Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Oct 20, 2009 07:00 PM

Copperware from France Any Ideas?

Hello! I was given a set of copper pans (different size sauce pans) several years ago. I know they were purchased in France. I would love to add to my collection and would like to keep the same type if possible. However, I cannot read the inscription on the side of my pans. They are very heavy and have iron handles. The inscription has a viking ship with the word Gavard under it. Below it has a year in the 1600's listed. It looks like 1656 or 1636. The end of the word in front of the year has what looks like nuis or nuis. I know these details may not help at all. I thought I would try though! I would love to know more about them!! Any ideas?

Thank you to anyone who may be able to help me!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You are going to actually cook with any new pans you get, right? This isn't just something to match the collection hanging on a wall, because you could order a nice piece of Mauviel copper right now, without having to search, and you wouldn't have to worry about getting it retinned or anything.

    What specific pan or piece of cookware are you looking to use? Its unlikely your number is a year - that's too early for the most part for consumer-ish copper cookware. You might send an email or two to appraisers.. they might recognize the logo...

    1 Reply
    1. re: grant.cook

      Thank you for the response. Yes, I plan to cook with the new pieces. Thank you for the tip on the number...I had no idea!! I would love to add some type of stock pot and a large saute pan. All of mine are what I consider sauce pans. I also have no lids and would love to add lids. Are there particular appraisers that deal with copper? Obviously I am very new at this!!

    2. Hi Merri,

      I've seen a rather blurry photo of the Gavard logo and I believe that the word before the year is probably "depuis" (maybe the tail is missing from the p), which means "since"; as in, this company has been in business since 1636, or whenever. Sometimes you'll see a variation on that: "De pere en fils depuis 1788", which means that the enterprise (winery, store, etc.) has been handed down from father (pere) to son (fils) since 1788 (or whatever year).

      If you haven't used copper cookware before, a few tips: Since copper transfers heat so efficiently you won't need much heat at all; start out on low to low-medium. And -- Very Important -- if your pans have the traditional tin lining, never, ever put the pan on the heat empty, even if you think it will be for just a few seconds, because tin has a relatively low melting point and the tin lining can get ruined if it overheats. Put the oil or water or ingredients in the pan before turning on the stove. And be careful not to boil the water or food dry, leaving the pan on the heat.

      Don't use metal utensils inside the pans; tin scratches fairly easily, even to the point of gettng scratched off in places (Yikes!). And only use plastic scrubbers or sponges when cleaning up, no brillo pads, scotchbrite pads, or copper scrubbies.

      You don't need to keep the copper ultra-shiny, but don't let scorch or dark spots develop, because they can create hot spots inside the pan, and what you want is even heat all over. Careful regular cleaning and the occasional polishing is the key.

      You mentioned wanting to get a saute pan; I've got one that I rarely use, because I think copper's best use is for saucepans and stock pots, where the heat carries up the walls to gently cook a quantity of soup or sauce or beans or stew. Saute pans or skillets are often best for quick, high heat work.

      Good quality (i.e. thick) copper cookware is great stuff; I hope you get lots of use and great enjoyment out of yours.