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Enamel cast-iron cookware

pwdohio Oct 8, 2007 08:05 AM

Can someone tell me what enamel cast-iron cookware is NOT made in China? I am concerned about lead being in the enamel finish. I picked up the Chefmate from Target and then took it back because I go worried about lead, and there was no labels on the cookware giving it any passing grade of standardization so to speak.

Yet, I also see that Mario Batali's cookware, even though made by Copco, is also made in China! Also Staub is made in China.

I would like to avoid cookware made in China and I would like to know that it is lead-free.

Any recommendations?

Also - I wonder if anyone has tried the new Chantal copper fusion pans? Is there anything special to having that copper between the layers of cast iron? Will it really cook better?

Am particularly interested in where Chantal cookware is manufactured and Le Creuset is manufactured.

Thanks for directing me in the right direction. I am looking to replace my Caphalon and Circulon.

PS, I am also looking to hang my pots - is that recommended with this type of cookware?


  1. p
    pwdohio Oct 8, 2007 08:26 AM

    I just called Chantal and Le Creuset and found that the Chantal is made in Germany and the Le Creuset is in France. Neither contain lead.

    But, I just found out that the Chantal is not cast iron, rather it is SS with copper in between and then enamel coated. A bit lighter weight than the Le Creuset...

    So, can anyone give me a good comparison of the two products?

    3 Replies
    1. re: pwdohio
      Hanads Oct 8, 2007 08:19 PM

      Similar to Le Creuset, the Emile Henry enameled cast iron products are also made in France.

      I wouldn't suggest hanging your cast iron cookware, but it would work for pans, woks, etc. Professional kitchen generally have everything hanging overhead.

      1. re: Hanads
        ccbweb Oct 8, 2007 09:52 PM

        I agree completely. We hang everything in our home kitchen _except_ our cast iron. All of our stainless steel All-Clad and the handful of stainless Calphalon pieces we have are all hanging right now (because I just did the dishes). We have a separate rack for lids. All of the cast iron and our pressure cooker are on shelves, though.

      2. re: pwdohio
        blmtex Dec 18, 2007 09:55 AM

        I just purchased two Chantal Cast Iron pot (Talavera Collection). The hang tag says they are designed in the United States and MADE in China. I had never heard of this brand before and have been trying to research it to see if it is of quality. The pots are very pretty, but now I am concerned about lead based paints. I went to the Chantal website and it has no mention of cast iron cookware.

      3. cayjohan Oct 8, 2007 05:36 PM

        I have a couple of the ChefMate Dutch ovens from Target, and use them frequently. I've never made this connection before. Do you happen to have any data on the enamel surfaces for these pots?

        Does anyone have any info on safety? I *hope* they're okay, obviously. Do we know anything to the contrary?

        3 Replies
        1. re: cayjohan
          monkeyrotica Oct 9, 2007 07:11 AM

          I'm inclined to think that if there was a problem with lead in cast iron enamel, we'd probably have heard about it by now. The primary problem with the lead in Chinese toy paint is that the toys' manufacturing is farmed out to hundreds of smaller contractors; ironware production is not. It's centralized in factories where, one would assume, QC is more stringent.

          And how do we know the French ironware doesn't have lead in the enamel? I think an email to the American Ceramic Society is in order.

          1. re: monkeyrotica
            MESSCAT Oct 18, 2007 11:11 AM

            Le Creuset's ironware is is sealed with a sand based porcelian enamel - almost like cooking on glass. No lead.

          2. re: cayjohan
            Scrapironchef Oct 9, 2007 08:46 AM

            Check your local stores for a lead test kit, let us know the results.


          3. m
            missfunkysoul Oct 9, 2007 07:04 AM

            not all staub is made in china - just their lower-priced line.

            the better line is made in france, as is le creuset.

            1. r
              RGC1982 Oct 9, 2007 10:07 PM

              Le Crueset enameled cast iron is made is France. So is Chasseur, which appears to be really similar.

              I believe that everything Emile Henry is made in France (at least everything Emile Henry that I own is made in France) and I thought that Staub was made in Europe too. I didn't realize that there was a lower priced line that might be made in China.

              1 Reply
              1. re: RGC1982
                missfunkysoul Oct 10, 2007 07:01 AM

                i just bought a piece of staub, and while researching it i found out about this secondary line... apparently it is/was being sold on the home shopping channel or qvc or something. not quite as heavy, and the enamel isn't quite as thick from what i hear.

              2. a
                ANoydAmI Nov 3, 2007 03:35 PM

                I was just in Tops, a local super market yesterday and they have a display with Le Creuset pans on display. Fancy tag hanging from the handle and on close inspection, on the back in small print at the bottom it says "Made in Tailand." The price $49.95 for a very small little enamel ware pan. NOT! I don't pay that kind of money for anything that is made in China, Hong Kong, etc.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ANoydAmI
                  Budser1228 Nov 9, 2007 08:00 AM

                  The top lines of Le Crueset, etc. are made in their home countries but the cheaper lines are made overseas - that's the only way to compete. It's global economics at work. If it is priced too reasonably, definately check out where it is made.

                  1. re: Budser1228
                    Joe Blowe Nov 10, 2007 11:19 AM

                    More correctly, the enamel-on-steel cookware is made overseas. The enameled *cast iron* is made in France.

                2. r
                  rexsreine Nov 10, 2007 10:06 AM

                  Under the thread "what are the best pots and pans?", I posted my experience with Chantal's Copper Fusion. A couple of months, before I bought the Chantal pans, I had posed a similar question about Chantal. You might want to read that thread, though, I warn you, the initial posters replying to my question did NOT know what they were talking about and assumed Copper Fusion was just another pretty copper pan. Briefly, DH and I both cook and we love the Chantal Copper Fusion.

                  1. s
                    sianyoga Nov 10, 2007 10:18 AM

                    I agree about the lead - I have a Batali pan that makes me nervous now. I just found some French enameled cast iron cookware at IKEA amazing prices too. I bought a 5 qt. and an 8 qt. French oven just $59.00 each.
                    Cast iron is very heavy. If you are to hang it just make sure you purchase some huge bolts to hang the rack from and get them into a beam securely. The bolts that came with my rack were maybe 1/4" diameter by 2" - I purchased 3/8" diameter by at least 4" w/loop end to hang the rack and I have probably 17 pots on it, no cast iron but one big french copper saucepan with a cast iron handle is seriously heavy.
                    If you cannot get get IKEA I would go with LeCreuset.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: sianyoga
                      eamcd Nov 13, 2007 04:01 PM

                      I'm glad to know about the IKEA option. Have you liked how it works and how it cleans?

                      I really want an enameled cast-iron dutch oven by the Le Creuset is not in the budget right now. I recently saw a new enameled line from Lodge -- and I love their "regular" cast iron.

                      Can anyone offer any experience of using either the Lodge enameled or the IKEA dutch ovens?

                    2. nofunlatte Nov 13, 2007 04:08 PM

                      I purchased two Staub pieces this year and both were made in France. They are the top line, not a secondary line though. Amazon had some great deals and I lucked out! I understand your lead concern, though. I had been thinking of purchasing some enameled cast iron from Lodge (not their regular cast iron, but the enameled Dutch ovens). I emailed the company and those, too, are made in China (the regular is still made in the USA).

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