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Jan 14, 2008 08:26 AM

Copper cookware from Sur La Table

A few months ago I scored a 10" Sur La Table branded copper fry pan for $50. It was in their clearance section and from what I can tell, SLT discontinued their copper lineup. I was curious about who actually makes it for them, as the bottom of the pan is stamped "Made in Italy."

I sent an email to SLT's customer service and the reply says that they have "Mauviel, in Italy" make their copper cookware. From what I've seen, Mauviel makes their stuff in France. Anyone know if Mauviel has a factory in Italy, or was the rep from SLT mistaken?

The pan measures 2mm in thickness, no rounded lip, and stainless steel handle. Regardless of who actually made the pan, $50 for a 2mm copper pan is a super bargain.

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  1. I think it was
    I've been to Villedieu-les-Poeles, the small town in Normandy where the Mauviel factory is and there was a lot - a lot! - of copper but not the same pieces that SLT had. I think WS and SLT buy or bought largely from these two places.

    7 Replies
    1. re: MakingSense

      Well, the pan is stainless steel lined and it looks like Ruffoni is tin lined.

      1. re: Cary

        Ruffoni's Tecnica pans are stainless lined.

        That said, I can't quite figure out why Ruffoni would want to sell an unbranded knockoff and absorb the same manufacturing/marketing overhead as they do on their own product lines. My theory is that Lagostina produced the pans for SLT.

        1. re: ttriche

          Volume. It's not a knockoff. They get a direct sale of a large quantity of a standard production item, minus their trademark. SLT might have made some minor changes (but maybe not) such as changing a handle or something, but Ruffoni could fill the order in one large production run. Their marketing costs are lower than dealing with many purchasers, less paperwork, they ship to one state-side address. Done-deal.

          1. re: MakingSense

            > knockoff

            Poor choice of words on my part. I suppose 'unbranded' would work.

            > SLT might have made some minor changes such as changing a handle

            I have one of these pans and that's exactly what seems to have happened. It's a chunky cast-stainless handle with what appears to be a 1.6-2.0mm layer of copper and a thin stainless interior. It sure as hell isn't tin, I would have melted it and poured it out the side by now.

            The shape of the pan is eminently practical, sort of like a low saucier. There's more curve in the bottom and more height to the sides than most skillets, which makes it very easy to whisk things into reductions. It's unlike any shape that I have seen from Ruffoni, and it's stainless lined & handled.

            It appears that Ruffoni is no longer promoting their Tecnica line of copper, and Lagostina makes only clad cookware nowadays, so this might remain a mystery for a while yet.

            1. re: ttriche

              It really doesn't matter what's in the standard line that Ruffoni, Lagostina, or another company has. For a substantial order from SLT, they can make adjustments to produce to order.
              I have friends with major companies who travel overseas regularly to work on design and production for their product lines with their overseas manufacturers. They tweak things for the American market or design from the bottom up and then put the US brand name on them. The same foreign plants produce for many US brands and none of the stuff is the same.
              If you have a foundry, you can make any kind of pot for anybody, to their specifications, and guarantee that you won't produce it for anyone else. They can put "Ours alone. Exclusive" in their catalogue.

              1. re: ttriche

                ttriche; the pan you describe is called an Evasee, an eminently practical pan. basically a curved sided sautoir. good for many tasks. they are made by many mfgrs, both in copper and other materials.

                1. re: chazzerking

                  Nah, it (the SLT pan) is a French skillet. I have a 4.5qt Falk curved sauteuse evasee and it's a very different animal (though if I had to choose just one pan to use for everything, it'd be the Falk in a landslide). You are correct that the curved evasee design is unbelievably useful...

      2. Actually this occurs more than you realize. A couple of years ago I noticed a sale on Bloomingdales branded cookware on their website, but the specifics and description were identical to a similar set of All-Clad. It appears that it was once popular for a store to produce their own line of products. I was fortunate to nab a 12 piece set for next to nothing.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gabby29

          It's too bad SLT stopped selling their copper cookware. Regardless of which manufacturer made it, their "normal" price of $100 for the 24cm 2mm copper pan is a bargain. The clearance price of $50 was even better.