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Copper Cookware: The Topic


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In addition to searches on this great site, I have been looking at Bridge Kitchenware and Creative Cookware and A City Discount and finally Falk Culinair.

This all started when I began looking for a better price on a All-Clad Copper Core Dutch Oven. I can get one of these at my door for ~$250USD. Searching this website, I found a lot of great information about alternate brands that offer the same or better performance at the same or a better price point. I found that I could get the All-Clad copper core pans heavily discounted (first quality, not seconds) but, as noted above there are a couple of places that offer aggressive pricing on the Mauviel pans as well. The Falk Culinair pans are competitively priced but, don't seem to be discounted as much as the others.

So now I have come round full circle in cookware education. It seems like the uniform opinion on this site in general is that true copper pans are best. Tinned pans sound like something I should avoid with the newer CuprInox style pans being preferred today. The All-Clad copper core pans seem like an equivalent quality pan but, have the benefit of easier clean up and maintenance.

I am seriously considering getting a Mauviel Sauté pan from these guys as a starter pan instead of a smaller 1 quart sauce pan of some sort. While I was originally looking for a mid-size Dutch Oven, I later decided based on information on this site that a smaller ~2 or ~3 quart Dutch oven would be a better choice for me since I live alone and generally cook for one. Perhaps a 4 quart sauce pan would be a better choice since I seem to use that pan the most right now.

Should I be shopping based on price alone in the Mauviel and Falk Culinair lines? Does one offer an advantage over the other or is it just a price issue? I am cognizant of the thickness differences so, should I just stay with the 2.5mm Falk Culinair line and their slightly higher prices? Do you have advice on the Iron versus Brass handle issue? Anything else I should consider?

For a little background on my kitchen, I use natural gas with some small burners and some large burners (6 total ranging from 5K to 18K BTUs). I currently use Calphalon Hard Anodize cookware almost exclusively (it is what I found several years ago when I found I could not live with the Revereware thin stainless pans I had at the time). My cooking technique is pretty simple for the most part but, reading things on this website and sampling some of the different offerings at good restaurants has piqued my curiosity about what I could do at home.

Thanks in advance for your advice and wisdom......

Sid

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I can attest to the performance of Mauviel. I have the 2.5MM thick cuprinox line. I started with the purchase of a 3L Saute. It is simply the best saute I have ever used. Once it heats up it stays at a very constant heat and delivers excellent performance.

I have all the normal All Clad, Caphlon and Le Cruest stuff as well. I simply believe the Mauviel to be superior for day to day cooking.

You might want to take a look at out Pot Addict thread and see what people had to say: http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...&hl=Pot++Addict

When in doubt a Mauviel and a Falk Culinair and see which one you like better.

Here are a couple of "deals" on Mauviel

http://www.overstock.com/cgi-bin/d2.cgi?PA...PROD_ID=1003104

http://www.overstock.com/cgi-bin/d2.cgi?PA...&PROD_ID=842293

http://www.overstock.com/cgi-bin/d2.cgi?PA...&PROD_ID=842294

Good Luck

Never trust a skinny chef

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I've never understood these stinless steel lined copper pans. Seems to me you get the disadvantages of both. The stainless doesn't conduct the heat well, and is "sticky" when frying, and the copper is hell to clean.

If you want a proper copper pan get a real one. - 3mm copper walls.

http://www.cuisine-french.com/ have a wide range, about half the prices you quoted.

Be warned:

They are very heavy

The handles get hot.

They very quickly lose that showroom gleam

You can't use them with induction

The base is not that flat for a flattop or other contact heat source

They need re-tinning at least once a year

If you get them too hot - sugar boiling, for example - the tin lining melts. That's why sugar pans are unlined.

That said, they cook like a dream.

The nicest pan I had was a copper pan silver plated inside, originally intended for use in the room as a chafing dish.

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I have a lot of copper that is tin lined because that was the only way it was made back when I bought it.

Now I opt for the stainless lined, I have several pieces and it works beautifully. The pan I use for many things is the Mauviel saucier which is 3.2 quart. Like this.

Falk makes a 4.5 quart which, had it been available at a good price when I purchased the one I have I would have bought instead. I may buy it anyway, and retire some of my old copper that needs retinning.

I think this is the most versatile pan. It is wide enough that one can saute or fry in it with ease and deep enough that one can add liquid and stew without problems. The curve at the bottom makes it easy to toss and turn when sauteeing and makes it easy to stir when making sauces, a wooden spoon with get into all the "corners" so to speak.

I no longer purchase tin lined copper. It is getting harder to find a place that does decent retinning at a reasonable price and in reasonable time. Some places have a minimum of 6 months because they are backed up so much.

The stainless lined works fine and cooking meat develops an excellent "fond" in the stainless, every bit as good as in the tin. You also don't have to worry about melting the tin lining off the copper if you should inadvertantly leave the empty pan on a burner for a bit too long.

There are deals and discounts all over the web and you should take your time and do a good bit of comparison shopping. If you can, go to a store that has the line you want and see how it feels in hand. They buy from the place where you can get the best price, the best deal on shipping and if your state has a steep sales tax, buy from out of state, if possible.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I started buying copper cookware about 10 years ago, replacing the Revereware I'd had since college. My other cookware is old cast iron and Le Creuset.

One name hasn't come up yet: Bourgeat. I purchased (over several years!) a 10" frying pan, 12" saute pan, and sauce pans (1, 2+, and 3+ quart). My favorite is the saute pan, I guess because so many recipes seem to call for that size. Good for braising. The "mirror finish" stainless that Bourgeat offers has scratched some, from whisking, but nothing serious. I don't polish my copper, either.

Another thing, E. Dehillerin in Paris has very competitively priced copper, even considering the shipping cost. They do have a web-site, I don't have it handy.

Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,

You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

-Malcolm Dalglish

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I have some Bourgeat copper, my sugar pans and jam pans (unlined copper) are Bourgeat and I have the 5 1/2 quart Sautoir. However some of the other copper companies give a bit more bang for the buck, so to speak.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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It seems like the stainless steel lined copper pans are the way to go. With such a thin layer of stainless to heat up, I don't see that being a problem with any of the pans I have looked at.

I am curious how e-dehillerin pans compare to Falk Culinair and Mauviel. Also, I would like to know what is involved with have their pans shipped direct to me. Specifically, do I need to worry about US Customs taxes? How much is shipping for something this heavy? How long does it take? UPS, FedEx, or DHL can ship fast and get it through US Customs quickly but, the price based on past experiences was atrocious.

Trying to compare prices between A City Discount on Maviel and Falk Culinair at their $500 price break level is a tough one. It seems like a toss up when I look at the full line because if a pot is more expensive from one company, it will have a slightly higher capacity and weighs more. When both have the same pan, the price is almost equal (within a few dollars).

So, does anyone have specific do's and don'ts with any of these three companies and their respective lines of pots and pans?

THANKS!

Edited by Sid Post (log)
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Just to add a quick bit of info to this thread, in no particular order. You do have to pay customs duty and taxes on imported items. Bourgeat no longer makes their own copper cookware. Both Mauviel and Bourgeat are made using Falk's bimetal technology. :biggrin:

Falk has various discount levels that make prices quite competitive: http://store.falkculinair.com/builyourowns.html

Another concern someone had was that the stainless detracted from the copper. You should know that the stainless is only .008" thick. Hardly thick enough to present a thermal barrier. :smile:

This is my first post here and I hope I haven't broken any rules yet.

Michael Harp

President

Falk USA

Michael Harp

CopperPans.com

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Just to add a quick bit of info to this thread, in no particular order.  You do have to pay customs duty and taxes on imported items.  Bourgeat no longer makes their own copper cookware.  Both Mauviel and Bourgeat are made using Falk's bimetal technology. :biggrin:

Falk has various discount levels that make prices quite competitive:  http://store.falkculinair.com/builyourowns.html

Another concern someone had was that the stainless detracted from the copper.  You should know that the stainless is only .008" thick.  Hardly thick enough to present a thermal barrier. :smile:

This is my first post here and I hope I haven't broken any rules yet.

Michael Harp

President

Falk USA

Welcome to eGullet, Harp!

I have a few pieces of Falk Culinair and can recommend them HIGHLY. The brushed copper exterior means that it doesn't go "dull", or if it does you can use some steel wool and make it look good as new. The stainless interior is a breeze to clean, and never has to be "re-tinned". I have enough to do without adding re-tinning to the list.

I will say, though, that the lid on my gigantic casserole is kind of shoddy looking. I would say save the money on the lids and just buy some of those generic "universal lids" or something.

I have never had much of a problem with the cast iron handles getting too hot. Common sense tells you that if you put it in the oven to braise, for instance, you should use a pot holder to handle it for a while thereafter. You only have to learn this lesson once, believe me! :biggrin:

Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

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I am a fan of Falk, as many people here know, for the quality of their product, for their prices (I believe Falk is largely responsible for rationalizing the stainless lined heavy copper cookware market), and not least because I like doing business with their US distributor -- aka, Michael "mharpo" Harp. I'll probably weigh in more extensively on this thread a little later on, but for now I'll humbly recommend my eGCI class on Stovetop Cookware and its associated Q&A thread for those who are interested in learning about how different materials impact the performance of a piece of cookware.

--

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I have just about every piece of Falk Culinair that Harp sells and it is flat out the best copper out there. Be aware that some of the larger pieces are very heavy so if you have a slim build, go smaller. Tin versas stainless lined is meaningless. The SS in Falk cleans so easily, actually better than non-stick which was developed to sell Aluminum cookware and NOT for fat free frying or non-stick properties.

BTW All Clad IS NOT true copper cookware no matter what they or any one tells you. They use thin veneers of copper either externally or internally. -Dick

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I have a bunch of copper pans that I bought at e-dehillerin in Paris. From what I have been told these are made for them by Mauviel. I wouldn't trade them form anything. They are simply the best way to cook.

Be sure that you get stainless steel (INOX) lining when you buy. While copper pans have been lined with tin for many years (hundreds?) the places that will re-tin them are becoming fewer and fewer. The stainless is still easy to cook with.

Also, be aware that there are several different "grades" of copper cookware. They basically fall into "serving" pieces and cooking pieces. You can still cook with either, but the serving pieces are thinner (approximately 2mm), weigh less and come with brass handles. The cooking pieces aren't meant to leave the kitchen so they have iron handles, weigh more and should be thicker (2.5 to 3.0 mm).

Dan

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I bought 2 pieces of Falk after reading Budrichard go on about them. They are even better than expected. I wondered where I was going to store them, but that turned out not to be a problem as they never leave my stovetop. (Unless they're in the oven) Now, what to do with all that allclad?

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I bought 2 pieces of Falk after reading Budrichard go on about them. They are even better than expected. I wondered where I was going to store them, but that turned out not to be a problem as they never leave my stovetop. (Unless they're in the oven)  Now, what to do with all that allclad?

Camping box, that's what I did with mine, always a conversation starter. :biggrin:

Edited by winesonoma (log)

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Do you have advice on the Iron versus Brass handle issue?  Anything else I should consider?

I think handles are a huge consideration when purchasing cookware, and in this case - keep in mind that the iron or brass handles on copper cookware DO get very very hot. Stainless steel handles (like the ones on the Mauviel 2.0mm line) don't get hot under normal use, but it has the disadvantage of the thinner copper.

This is definitely a consideration for me, as I don't want to have to worry about grabbing a kitchen towel everytime I grab a hot pot handle - I like the no-fuss of being able to confidently grab any pan that I own and know that the handles will definitely not be hot. Also, the iron handles will rust if you don't dry the pan immediately after washing, so that's another consideration.

I really like Falk's brushed exterior (although I'm not too fond of the dull, almost grey-colored stainless steel color on the interior - the darkness makes it slightly more difficult to judge color on food) in that it doesn't seem to tarnish very quickly. I have both Falk and Mauviel, and the Falk takes much longer to tarnish.

Sooo...perfect copper cookware for me does not currently exist. I would absolutely LOVE to have Falk manufacture 2.5mm copper cookware with a shinier interior as well as with stainless steel handles that resist getting hot. According to the manufacturer, they don't produce it because it costs too much. But I'd be willing to pay for this! Who else is with me?? :cool:

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I'll humbly recommend my eGCI class on Stovetop Cookware and its associated Q&A thread

Wow, there is a ton of good knowledge there! :biggrin:

After all that reading, I'm considering retiring a general use Calphalon hard anodized pan with a Sitram Professional from Amazon.com. The convenience of having a pan I can toss in the dishwasher when I'm in a hurry is attractive. The prices are very good as well so, it's easy to justify getting one to "test drive". I find it hard to believe that this Sitram pan costs less then the thin crappy RevereWare "scorch-ware" sold everywhere.

The Falk Culinair Saucière looks like the best place for me to start my Copper experience. The Try Me $95 dollar 1.4 quart pan seems like a good size for a single person like myself as well.

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  • 1 month later...
Do you have advice on the Iron versus Brass handle issue?  Anything else I should consider?

I think handles are a huge consideration when purchasing cookware, and in this case - keep in mind that the iron or brass handles on copper cookware DO get very very hot. Stainless steel handles (like the ones on the Mauviel 2.0mm line) don't get hot under normal use, but it has the disadvantage of the thinner copper.

This is definitely a consideration for me, as I don't want to have to worry about grabbing a kitchen towel everytime I grab a hot pot handle - I like the no-fuss of being able to confidently grab any pan that I own and know that the handles will definitely not be hot. Also, the iron handles will rust if you don't dry the pan immediately after washing, so that's another consideration.

I really like Falk's brushed exterior (although I'm not too fond of the dull, almost grey-colored stainless steel color on the interior - the darkness makes it slightly more difficult to judge color on food) in that it doesn't seem to tarnish very quickly. I have both Falk and Mauviel, and the Falk takes much longer to tarnish.

Sooo...perfect copper cookware for me does not currently exist. I would absolutely LOVE to have Falk manufacture 2.5mm copper cookware with a shinier interior as well as with stainless steel handles that resist getting hot. According to the manufacturer, they don't produce it because it costs too much. But I'd be willing to pay for this! Who else is with me?? :cool:

You should consider getting some of those little potholder "gloves" that are so you can leave them on the pot while cooking. I have one which I don't use much as it's easier to grab a towel, but my son like it and uses it all the time.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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My advice:  Don't buy a lid.  What's the advantage of having a stainless steel lined copper lid?  For much less money, just pick up an appropriately-sized stainless steel lid.

Thanks Sam.

I would also like to know which pieces one would choose in copper versus Paderno Grand Gourmet or Sitram Profeserie, if one had inherited a large sum of money.

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Sooo...perfect copper cookware for me does not currently exist.  I would absolutely LOVE to have Falk manufacture 2.5mm copper cookware with a shinier interior as well as with stainless steel handles that resist getting hot.  According to the manufacturer, they don't produce it because it costs too much.  But I'd be willing to pay for this!  Who else is with me??  :cool:

The cast-iron handles do resist getting hot. The heat doesn't transmit easily between the copper pan and the cast-iron handles. I suspect it's partly because of the difference in material and also because the handles are long and it takes a while for the heat to reach the part you grip. They aren't like, say, the handles on a Griswold or Lodge cast-iron skillet where the short handle rapidly heats up along with the rest of the pan and you must protect your hand at all times.

Yesterday, I cooked some chicken thighs in my Falk 4.5-quart Sauciere. In the time it took to brown the pieces on both sides, the handle did not have a chance to get warm. I then finished cooking in the oven. Of course, I used a kitchen towel to remove the pan from the oven and while deglazing with some wine. The handles do get warm if you leave something simmering for a fair amount of time but I guess I don't think about it much.

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So, after all this time, I am going to reveal the well-kept secret of the go-to guy for those needing copper cookware retinned in the Los Angeles/Orange county area.

There is no web site, but you can call the place and find out when the shop will be open.

The owner often makes personal deliveries of items so sometimes the shop is not open during what would be considered "normal" working hours. Be patient, the work is exceptional and worth waiting for........

F. Nicholas Retinning

Re-lining with tin your worn French copper pots and pans.

4641 Telegraph Road

Los Angeles, CA

323/263-0028

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I would also like to know which pieces one would choose in copper versus Paderno Grand Gourmet or Sitram Profeserie, if one had inherited a large sum of money.

In stainless lined heavy copper, it's nice to have the following

  • 11 inch curved sauteuse evasée (called saucière by Falk)
  • Large sauté pan (although this is also good in heavy stainless with a fat aluminum base, and having an aluminum disk bottom sauté pan might provide extra versatility if you already have an eleven inch heavy copper curved sauteuse evasée)
  • Frypans in vasious sizes
  • Saucepans and saucepan-sized (regular) sauteuses evasée in the sizes appropriate for making sauces and reductions (i.e., not in the larger sizes used for steaming, boiling water and reheating soups, etc.)
  • I'd be tempted to get the 16 x 10 "gratin pan" as well, since it looks quite versatile.

If one had inherited enough money so that price was truly no object, I'd probably have the same pan in a few different designs (e.g., a large stainless lined heavy copper sauté pan as well as a large aluminum bottom sauté pan -- you never know when you're going to want to use two, right?)

--

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