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Copper cookware: Bourgeat or Falk

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As induction doesn't appear to be in my near term future, I was thinking about buying some copper cookware that is stainless steel lined specifically Bourgeat or Falk. I started to price some pieces out and it seems like the Falk is a bit more expensive.

Does anyone have an opinion on which they like better or are we splitting hairs here.

Thanks!

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I'm of the mind that 2.5mm copper/stainless cookware is 2.5mm copper/stainless cookware.

And unless you plan on hanging them on a pot rack and never using them (you'd be surprised how many people do just that), I'd buy used. It'll save you at least half that way. I don't have even $1,000 into my copper set, and I have more than 20 pots and pans. They came from eBay, Craigslist, yard sales, thrift stores, and the used restaurant supply store near my wife's bank.

But, I have pieces from All-Clad, Mauviel, Bourgeat, Falk, and several that defy identification. Who cares? They all shine up nicely and cook REALLY well on my anemic gas range.

Best bet? Find someone on Craigslist with an unused copper set for sale. I find one every week or two -- Martha Stewart wannabees who bought the copper as decoration. Now that times are hard, they're selling at half-off retail. And you can usually haggle them down another hundred or two. There isn't much of a market locally for expensive copper cookware.

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Thanks good advice. I do plan to use them and not hang them up.

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Probably splitting hairs but for whatever reason, I prefer Matfer Bourgeat or Mauviel and I have a lot of it.

I've been cooking with copper all my life and for many years happily used the tin-lined stuff, most made in France, and had it re-tinned every few years, at significant expense.

When the stainless-lined appeared on the market I jumped in and have not regretted it. I love the way it heats quickly and when removed from the burner cools rapidly, especially when place on a heat sink and I have copper burner plates that perform this function (similar to a simmer plate).

From time to time various vendors offer specials and I tend to buy at these times.

Some vendors who offer discounts and free shipping: MetroKitchen

My Chef's Favorites

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ScoopKW gives pretty good advice. The main thing is to make sure you are actually getting 2.5mm stainless lined copper. There are a number of makers who also produce stainless lined copper cookware at less than 2.5mm (2.0mm is quite common from the major manufacturers). And of course there is tin lined copper, which just isn't comparable. All-Clad, I should hasten to point out, does not make any cookware with 2.5mm of copper.

Once you have 2.5mm stainless lined copper, ScoopKW is correct that there isn't much difference. Ideed, they all get their metal from Falk Culinaire, who developed and own the patent on the process to bond stainless to copper for this use.

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Some vendors who offer discounts and free shipping: MetroKitchen

In re my remark above about knowing what you're getting, note the following in the offerings on this site:

Mauviel M'Heritage Style Copper Cookware

1.5 to 2.0mm Copper Thickness | Stainless Steel Handles

Combining the best features of copper and stainless-steel, Cuprinox Style cookware features a lighter, 1.5mm copper exterior with an easy-to-clean stainless interior. The stainless-steel handles are lighter than cast-iron. Splayed sides help with pouring and serving. It also called the new Mauviel M'Heritage line.

Mauviel M'Heritage M'150C

1.5mm Copper Thickness | Cast Iron Handles

M'Heritage M'150C cookware has the traditional look of copper cookware which is the preference historically for consumers who purchase copper for their cooking needs.

Mauviel M'Heritage and M'tradition

Varying Copper Thickness | Brass Handles | Stainless Steel Interior | Straight Sides

The copper thickness of Mauviel Pour la Table ranges from 1.2 to- 2mm thick with brass handles and a stainless-steel interior for simple cleaning. Maviel copper is beautiful enough for cooking AND serving. You'll find the new M'heritage and M'tradition cookware in this line.

As you can see, it would be quite easy for someone to buy a piece of this stuff thinking they are getting "the real thing at a great price" when actually they are getting an inferior product. I've even seen other web vendors claiming that the Mauviel stainless lined copper with a stainless steel handle was 2.5mm thickness when in fact it is only 2.0mm.

Given the existence of these lines, it is even more difficult to tell when you are getting the real thing on an eBay or Craig's List sale. In fact, while that extra 0.5mm of thickness will make a difference in performance, it's actually quite difficult to detect in person, so it's not easy to know you're getting the real thing even at a thrift store unless you bring calipers with you.

MetroKitchen also offers the following blatantly false description: "All-Clad Cop-R-Chef cookware has a thick copper exterior for quick heating and cooking" (All-Clad Cop-R-Chef actually has a thin exterior layer of copper, a thick internal layer of aluminum and an internal layer of stainless steel -- the thermal benefit from the copper is effectively zero and it is only for show).

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Thanks for the heads up. I have some all-clad copper core pieces now and I'm curious if I'll see a big improvement with the true copper.

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MetroKitchen also offers the following blatantly false description: "All-Clad Cop-R-Chef cookware has a thick copper exterior for quick heating and cooking" (All-Clad Cop-R-Chef actually has a thin exterior layer of copper, a thick internal layer of aluminum and an internal layer of stainless steel -- the thermal benefit from the copper is effectively zero and it is only for show).

I had a "say it ain't so" moment and checked -- nowhere could I find the thickness measured in millimeters. So you must be right. "Extra thick" is not a measurement. It is an opinion. Compared to quantum particles, 0.5mm is "extra thick."

That explains why I tend to gravitate to my Falk pieces.

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My understanding is that Falk makes the bimetal for all of the major French brands' stainless-lined product, and may even manufacture some of the pans as well. I think the biggest thing is whether you prefer a brushed finish or polished finish.

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I have a set of swiss culinox copper, it is totalgarbage,hardly ever use it Also a set of real heavy tinned copper stuff from somewhere in Europe,never use it(itsin basement storage),,stuff we use is mostly the allclad stainless...

Bud

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MetroKitchen also offers the following blatantly false description: "All-Clad Cop-R-Chef cookware has a thick copper exterior for quick heating and cooking" (All-Clad Cop-R-Chef actually has a thin exterior layer of copper, a thick internal layer of aluminum and an internal layer of stainless steel -- the thermal benefit from the copper is effectively zero and it is only for show).

I had a "say it ain't so" moment and checked -- nowhere could I find the thickness measured in millimeters. So you must be right. "Extra thick" is not a measurement. It is an opinion. Compared to quantum particles, 0.5mm is "extra thick."

That explains why I tend to gravitate to my Falk pieces.

MetroKitchen Mauviel pagefor the M'Heritage line. I intended to post the link to this page.

I have purchased from them in the past and received exactly what I ordered.

I've got one piece of Falk a frypan and I personally don't care for it as for me, the balance is off, the handle seems at the wrong angle or something. I just don't use it and I don't like the finish. I much prefer Bourgeat or Matfer Bourgeat, but that's just my personal preference. I have some Bourgeat pots made in the 1920s and in spite of being used by three generations of cooks, are still good as long as the tin lining is occasionally replaced. The sugar pans and my huge jam pot never had a tin lining.

For some uses, you don't really need a 2.5mm copper shell. It IS necessary for high temp stove top cooking but I can guarantee that a 2 mm shell is not going to wear through with normal household use for many decades and I am sure will outlive anyone on this forum.

I've got a fish poacher that is less than 2mm and it works just fine as it is not subjected to high flame burners and it is way older than me (I'm 72) and got a lot of action in the last century and will be passed on to my daughter and grandchildren and will probably last into the next century - if people are still cooking on stovetops or in ovens then.

It is more important to get pieces with cast iron or bronze handles - don't get brass.

If you can, get to a store that sells the cookware and feel how it fits in your hand and how it feels when you lift and move it.

I think this is very much a personal preference thing. You have to choose what feels good in your hands and which is easy for you to use. If you spend a lot of money on something that never gets used, it is a huge waste.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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Hi, Sam:

With respect, there *is* a pretty easy way to assess thickness without a caliper of micrometer: The change you carry around in your pocket. A dime? Run away. A Penny? Maybe for table service. A nickel? Get excited.

I've been collecting 1st-grade copperware on eBay for a long time now. Most sellers are happy to make the "coin" comparison for bidders, and most will also supply weights. Once you get the feel for it, it's hard to miss the dreadnaughts.

Cheers

PS Falk and M-B bimetal are interchangeable in my book, except for the itty-bitty loop handles on the Falk. Maybe Belgians' hands are smaller? The OLD Bourgeat was tip-top, on a par with the defunct greats, e.g., Gaillard.

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Hi, Skoop:

You are right insofar as most resellers (CK, eBay, antique/thrift shops, etc.) call ANY copperware "extra thick" and "very heavy". But reputable retailers would not be party to passing off table-service pans as extra thick or heavy. For instance, if you order from organiccookware.com, frenchcopperstudio, or E. Dehillerin, you can be assured they know the difference betweek schlock and "extra fort".

You just have to get used to asking the specific weights of pans, and have the experience to make snap judgments. For example, a 10" saute that weighs 12 pounds is "extra thick", and that's not an opinion. ;)

Boilsover

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I know I've jumped in here twice today already, but I wanted the OP to consider another SS-lined copper option: deBuyer Prima Matera. This line *is* induction capable (by virtue of the ferritic disk bonded to the bottom), and the rest of the construction is pretty much like the Falk and Bourgeat bimetal pans. The disk will slow the pan's responsiveness a bit on conventional hobs, YBTJ if too much. Expensive, but truly all-hob.

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Hi, Sam:

With respect, there *is* a pretty easy way to assess thickness without a caliper of micrometer: The change you carry around in your pocket. A dime? Run away. A Penny? Maybe for table service. A nickel? Get excited.

Hi,

My nickels measure at 1.63mm.

Tim

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Best bet? Find someone on Craigslist with an unused copper set for sale. I find one every week or two -- Martha Stewart wannabees who bought the copper as decoration. Now that times are hard, they're selling at half-off retail. And you can usually haggle them down another hundred or two. There isn't much of a market locally for expensive copper cookware.

I found my set of copper cookware in a similar way. Thirteen pieces from Ruffoni all unused wedding gifts at a fraction of the retail. The tin alloy lining is a bit soft so I would go with stainless steel on the inside. They're a bit heavy but they perform so very well, and they're easy on the eyes.

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Why is there no 3.0 mm copper cookware?

There is 3.0mm and thicker in tin-lined copper cookware. I rather imagine it becomes technically difficult to press-form copper-stainless bimetal into cookware shapes at greater thicknesses.

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I've had a complete set of Falk for over 20 years now.

As an Engineer with Graduate Metallurgy studies, I did my research on what was available before purchasing. All-Clad will tell you that their composition is proprietary but that is just an attempt to confuse you and their Copper whatever is not true copper cookware.

I chose the Falk for one the fact that most pieces are 2.5mm clad, the stuff is literally bomb proof and the finish is brushed. There was no way i wanted to have to keep up that many pieces with a bright shine. So far there has not been a single problem with any piece.

Michael Harp at Falk is good to deal with and the reason there is a $$ discount is because I asked for that because i was spending so much. It was worth it.

Now there is a down side to the bigger pieces if you are small of stature or getting older, they weigh a lot! so if you have that concern then maybe the large Saute and a few other pieces are not for you. Having all the sizes helps as you can tailer the size to how much you are making and what you are making. The large saute does have a loop handle to help but it is a bear sometimes.

I've looked at the Mauviel and didn't think it was constructed as well as the Falk but that is only subjective. The tin coated Mauviel pieces are to be avoided as the tinning is crap and i have sent back every piece i have ordered. note: that some copper shapes are only available in tin.

Purchasing on eBay may be fine for the wallet but most of what i see is junk, really not 2.5mm professional and having a mismatched set of copper does not give one the insight that can be gained of how the pieces respond to heat input changes.

A set of Falk will cost but the Falk will be superb and better than any cookware out there.-Dick

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Thanks for the Falk report.

I think I'm going to buy a mix between Bourgeat and Falk.

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I've owned falk for at least 15 years. They are wonderful bomb proof indestructible pans that will outlast me and be passed to my daughter. I use them every meal. They work fantastically well and clean up easily (hint is to deglaze your pan with water while hot and also use barkeeper's friend).

Now, as MC explains, your cooktop is more important than your pan. You will also want some lighter pans for sauté, the falks are too heavy to "flick". You also should save your money on the stockpot because the copper won't help there.

The big oval au gratin pan is the best for sauté and frying and the large saucier pan for everything else. . Add a couple sauce pans and a fry pan and you are set for life.

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I actually prefer tin-lined to ss for most uses--high heat being the main exception. Tin is a less sticky surface and is not an insulator like ss. You just can't use it empty at very high heat, and you can't use metal utensils or abrasives with it. Care for it properly, and the tinning should last 10-15 years with regular home use. Also some of the older tin-lined Mauviel pieces are heavier than 2.5mm.

If you buy used, check the weight of the pan, since most people can't reliably measure the thickness. Mauviel professional weight copperware tends to have cast iron handles for long-handled pieces, bronze handles for the short loop-handled pieces. Brass handles are usually the tableware line.

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I'm pretty sure it's true that Falk makes all the copper / stainless laminate for itself and Mauviel and Bourgeat, so the only differences between those brands is esthetics and price. Also I think bourgeat moulds a little lip on the rim of their saucepans ... a nicety I've never been inclined to pay for.

Ask yourself why you want copper. If it's for performance, you'd be well served by just one or two copper pans. The advantages over aluminum laminates, in practice, are minor, and you will only notice them in cooking that requires the highest level of control.

I've got a bunch of 2.5mm mauviel pans. I bought them before copper prices went insane, so it wasn't such a big deal. If I had to buy at anything close to today's prices, I'd be VERY happy to just have the 1.5L slope-sided saucepan. That's what I use for most serious sauce work. My 11" sauté pan is also wonderful, but an aluminum disk-bottom pan do the job just as well. My other copper saucepans just don't get used for anything where the temperature control of copper would make any difference. I've had plenty of commercial aluminum saucepans, so I'm pretty confident of this.

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Tin is a less sticky surface and is not an insulator like ss.

I hadn't considered that benefit, thanks David. The tin alloy lining I have is less sticky when it's been well cleaned.

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