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Anyone familiar with Italian ranges? ILVE, Fratelli, etc.

I have been researching ranges actively and had posted some questions a while back. I remain uncertain as to direction - I really want a stylish range with good performance, but also want quality. I ruled out Viking and Thermador based on quality issues experienced by several friends. Wolf seems an easy choice, but is the extra money worth it? I will probably go with 36" - or possibly 40 or 42 for the makers that have those. Probably can't get a 48" into our new kitchen plan. Someone recently directed me to EuroChef USA, noting that the Fratelli Onorfi and ILVE Majestic lines are great values. Found limited feedback on Fratelli and almost none on ILVE. Any hounds here have any experience/opinions with these? Also considered induction, but I really love the aesthetics of a range. We might add 2 induction burners somewhere else if we can, but pretty set on a range at this point. Dual fuel not critical. Input appreciated.

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  1. I am also looking at Fratelli and Bertazzoni. I ruled out NXR/SMEG completely. I hope you get some responses here.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pepper18925

      Are NXR & SMEG the same maker? Thanks.

    2. We looked at and strongly considered Bertazzoni & Fratelli Onofri and are now most of the way settled on an ILVE - dual fuel, 36", fish top; seems to be a lot of performance & durability for the money. Hope this is a good decision and would *love* to hear from anyone who has one themselves.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mawrter

        I am also strongly looking at the ILVE (40") duel fuel. Have you had any responses or found anyone who had experience with this range? To be honest, I am having a difficult time finding a dealer in Atlanta (but it seems that Birmingham and Nashville have them). Tks!

      2. I have a 30" SS Bertazzoni. I have been cooking and baking with it for a little over a year and I love it!!
        It has plenty of power for the way I cook. And the oven bakes so evenly. It's looks are perfect for my 1922 house.

        1. I have an ILVE and I love it. Purchased it sight unseen after two years of researching ranges. I considered everything from AGA and Bertazzoni to Five-Star, Fratelli, Wolf & Viking. Nothing was off the table for me. After careful research I found the ILVE and I do not regret my purchase in anyway. It's a solid workhorse. So ask me anything.

          9 Replies
          1. re: jedwards601

            Awesome! Love hearing that! Thank you!!! Mine is in the kitchen next to my old stove, awaiting propane connection. Mine looks fantastic and I am REALLY looking fwd to using it.

            I have to put in a call to the dealer or to EuroChef b/c the "instructions" are a joke. The left front burner has two concentric rings and *NO* indication how one might make use of this undoubtedly wonderful, but mysterious, function. I can probably muddle my way through the rotisserie function, although the instructions for that are not exactly what you would call comprehensive. And I'm good and puzzled about the "grill" / "broil" business ... I think that might be a translation issue, but I'm having quite a time trying to differentiate btwn when they say "grill," but actually mean "broil", vs. when they say "grill" and actually mean "grill". And the reverse.

            Do you have the DW oven interior parts (available as extra cost part), and if so, what do you think of them?

            1. re: jedwards601

              I too am considering an Ilve, having seen them at the Foire de Paris. In surfing the net for any complaint, there was a man in New Zealand who complained about the knobs falling off and the clock being too difficult to figure out. He also felt the oven was off too. Have you experienced any problems such as these? What do you love about your range and is there any inconvients you have noticed with the ILVE. I thank you in advance for any feedback.

              1. re: Cheriekiss

                Hi Cherie - we still are not cooking on the stovetop b/c we are awaiting the liquid propane hookup. So at this point, I have only used the (electric) oven.

                My dh figured out the digital clock after some fumbling & the timer now works correctly, *and* now we've figured out how to use the oven w/o the timer - the manual setting. We were worried that we couldn't use the oven without the timer, but that's not the case.

                I don't know if the NZ man meant there was a difference btwn the selected temperature and the actual temperature, but I have a thermometer in the oven and I've been trying to figure out what I'm working with. I have never used a range with convection and all the other features, so this is a ::huge:: learning curve for me. I also don't know for certain whether my thermometer is perfectly accurate. It seems to me that the temperature reads a little higher than the temperature I have selected when I use the convection feature. But I expected that it would cook faster then anyhow b/c of the air swishing around - so I don't know if a higher temperature reading is normal, desirable, or what. I do know that my Brazilian cheese bread is coming out really well!

                I attached a picture - mine is 36".

                I can post more feedback once I get the propane hooked up to use the burners. The knobs all seem plenty sturdy to me.

                1. re: Mawrter

                  Hello Mawrter,
                  Thank you so much for your detailed report. Your new red Ilve looks gorgeous! Glad to know that the knobs appear sturdy and the you got the clock working. You will enjoy the convection oven from roasting to pastries.
                  I feel the Ilve is a well made range and is better priced than the Lacanche/Westhal. I want one with a center barbecue grill, though it will be electric with lava rocks.
                  Would you share your recipe for the Brazilian cheese bread, which sounds lovely.
                  Again thank for your time to write back. Very happy cooking adventures to you!

                  1. re: Cheriekiss

                    Hi Cherry! Okay, now that I have some miles on the new stove, I love it! It's powerful and responsive definitely feels like an Italian performance machine. Everything on it feels and acts extremely sturdy with the exception of (so odd, who would imagine this?) the oven racks. I'm pretty surprised, but the rack flexes when I place a Le Creuset French oven (covered pot) full of the makings of broth. I'm not worried it will break or anything, but bowing under the weight surprised me.

                    The stove works very well, and I love the convection feature. The convection seems kind of noisy to me, but I have no idea what other stoves are like in terms of noise. But the results are fantastic, and I'm getting a feel for which settings are best for which foods. Although the oven does heat up the kitchen a little, the door seems very heavy and seals very tightly -- light years beyond my old stove. In fact, you need to be careful b/c when you open it, heat releases in a burst way beyond anything I've ever experienced with any other stove -- the directions caution you about this. I can imagine baking bread with a pan full of ice cubes could result in an amazing texture, like a pretend steam oven. Once I try that I'll report back (although it may be awhile, since I am gluten-free and bread isn't high on my list anymore. Sadly!).

                    I have only tried the rotisserie feature once and it didn't turn out well, but I didn't really know what I was doing and clearly, overcooking a chicken isn't the stove's fault. I was extremely nervous about trying out the griddle, but it worked beautifully. I have never had an easier or better time making pancakes. I haven't tried the wok feature yet; I don't even have a wok, but I'm getting excited about learning.

                    The little holes around the circle where the gas comes out were not as precise as they needed to be & my dh had friends machine them so they worked better. Even now, after adjustment from the gas technician, we are still occasionally getting an orange or yellow flame when it should be all blue. I don't know whether this is a warranty service issue, just a quirk, or whether my dh will be able to adjust further himself. I think this would really bug me if I didn't have a fairly handy guy and good resources to address these issues. This is not a maintenance-free stove - it has its quirks; cleaning is pretty involved and I would not recommend to to someone who wants a simple, low-maintenance, fuss-free machine to do basic cooking with. I like it, but I cook a lot and like things with a bit of personality.

                    Here is the recipe I'm currently enjoying for Brazilian cheese bread: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/easy... It's traditionally gluten-free and I really like it. It is somewhere between Japanese moochi and gougeres, if you can imagine a continuum between those two little bready bites. There are lots of different recipes out there, so I should try some others to see which one I like best, but this one matched the ingredients I had on hand & I've been really happy with it.

                    1. re: Mawrter

                      Do you still lie your Ilve? We're going back and forth with that, the Bertazzoni and the Aga. And by the way, we agree with you about Antonellas.

                  2. re: Mawrter

                    Hi Mawrter
                    I just bought a Fratelli Onofri Evolution, but it came with LP orifice spuds instead of Natural gas ones. I am told that the distributor is unable to get the Natural Gas orifice spuds, so I am unable to actually use my wonderful range.
                    Question: If you are on propane gas, would you still have the original orifice spuds that came with the range (they are 5 tiny little screws that mount in the burner, through which the gas exits), and would you consider trading them for my LP ones? That way, you have replacement spuds and I can use my range...
                    You are pretty much my last hope....
                    many thanks for replying
                    regards, Peter

                2. re: jedwards601

                  We are doing our research now and came across the live in a showroom. Online we saw a complaint that the fan makes a lot of noise. When is this fan on? For stove top cooking? Also we read it takes a long time to light the burners. It is a lovely range, so thanks for sharing your experience.

                  1. re: Chtoo

                    It's fairly noisy without the convection and even noisier with. As with any gas stove, you need to turn on the exhaust fan when you have any burner on, and your fan determines the noise level there. I really don't have a lot of experience with other, comparable ranges, so I don't know how it stacks up comparatively.

                3. I've had my Bertazzoni for a year now and am very happy with my decision. It is a 5 burner 36" running natural gas.

                  Generally I love the stove. It has a wide range of BTU's and cleanup is very, very easy. There are a few caveats and it's not for everyone.

                  1) Burner and oven ignition are a little temperamental. It takes a few seconds to warm up the thermosensor. If you do it too quickly, the gas shuts off as a safety mechanism.

                  2) Oven size is wide, but not deep or tall. I can fit 1 quarter-sheet and 1 half-sheet pan per rack in the oven.

                  3) Convection is good, but not incredible. Works great for roasting a turkey, but have to rotate if the racks are full (as in #2 above)

                  4) Minimum oven temp is 225. A bit high for an ultra low braise.

                  I considered the Fratelli, but wanted to buy from somewhere I could put my hands on a unit. Of the non-italian ranges I really liked Blue-Star. It maxes out at 22K BTU, but still has a nice low simmer.

                  1. I have had my wonderful ILVE range now for almost a year. I am an exacting cook who makes everything from scratch, so It is used everyday! Mine is the 90 cm blue with gold knobs. Gorgeous! The 4 burners are gas of course, and in the middle is a lava rock electric barbeque grill, with cast iron grating. In so far as the ignition, there is no problem except one must turn the knob to the specified mark for lighting, which is very easy to do. I have not had any problems with flames not being the required blue.
                    All the burners have heavy duty cast iron grating that is extremely sturdy.
                    The barbeque grill does an excellent job of grilling steaks, chops, and vegetables and has 12 settings. I use the top settings for grilling meats and toasting breads, the upper middle ones are good for vegetables where you do not want intensive charring. The lower settings are great for keeping extra pots and pans hot if you wish.
                    I chose the barbeque grill option over the plancha, because I live in Paris and an outdoor gas barbeque on my balcony is not allowed.
                    I have the electric multifunction oven with a great rotisserie. You can order of course the double oven, but I preferred the very large oven as I enjoy pastry making. The convection settings are not noisy to me. There are 8 different settings, plus a defrosting one. There is the plain convection oven, then one with convection plus bottom and top heating elements, and a convection with intensive grill that operates the turnspit. There are settings that just involve the lower heating element for cakes, one with both top and bottom, and one just with an upper heating element. There is a pizza setting, that I have not tried yet, because I am not a pizza fan per sae.
                    The turnspit offers steady and secure rotation with fairly large poultry, and I have had excellent results with pintades(guinea hens) and chickens.
                    The door seems well insulated, but of course warm to touch in the hottest temps. The oven being large takes longer to reach optimal temperature than a smaller one, but lights indicate if it is still preheating. I do not feel as I have mastered all the possibilities of all these settings yet!
                    So far the only drawback was the long wait for my ILVE to be delivered, as it was made to order in the factory in Italy of course and in august, the factory shuts down.
                    When I lived in the states, I had the large professional by Thermadour, and I MUCH prefer the ILVE in looks and performance. It is stunning in appearance and my pride and joy in cooking!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Cheriekiss

                      I have recently purchased an iLVE 30" duel fuel range. There is a loud fan noise on every oven setting. Is this normal? Does the fan run automatically each time the oven is used?

                      1. re: joelbrayman

                        Yeah, Joe, I think it does. It's not my favorite feature, but I do love the ::performance::.

                      2. re: Cheriekiss

                        Felicitations, Cherie! Glad you love yours! :)

                      3. Well if the stoves are any thing like the cars or women then they look good at first, run fast, are high maintanence and age quickly!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: subal

                          And all kidding aside, what's the parts availability on these? There's a certain coolness in not going with the more widely-available brands but the upside of "widely-available" is that you can get repair parts fairly quickly.

                        2. I just bought an Ilve Majestic 30" dual fuel range online, sight unseen. Had to have the digital clock replaced so the oven would work and new thermostat to correct oven temperature (was 75 degrees off) and both were resolved by repairman that EuroChef sent out. NO ONE in my area (central Florida) is familiar with this range. Had to convert to LP gas and the gas company took 3 hours to make the conversion. The range has to be practically disassembled to add conversion parts. Best part....the most beautiful looking range available. Great gas cooktop. Still have an issue with the exhaust fan noise. It sounds like a hair dryer. EuroChef sent out someone to replace the fan and it's still loud. Our repairman said it's an issue of air flow. The electric ovens vent out and the gas ovens out the back. If you have an Ilve with an electric oven do you find the exhaust fan unusually loud? Love to hear back from others with this range.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jimdorhackett

                            Hello Jim,
                            Your new Ilve is indeed beautiful! Your initiation to ILve though sounds like a nightmare!
                            I do not understand why you have to convert to Lp gas. They are made to work on natural gas, which I am sure is available in your area.
                            I too ordered mine online from a European direct vendor. The range was made in the ILve factory to my specifications, and yes it has an electric oven.
                            I live in Paris, France and it was easy to have it connected to a natural gas outlet in my apartment. I followed the instructions regarding the clock in the manual and again no problem. I
                            I have had my Ilve for over 3 years, and I find it wonderful in all dimensions of cooking and baking.
                            Because it is a large oven, it does take some time to reach optimal temperature. The thermostat seems appropriately calibrated, but never had it tested.
                            I use the convection option often, as I do a lot of intricate pastries.
                            Yes, the exhaust fan is loud, but this is because it is powerful. The exhaust is somewhat noticeable, but because I live in Paris, it is noisy outside my window, therefore I am not bothered by it.
                            The bottom line is I love my Ilve and feel it has been a very good investment.
                            Take a look at my Gateau Saint Honoré on my blog cherrychapman.com. My post was titled A Week of Feasting Left One Tired Cook. Everything I made was done on my beloved and beautiful blue Ilve!
                            Hope you enjoy yours as much as I have mine.

                          2. We've had our 48" ILVE Majestic oven for 4 years and absolutely love it. Ours is dual fuel (propane burners and electric ovens). We have six burners plus the fry top with all the accessories (griddle, bbq, bain marie, chopping board, basins for steam cooking, fish grate and wok ring). It's a breeze to clean the burners and we love all the accessories. We also have turn spits in each oven.

                            As others have mentioned, the exhaust fan is loud.

                            The ovens clean up very easily, with the exception of the top. We are still trying to figure out how to remove the electric element so we can clean. Anyone done that yet?

                            My newest project is learning to bake bread. My concern is that the recipes call for spraying the oven with water to create steam. I've had several people tell me that this isn't good for the oven. One of the early posts here mentioned putting a pan of ice cubes in the oven with the bread. Has anyone done that and if so, how did it work?

                            Lastly, because the oven temp can be set to 75 degrees F, I was able to use it to proof my bread yesterday. How wonderful is that?

                            Any info anyone can give us on cleaning the oven ceiling and creating a steam oven would be helpful.