhat in iron pots, but it does not react with NEW stainless steel......important that you notice I said NEW STAINLESS. SCRATCHED stainless will usually fail this test too.

Sometimes the salesman will ask the customers to include their own stainless steel pots in the test. When stainless steel has been USED and scoured with steel wool or another metallic pad, the SCRATCHES allow nickel to leach into the baking soda solution. This implies to the unwary that the brand for sale is superior to other stainless steel pots.....which is absolute non-sense. Likewise, scratched Enamelware will allow traces of iron to leach into the soda solution giving it a metallic taste.

Although this demonstration is dramatic, keep in mind that it is merely a sales tool....a clever one at that. 100% of the foods that we prepare in our cookware IS NOT as highly alkaline as baking soda, and seldom--if ever--would you cook with any baking soda at all. On the contrary most of the foods we cook in our cookware are slightly acidic (lower pH) and not alkaline. That's not to say stainless steel is not a superior metal to use in some applications, just don't pay a premium for it and don't throw out perfectly good cookware because of this hyper non-sense.

Dan

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 11:06PM
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itzterri

OK.......here's my question. Would someone post some recipes that they use in their enameled cast iron cookware? I've just gotten a new one called Chantal-the Talaver Collection and I'm not sure how to cook in it.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 6:28PM
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vivibear

i also bought the well equipped kitchen pot from tj maxx.
my inside bottom has got a quarter sized place where the enamel has come off. is there a way to fix this or is it safe to cook in like this? i love this pot. i fry, saute, bake, and stew etc in it. until this happened all that had gone wrong is the bottom had gotten a little discolored.
any help?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 5:51PM
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marys1000

You cook in it like you would anything else. Well its not non-stick so you should use a little oil or whatever you would normally do in a non "teflon" pan.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 4:57PM
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jillnjk

I purchased several pieces of le creuset cookware. I have been very happy with this cookware. I recently was at a cooking demonstration for SaladMaster. As part of the demo they performed a baking soda test that many of you have mentioned. They put 1 TBS. of baking soda in various pans with water and boiled the mixture for about 5 minutes. The taste of this from each of the pans except for the SaladMaster was horrible. I believe the point of this test was to create a highly acidic environment to show that chemicals were leaching from the pans into our food. I perfomed the test when I got home on the le creuset and also on an all clad. The taste was just as horrible as the others. I called le creuset to find out the make-up of the enamel in the pans. It is made of nitrate, potash, agile, aluminate (is that aluminum?), bentonite, and clay. Does anyone know about these compounds? Does anyone know if the baking soda test is an accurate test for determining what might be leaching into our foods? And if so does anyone know of other cookware that performs well with this test. Your thoughts? Thank you so much for your input.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 12:55PM
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danab_z9_la

The attached link will give you all of the specific details of that ridiculous Baking Soda Test. Don't fall for it......it is a totally meaningless test designed to make you believe that there is something wrong with your cookware. It is utter non-sense and a tactic certain MLM cookware hustlers use to deceive you into buying their expensive cookware.

Dan

Here is a link that might be useful: The Ridiculous Baking Soda Test

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 2:02PM
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joe_blowe

If you search this forum and other search engines (e.g. Google), you'll find plenty of evidence that the Baking Soda Test is a bogus experiment to fool people into buying SaladMaster. Don't believe the hype.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 2:05PM
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jillnjk

I am sorry if this post comes up more than once but I'm not sure if I'm doing this correctly. I purchased several pieces of Le Creuset about a year ago. I really like this cookware. I was, however at a cooking demonstration a couple of weeks ago for SaladMaster. As part of this demo they performed a baking soda test that some of you have mentioned. As part of this they put 1 TBS. of baking soda in various pans with water and boiled for about 5 minutes. We tasted the substances from the pans and all but the SaladMaster pan tasted terrible. I believe the purpose of this test was to created a highly acidic environment and show that chemicals are leaching from traditional cookware into our food. Does anyone know if this test is accurate? I perfomed the test when I got home on my le creuset and all-clad pans and they all tasted as horrible as the other test pans. I called Le creuset and found out the make-up of the enamel. If the test is accurate then what other cookware stands up to this test. Does anyone have information about this? Thanks so much for your help.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 9:52PM
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joe_blowe

NO, THE TEST IS BOGUS!

Please read the preceding posts, do some independent searching, and reach the conclusion that the rest of us have: SaladMaster is a waste of money, and the Baking Soda Test is a sham.

Sorry, I'm sick, and now I'm going to bed...

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 10:13PM
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joe_blowe

P.S. I also wanted to say: Enjoy your Le Creuset without worry. You've made a fine purchase. (And there's nothing wrong with your All-Clad, either.)

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 10:16PM
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jillnjk

Thank you for your assurances about the le creuset. I really do want to understand this better. I have a family member dealing with Parkinson's and since it has some link to metal toxicity I am trying to do my best to minimize the exposure. So as I understand it the baking soda test is accurate in that if you detect the foul taste it is some reactivity from some metals in the pan. The bogus part is that it is creating an environment that is not normal. However, doesn't this mean that even tho we might not normally detect those tastes that if a pan reacts to the baking soda test then there are at least minute amounts of those metals leaching into our foods. But also does that mean that the pans that don't react to the baking soda test are then safe?? So then doesn't it make sense that what we really need to figure out is what materials the pans are made of so if it is leaching then those materials are not toxic? I really appreciate anyone's help with this. I have exhausted what I can find on the internet. As I said I did find the materials in the enamel of le creuset are: nitrate, potash, agile, aluminate, bentonite and clay. Can anyone help me with this. Thank you so much!!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 12:43PM
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danab_z9_la

"I have a family member dealing with Parkinson's and since it has some link to metal toxicity I am trying to do my best to minimize the exposure."

What specific toxic metal are you concerned with that causes Parkinson's? You are exposed to many metals in everyday life besides what little amount might come from any cookware source......so what metal are you trying to avoid?

Dan

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 1:54PM
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jillnjk

I guess specifically any metals that are known to be toxins. For instance, chromium is found in stainless steel but is actually something people need. Whereas, nickel is also in stainless steel and is considered a toxin. I think the first step would be to find out exactly what materials are used for the cookware and then to decide to what level they are corrosive and leaching. I know some people stated trying to do more conclusive testing but I didn't see any follow up on that. Thanks again for your help.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 4:56PM
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danab_z9_la

Many common everyday compounds can become toxic if large amounts are ingested. Salt, alcohol, or even plain ole water can kill you if you ingest too much over a short period of time. There are several factors that determine whether or not a given metal is toxic: 1) the physical state of the metal 2) the valence state of that metal (i.e. hexavalent chromium is quite toxic and carcinogenic while trivalent chromium is not) 3) the amount of metal that is consumed and 4) the time period over which the metal was consumed. It is the combined interaction of these four factors that determines toxicity to humans.

Your enameled cast iron and stainless steel pans will not release any toxic amount of any metal when used according to the manufacturer's instructions. Again, your greatest exposure to metals comes from sources other than your cookware.....and most of that exposure is harmless and absolutely necessary for life itself.

Dan

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 10:05PM
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sheellah_aol_com

The most inert cookware you can use is glass. Le Creuset and other enamel pans are basically coated with glass. Porcelain enamel fuses to the cast iron base metal to become a glass like substance. I wouldn't worry about Le Creuset or any other cast iron enamel pot from a reputable manufacturer leaching anything that might be harmful.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2008 at 10:50PM
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chefsresource

A few misconceptions in the thread.

Rachael Ray cast iron is made in China. Staub doesn't make the Rachael Ray cast iron, they only produce in France. Yes it looks like it a bit, but I've seen other knockoffs from China that directly copied Staub's design.

Le Creuset cast iron is also made in France. None of it is made in China.

Le Creuset stoneware is made in Thailand, but not the cast iron.

Mario Batali's is by Copco, made in China. Unless otherwise stated, virtually any enameled cast iron product is made in China.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 12:39AM
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nwesterner

chefsresource,

Would you be concerned with enameled cast iron products made in China? Or do you think the bonding/fusion process seals safely enough for cooking?

I ask because I have some Le Creuset but also the red enameled dutch oven from Target made in China. And what about Le Creuset stoneware from Thailand? Thanks

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 4:28PM
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chefsresource

re: concerned with China cast iron? Concerned is a strong word. There are some decent brands made in China, Mario Batali's would be an example.

Some I see are pretty terrible, pretty poor quality control. It's not like they won't work, but I wouldn't trust them to last long. If I was concerned for safety reasons about any made in China, I'd never carry it.

A nice enameled cast iron pan lasts virtually forever, it's an investment. The best brands have a lifetime guarantee which is convenient (and hopefully never needed). Unless you drop the pan and it shatters, it should last many many years.

I haven't seen the Target dutch oven you mention, so I can't comment on it. LC stoneware is very durable and sturdy, I've had some for years now (I've had some Emile Henry pieces for 15+ years).

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 11:13PM
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marys1000

I'll just put in my Le Creuset experience for future searcher/readers.
Bought a set 30 years ago; Large Dutch Oven, Small/Med Dutch Oven, Medium soup pan, small soup pan, both with the wooden handles, med and small fry pan. Great stuff, love it and used reliably for many years...fast forward
I burnt up the med soup pan (and btw the wooden handles were never a problem since I dont put things in the oven and they stayed fine over the years) making sugar water. The bottom had become a little rough over the years and so could not be salvaged - sent it in and got back one of the new all metal sauce pans.
I liked the size and weight and shape and handle of my OLD pan better, plus for a sauce pan this seems to get a ring of hot spot on the bottom (I do cook on higher heat than I should or maybe its my elec stove?) anyway this is heavier, much longer handle, don't like or use it as much just due to the shape/weight issue. Then I do the same thing with the small soup pan. Send it in, replacement comes with the new black phrenolic handle, no big deal but they've changed the shape and size, its narrower at the bottom and taller and weighs more. I liked my old one better.
So while I still think Le Creuset is the best enameled cookware, and perhaps just plain the best cookware with the no kidding greatest lifetime guarentee (I put in a letter saying I ruined it and that I'd be happy to buy a discounted replacement), I don't like their revamped shape and style of their soup/saucier pots. I don't know why they just didn't change the handles from wood to the black ovenproof stuff.
If I could figure out how to make my old Paypal acct work I think I'd try buying the old style on eBay.
(But you never know what people cooked in them and that creeps me out a little:)

    Bookmark   March 20, 2008 at 2:47PM
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chefsresource

A FYI for those looking for cast iron cookware... prices are going up significantly.

Staub is changing their pricing to 3 tiers. A basic, a mid and a premium for their Majolique colors, they cost a lot more to make with a white layer of enamel then the colored layer. In other words:
Matte Black and graphite will be one price (mid)
Core: pimento red, royal blue and yellow- lowest
Majoliques (their best colors really) - grenadine red, basil green and titanium (brand new) - highest.
The prices go up April 1st. A 5 quart will range from $200 to $220.

Mario Batali/Copco had an increase 1/1/08 and will have another significant increase mid-year.. a first for them. Cost of materials, fuel, a weak dollar are all driving up costs.

Le Creuset already had their price increase for the year.

I'm seeing more price increases this year from vendors than I think any other year.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 4:24PM
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blondelle

Chefsresource, you seem to know quite a bit about enameled cookware. Have you seen the new Staub line called the Premium line. What's up with that? It sure doesn't look more premium! Is Staub replacing all their cookware with this new line? It looks like a low end line, but the prices are the same as the current, nicer looking cookware.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=staub+premium&x=7&y=11

As thoughts on Staub vs. Le Creuset. I don't see any statements on Staub's site as to the lead or cadmium content of their cookware. Which do you prefer of the two? I do prefer the lighter interior, but love the look of the Staub, but not the heavier weight. I think the Staub interior will hold up better, but the dark interior is also dreary.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 4:12PM
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chefsresource

I do know a lot about enameled cast iron, it's one of our strongest suits, especially with Le Creuset and Staub.

As far as the "premium" goes? I've never seen it before. I didn't even see it in the latest Staub French catalog that has more in it than is exported to the U.S.

Frankly, I don't like the looks at all, it does look like cheaper lines. I am amused by the usually ships in 2-3 months timeframe. Are they shipping orders direct from France by boat?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2008 at 5:57PM
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happyday

I found a blue enameled Dutch Oven at a sale. White/cream enamel inside. The only mark on it is a large IQ stamped into the base, which is also enameled. The I is about twice as tall as the capital Q that follows.

I've been googling all day trying to identify the maker on the pot. Does anyone know?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 2:17AM
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ksokiegonnab

Just purchased a Tramontina brand Dutch oven (the one recommended by America's test kitchens). When washing it, prior to use, I noticed several tiny bubbles in the interior finish. Should I return it for replacement, or are small imperfections to be expected?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 6:51PM
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djg1

Unable to speak to other brands -- 2 pieces of LC, which were my mom's (20 years old? 30?) -- a small sauce pan/butter warmer and a casserole, both well suited to their purposes and holding up great. Only a couple of months or so with my Staub 12" skillet, which is hands down the best pan for searing and finishing steaks that I've ever used. Beautiful.

The staub was "on sale" for something like 99 bucks at WS. It seems to be one of those pieces that's perpetually on sale. It's worth looking for the values on key pieces.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 11:29AM
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marys1000

This is a really old thread and maybe there are newer more current ones that would be better suited but I thought I'd add to this that
AGA - the UK company that sells those cast iron ranges also has a line of UK made enameled cast iron and stainless steel

    Bookmark   January 5, 2013 at 7:55PM
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