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Buying Cookware in the US vs in France

My husband and I are moving to France in September to be closer to his family, so we have started thinking of what to leave behind vs. what to bring along. I've used the Kitchenaid Non-stick Gourmet Essentials 10-Pc for over 5 years now; we received it as a wedding present . I have used every single piece to good effect, especially considering we had crappy electric stove burners in our rental apartment. However, the non-stick coating has been flaking and chipping for a while now, and I am ready to toss the entire set and start over.

I love cooking, cook all types of cuisines, and usually have all 4 elements going at once. My dream set is the All-Clad Copper Core 10 pc set ( 10", 12" frypans, 2 & 4 quart saute pans, 4 quart saucepan, 8 qt stockpot), which I plan to supplement with a nonstick 10-inch frypan, a Le Creuset Cast Iron casserole and a Crepe Pan (that I will most probably buy in France).

My question is, would I be better off buying my new cookware set before moving (weight is of minimal concern; my husband's company is paying to move our things)? I'm embarassed to say I'm not aware of the sort of cookware I can purchase in France, and also, of the cost relative to what I can get in the US.

I am open to most brands of cookware, quality matters more, though I will be frank and admit that All-Clad is a real stretch for us to afford. For health reasons, I would prefer stainless steel, and I would also be looking for induction ready cookware.

Any suggestions you might have would be most helpful!! Thank you

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  1. Where in France? If I were making the move and Paris was my destination, I'd love to go to Dehillerin and start collecting a kitchen ...

    http://www.e-dehillerin.fr/en/index.php

    3 Replies
    1. re: tim irvine

      Thank you for that link, Tim! I'm hoping that we will get sent to Paris but it might be Lyon or Nantes. We'll know in July. I must admit that the prices on the individual pots and pans in their online store are actually convincing me that I should consider buying a new set in the US. How much wider is the range of options within the store?

      1. re: ms.nita

        Dehillerin has a vast assortment of items, many professional grade. Service can be variable, depending on how well you speak French.

      2. re: tim irvine

        Started my kitchen collection of nice cookware in Paris. At E Dehillerin. PIcked up 3 pieces of mauviel. I loved it in there. This was a year ago. I get my house next month :D

        If you are going to buy copper, buy it there it is cheaper by far. If not, you may want to buy here

      3. If you do decide to get cookware here, I'd look at stuff from this set:

        http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produc...&

        or the equivalent set (tri-ply fully clad) from Calphalon. I've not used any but they are on my list of stuff to get once I get my own place. I doubt you'll find a better set of stainless pans en france at that price point, and they are apparently pretty much as good as All-Clad (again I haven't used them so I can't confirm! search the forum for more on those sets).

        if weight really isn't a concern, you may want to consider the Lodge Colors or Tramonita cast iron offerings while you're shopping if you want to save some cash....of course Le Creuset is available in france, as you know, so no one would blame you for going the elite route. Maybe someone can elaborate on LC prices in France, you'd think they would be cheaper but I wouldn't be surprised if you're best bet was to try to get one at a TJX store and have it moved with the rest of your stuff. If it seems like I'm being "el cheapo" it's because I'm a student :D

        bon chance!

        1 Reply
        1. re: DukeOfSuffolk

          I am following DukeOfSuffolk's suggestion.

          I don't own Tramontina stainlesss steel cookware, but they have recieved very good reviews; same for the Tramonita enameled cast iron cookware. The only thing I like to add is that Tramontina offers varies lines of stainless steel cookware. The cheaper one is the one which Walmart offers:

          http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produc...&

          The Prima is the higher line from Tramontina and it is more expensive

          http://www.125west.com/c-134-tramonti...

        2. I'd buy the Tramontina or AC here depending on your price range and look for specialty items in France. It is France, after all! It's a certainty that you will find things you want! My view is it's best to buy some good clad pieces, ship them and get your LC and specialty things in France so you get the best of both worlds.

          1. Thank you so much for all your replies. I will make a trip to a Walmart soon to take a closer look at the Tramontina pans. While shipping weight isn't too much of an issue, the actual weight of the pans can be an issue for me! (I'm 5'2").
            knet, I think your suggestion is great; that is probably what I will end up doing. And thank you for the 'el cheapo' suggestions Duke of Suffolk! I'll be a student (of French language) when I'm moving there too, which is why I'm trying to get the best bang for my buck for my cookware :)

            4 Replies
            1. re: ms.nita

              Good luck with the shopping and with the move. It will be very exciting I know! Remember to look for the Tramontina tri-clad when in Walmart ( often best ordered online because in store stock can be scarce)!

              1. re: ms.nita

                ms.nita. just quick one word from me. As for Calphalon, some of the old version of Calphalons are not-induction ready. (My 2-inch fry-pan was not.) Bring a magnet with you to test if the outside is magnetic or not if you care for induction-ready cookware. I think Tramontina tri-ply is induction ready if I am correct.

                1. re: hobbybaker

                  2 inch? I don't think it really matter if it is induction ready if it is 2 inch.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    My typo. I meant 12 inch, CK. Anyway, what I want to say is some of Calphalon are not induction ready, which I do not recommend.

              2. My suggestion is you could buy from China, Cheaper and high quality cookware.

                1. That's a great tip about the magnet. So basically, if the magnet sticks to the pan, that would indicate that it is induction ready? Does this apply to any cookware I might be interested in purchasing?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ms.nita

                    That is my basic understanding, but I always make sure in something in written. On the box, in the manual, on the company's web site etc. Ask the sales person, too. Do reserach. Cooking.com has the best updated info as far as I know. Even for the same product line, newer products can be induction ready while older ones are not etc etc. So double check always and keep your receipts in case you need to return :)

                    1. re: ms.nita

                      hobby is correct. If a ferrous magnet is attracted to the cookware, then the cookware can be heated on an induction stoveop. Although I like to add there is a grey area where the pot is barely magnetic, in those cases, it is a really no for induction stovetop.

                    2. Unless you like copper which is definitely cheaper in France, I would buy your cookware in the US, especially you have time to seek out sales, seconds, etc. Paris is stocked with wonderful cookware but we've found that it is more expensive for comparable items. Also one will not find brands such All-Clad, Calphalon, etc. Even Le Creusets are more expensive. And unlike the US, the high quality cookware are rarely ever on sale. We have an apartment in Paris and it is stocked with mostly US bought pots and pans.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: PBSF

                        Now if you were to sell your US bought cookware in Paris, do you need to pay the import tax? Whereas Ms.Nita wouldn't have to pay for import tax if she bought hers cookware in France. I heard import tax is not cheap in France. :P

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          If the cookware looks even remotely been used or known to be for personal use, French custom will not bother with any import tax. And the posters company is paying for her move. What makes things expensive in France is also the high VAT.

                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                            when we moved our household stuff to france, it was considered used household goods and came through without charge. i found cookware shopping fun there, but agree that prices are much higher than in the US, except for copper. i was able to find the odd super deal on staub and tin lined copper by regular shopping at auchan and carrefour household aisles. when you do find deals, though, there is not much choice or huge amount of stock... i also found good deals on special serving items, like little ramekins, mini hors d'oeuvres servers etc. you do have to spend a lot of time shopping to unearth a good deal in france...

                        2. Ms.Nita,

                          Do you count sharpening stones as cookware? Because I read the sharpening stones are more expensive in Europe and have small selection. You probably don't care about it, but I just want to throw that out. :)

                          1. What a wealth of information over here. I didn't expect Le Creuset to be more expensive in France. I might have to get more than I expected over here! Based on reviews I've read in other threads, I'm 80 percent sold on the 10-pc Tramontina. I'm going to see if I can check out the pieces at my local Walmart, mainly to see if they might be too heavy for me. How useful is that 12 quart stockpot, though.... it sounds massive! I might give that away or put it on Ebay. My other consideration with all these purchases is: I have no idea how big/small my kitchen will be in France. Storage will probably be an issue as well.

                            1. Thanks to all the great feedback I received on this post, I went ahead and ordered the Tramontina 10-pc set through Walmart online. I just received the box yesterday, and am very excited to get going!! So far, I've inspected all the pieces (in great shape) and tested for weight and heft. They are solid but don't feel as heavy as the AllClad Stainless I tested in a store the other day.
                              I will try and post a review of the pans once I've actually cooked with them for a few days. My current apartment (rental) has a really terrible electric stove and all 4 burners tilt slightly toward the center of the stove, so I'm thinking I should be able to distinguish between the (hoped for) even heating of the Tramontina vs my old set quite easily!
                              I still think I will sell off the 12-quart stock pot on Ebay. It's gorgeous but I'll probably have major storage issues in France. If there are any posters who know how I might be able to sell it on Chowhound, please contact me at ms.nita05 AT gmail.com. (I don't want to abuse the purpose of the board in any way; I will remove this part if not appropriate.)