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Le Crueset or Chantal?


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My local cookware shop is having a sale on enamel cookware.

I'm undecided between the Le Crueset and the Chantal brand.

I looked at both websites and I am confused as to the technology used to manufacture these cookwares.

Can someone please clarify the scientific mumbo jumbo for me?

The only difference I see is that Chantal has heat tempured glass lids whereas Le Crueset has an enamelled cast iron lid.

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You're comparing Chantal's enamel-on-steel cookware to LC's enameled cast iron cookware? Two completely different things...

eG Forums -> Understanding Stovetop Cookware

Enameled Cast Iron

- Similar to cast iron in thermal properties, but with a coating of nonreactive enamel inside and out. Because it is nonreactive, enameled cast iron is perfect for cooking tasks that take advantage of cast iron’s heat retaining ability for long, low cooking.

- Enamel is an insulator and has very poor thermal conductivity. As a result, these pans are not good for quick browning. Because enamel and iron have such different thermal properties, enameled cast iron must not be heated too high nor cooled down too quickly or the enamel may chip and crack.

- Very heavy.

- Moderately priced to moderately expensive.

- Common uses: Enameled cast iron casseroles, sauce pans, fry pans.

- Representative manufacturers: Chasseur, Descoware, Le Creuset, Staub.

Enameled Carbon Steel

- Thin carbon steel with a coating of enamel inside and out to render the pan nonreactive.

- Extremely prone to buckle and warp, which often causes the enamel to chip. Relatively poor thermal conductivity and heat retention result in hot spots and inferior browning capabilities.

- Light.

- Extremely inexpensive.

- Common uses: Sauce pans, steamers, coffee pots. Cookware of this design is only useful for boiling water.

- Representative manufacturers: These pans are not particularly associated with any manufacturers, and they are all more or less the same.

It's probably safe (?) to say that Chantal is better than generic enamel-on-steel cookware, but it sure is different than LC.

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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I understand LC is cast iron and Chantal is carbon steel.

The Chantal website explains thoroughly how well they test their cookware for warping and chipping of which I was highly impressed.

I know cast iron has a longer heat retention but it's so darn heavy.

I don't plan to make long simmering recipes. I just want long lasting cookware that will satisfy general use (making noodles, eggs, quick soups...)

I've read somewhere here that even the LC handles fell off after only a few uses.

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Are you sure you understood correctly that comment about the LC handles falling off after only a few uses? I haven't heard about that. I have read compliants about the lid handles being phenolic resin that doesn't stand up over the long haul to high oven temperatures, compared to metal lid handles. At any rate, LC has a great warranty and should replace something like handles that fall off after only a few uses.

Now, to your original question: what is it you want the cookware for? It sounds like you may just want a stockpot for soups and stocks. In that case a heavy pot like Le Creuset isn't necessary, but there isn't any advantage to enameled steel either, except the looks. I have stainless steel aluminum-disk stockpots and an enameled steel stockpot. The enameled steel pot is colorful but doesn't get used as much as the others because it's more prone to sticking and burned spots if I've started off with, say, browning and deglazing.

If you want to make stews or do long simmering or braising (I understand you're saying you don't) then the LC comes into its own.

If, on the other hand, you're really looking for skillets, then the discussion needs to go in a different direction. I wouldn't use enameled steel (of either type) for a skillet - especially not for eggs - but there must be other folks around who do.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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If you are looking for an alternative to Le Creuset, Staub is a good option. I wish I had looked into it before I bought too much LC. It has way better handles and the dark interiors, while a little harder to clean, brown better and don't stain like LC's cream-colored interiors do.

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Thanks for your replies.

I was on the fence about enameled cookware. Initially I liked it for it's non-reactivity to food. I do have a cheaper enamel pot for making simple quick soup and I do know what you mean about burned spots. I don't think the cleaning is worth it for me.

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Lifting my Staub and LC cookware is part of my daily workout routine. No need to go out and buy weights or a bowflex or anything like that.



"Did you see what Julia Child did to that chicken?" ... Howard Borden on "Bob Newhart"


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I live in Houston and twice a year, Chantal, that is based here has a big sale at their warehouse. So, many years ago I began with Chantal cookware. It seemed perfect. The enamel coating was non-stick but did not have a teflon type base that could turn into a gas in high heat (the Chantal non-stick came out later) and was non-reactive to acids (tomatoes). The problem with Chantal is that the pans has to have stuff in them to protect the enamel from heat cracking: oil, vegetables or meat. Thus, the most useless piece in the world becomes a Chantal wok, since you can never superheat it before throwing in your ingredients.

The advantage of Chantal as I see it is in the fact that you can buy cookware in colors and so it becomes an attractive serving piece for dishes. And the fact that it is available very cheap here in Houston. I have, over the years passed on all of my Chantal cookware to friends, only keeping two Chantal serving dishes to take to parties.

I have defaulted to several beautifully seasoned cast iron skillets and one cast iron pot for deep frying. My everyday cookware (stockpots) is non-stick Meyer Anolon and the cast iron for all high heat application. I have one Le Creuset piece, which is a square griddle that I use for everything from toasting bread to quick grills. I love this piece.

I have a friend who purchased the Emile Henry high temperature ceramic stockpot, the one that uses the new lighter weight high temperature ceramic alloy. She advises that it develops hot spots and burn rings, and she is not at all happy with it.

Money no object, I think the heavy duty Le Creuset is a superior choice.


Edited by Jay Francis (log)
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