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What copper cookware brand do you recommend (Mauviel or Falk)

I originally intended to buy the Mauviel Professional line of copper cookware from Williams-Sonoma. It is stainless-steel lined (im not interested in retinning) with cast-iron handles and the copper is 2.5 mm thick. I found out about Falk which pretty much has the same characteristics except it has a brushed rather than a shiny finish and unlike the Mauviel, is made in Belgium rather than France.

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  1. I would, and did, go with Bourgeat. I love the shiny finish and really wanted the curved lips. The price is really great to if you go with my chef's favorites. Here's the 8 piece set at a great price $1099:
    http://www.mychefsfavorites.com/kitch...

    I bought this set and added a smaller saucier and I absolutely love them. I had looked and Mauviel and Falk as well but the price point and the details really made this a no brainer for me.

    2 Replies
    1. re: olympia

      olympia,

      I followed your link and it appears they have closed as of the 22nd of January. It's a good thing you got your copper when you did, that was an excellent price.

      1. re: mikie

        Aw, that's too bad. Don Shipman was really great to deal with. I was a little displease about some of the cosmetic blemishes on the pans and he was great to help. I hope he's on to some new adventure!

    2. AFAIK, Falk makes the sheets of 2.5mm copper/stainless that they use to produce their cookware and also these 2.5mm copper/stainless sheets that Mauviel uses to make any of the 2.5mm stainless lined copper cookware Mauviel produce (this specific wording makes more sense in the next line....)

      AFAIK, In addition to making their own brand of cookware, Mauvil is also the OEM for and makes Bourgeat's 2.5mm stainless lined copper cookware to Bourgeat's specifications, thus different handle positions, flared pouring rims.

      They are all good manufacturers and the pots are all good quality. IMHO, if you are looking for French/Belgium stainless lined copper cookware at 2.5mm thickness, then the decision comes down to the their various unique characteristics.

      Should you want a brushed copper surface, then Falk. If polished surface and rounded rims then Bourgeat. If polished surface and straight rims then Mauviel.

      Lastly, if you want to use stainless steel lined copper for induction deBuyer (though I think it is 2mm copper/stainless sheets not 2.5mm).

      1 Reply
      1. Hi, littleprotege:

        As khuzdul has mentioned, the metal in the pans is the same. Both have excellent fit and finish. So it comes down to the ergonomics, the lip, and brushed vs. polished finish. If I were in your position, I'd decide based on the handle geometry and feel, and for me that would be Falk. I find Mauviel's handles to be "turny" in my hand and at a less than ideal angle.

        But since your choice is essentially between Ferrari and Lamborghini, I'm not sure there's a wrong decision to be made here.

        Aloha,
        Kaleo

        14 Replies
        1. re: kaleokahu

          Agreed on the Mauviel handles. The Falk handles seem to be more comfortable.

          1. re: kaleokahu

            I think the Falk ss lining is a different alloy. Maybe superior? Maybe added Molybdenium? I dont know. But it is not the same.

            1. re: SomersetDee

              What do you find different about the alloy? There are many different sub-types of 18/10 stainless, and they may use one with a slightly difference composition, but I think that it is more likely that they use a different finish for the same stainless steel, just like they have a different finish for their copper.

              1. re: khuzdul

                Hi, khudzul:

                Barring some expensive and wasteful destructive testing, or some information from within Falk Culinaire, I think it's impossible to tell what explains the lining differences.

                It may be, as traderjoe has speculated, that Mauviel and/or Bourgeat specs a steel different from that used by Falk for its own bimetal production. This is possible, but from the small bit of looking I've done at the patents and processes, I'm skeptical. Until more information is available, my own speculation is that the same steel is given different surface treatments after forming.

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

                1. re: khuzdul

                  Hi Khuzdui and Kaleo
                  The company themselves have declared in their website that it is a 16% Chromium alloy. Since the manufacturer is Belgian, I did some research and found that there are very very few stainless steels with exactly 16% Cr. I am quite certain that the lining is superior because I suspect that it is even harder than a 18/10 Cr/Ni mix. I dont know if I am psychologically influenced by the Matt finish and projecting attributes on this lining!! I am a big fan of the Bourgeat shiny finish which mimics traditional Tin. Nevertheless, Falk is quickly becoming my favourite because of its practicality and attention to detail. Mauviel loses in this battle of inside surface. Bourgeat and Falk come out better, and easy to clean. But definitely while cooking, especially frying delicate meat like fish, Falk appears to out perform. Again it may be psychological.

                  For example please look at the metal called "Euroweld". This is a 16% food grade Chromium alloy. So 16% Cr alloys do exist within the 300 series of austenitic steels. Falk have also revealed they add 0.15% carbon which I believe is the maximum you can had to achieve maximum hardness without losing the ductility and malleability. Also,they probably add some Manganese in their alloy. I respect that they dont want to reveal what the exact composition is and that is the reason I have not asked them. It is even possible that the composition is not protected by a patent therefore not wanting to reveal the exact details. It simply cannot be an 18/10 (Cr/Ni)stainless steel when it is a 16% alloy. I have a feeling that the properties of this lining might be better and that is the reason they have chosen it and not to reduce the cost. If you notice a Falk product they have spent more on the finish, this shows a product philosophy of wanting to make things better at increased cost rather than a desire to reduce cost and compromising on the details. :) regards Dee F Padamadan

                  1. re: SomersetDee

                    Hi, Dee:

                    You had me there right up to "...Falk... they have spent more on the finish, this shows a product philosophy of wanting to make things better..."

                    Anyway, your metallurgical sleuthing is plausible and laudable. You've opened my mind on this lining issue.

                    Aloha,
                    Kaleo

                    1. re: SomersetDee

                      Hello, Falk's FAQ says that their lining is "Austenitic or 300 series, stainless steel contain a maximum of 0.15% carbon, a minimum of 16% chromium and sufficient nickel and/or manganese to retain an austenitic structure at all temperatures from the cryogenic region to the melting point of the alloy. This type of steel is used most often in food processing equipment."

                      Unfortunately it does not specify that the stainless that they use is 16% chromium and 0.15% carbon, just that their steel has those minimums and maximums. These percentages allow them to be use any of the 200 or 300 series stainless steels!

                      1. re: khuzdul

                        Thanks, khuzdul. This is par for the course with Falk--they won't even publish accurate numbers for the capacities of their pans.

                        1. re: khuzdul

                          Yes Khuzdul.. you're right.. I would like to correct myself too..thanks for pointing this out.. Maximum and minimum is what they have published in their website. It is just that to my knowledge there is a stable food grade alloy with the specs that I was speculating on. In reality one cannot increase and decrease compositions as one pleases. No one is going to experiment with a questionable alloy on food grade pots.. especially not with EU laws. There are stable alloys usually designated with an appropriate 3 digit number starting with 3xx (some starting with 2xx, etc) I am still not going to ask Neil at Falk Culinair about the composition :) because I believe he does not wish for those specific details to be published.

                        2. re: SomersetDee

                          "Mauviel loses in this battle of inside surface"

                          There's a few very nice features with Falk but the satin interior SS lining is surely not one of them. The Falk SS gives off an unpleasant odor, it's a real pain to get clean and it sticks far more than Mauviel SS. The Falk handles are my least favorite. On the larger Falk pieces their handles are absurdly small. I like the Falk lids the best but clearly this gets into personal preference.
                          My best advice for any one confused by the contrast in one poster preferring brand X and another preferring brand Y is to buy one of each and see what you like before buying too many pieces of any one brand.

                          1. re: TraderJoe

                            Hi Joe
                            By saying "Mauviel loses in this battle of inside surface" what I meant to say is that it is neither polished like Bourgeat, nor is it given a satin finish like Falk Culinair.

                            Falk definitely sticks food the least of the three. However, it is not without problems. I do find that the "stainless" steel lining stains easily.

                            Mauviel is the worst finish inside in terms of sticking. It is not smooth. It has grind marks (concentric) that has not smoothed out even after years and years of use. Especially the Frying pans. Oh my god. Mauviel frying pans require so much cleaning. However, they resist staining well.

                            I have a small frying pan from Falk. Nothing sticks. So also in the ultra polished Bourgeat. Nothing sticks. But they (Falk) do get tiny spots of dark stain. (mimics tin lining! :) )

                            For me the inside finish is most satisfying with Alliance Bourgeat. Smoother finish... easier to clean. Stays looking new and fresh unlike Mauviel.

                            Personally I like Mauviel lids the best. Falk has the worst lid in my opinion because it has a half to one millimetre gap through which the steam escapes. This goes directly on the wrist or "upwards". I hate that about those lids. This never happens with Mauviel. So Mauviel lids are the best, better than Bourgeat too.

                            When Mauviels cook, you can hear a repetitive "tonk-tonk" noise. This is the lid raising slightly to let the steam escape and then falling back down. So in a furiously boiling saucepan you get a rough idea how FAST it is boiling. when you reduce the heat this knocking sound tempo goes down. So the whole thing is like a feedback mechanism. Only the traditionally shaped straight edged saucepans and stockpots have this beautiful feature. For the sake of this feature alone, Mauviels are my favourite. Moreover, the lid's lips overhang extends much over the rim, furthermore, they are curved downwards, making sure no steam is directed upwards. Winner.

                            Furthermore, I also suspect (just a guess) that because of holding slightly (marginally) higher vapour pressure inside the saucepan.. because of this lid behaviour, Mauviel is inadvertently able to achieve higher internal temperature speeding cooking.

                            How do you reckon the Falk is giving an unpleasant odour? I tried heating mine for full 5 minutes empty/dry to try and smell what it did. All I got is the oven like smell of heat. no bad smells. But I can smell the hint of flavours of the foods that have been cooked in them before. I suspect microscopic particles inbetween the grains of the satin finish...? Please can you say more about this? Have you spoken to Falk people about this?

                            kindest regards
                            Dee

                            1. re: SomersetDee

                              "Falk definitely sticks food the least of the three"

                              That's not been my experience at all.
                              @Kaleo I agree the handles and rivets on Falk are tiny. Waaaay too small unless you have ooompa loompas in the kitchen.

                              1. re: TraderJoe

                                Hi Joe, Well, I think the stainless steel is softer in Falk. It is also not as "stainless" as the other two. Perhaps this is the reason that the food releases easily? I do find the Falk easy to clean and provided that the lard or oil is hot before you start frying the sticking is definitely less than Mauviel. I have attached a photo of three pans i.e. one of each brand. I just chose those particular pans as I could fit it in one picture. The Falk is not as old as the other two. Surprisingly the Bourgeat (small saucepan) is the oldest of the three pans (4 years old) and also used as many as three times in a day as it gets used to heat milk for coffee. The large frying pan probably gets used once or twice a week and the tiny Falk frying pan gets used every morning for fried eggs (sometimes twice a day). I asked my wife as well about which of these three brands she prefers and she replied that even though she likes the Falk frying pan performance she prefers the Mauviel and Bourgeat for looks and almost everything else. She feels that the "stainless" steel lining of Falk (and others) actually imparts a taste into the food and she prefers the taste imparted by the Mauviel the best. She says that anything made in a Mauviel actually tastes better (than Falk). I am personally not certain if that is because of other factors like the pressure created when you shut the lid, etc. I certainly prefer the taste of white sauce prepared in Mauviel and Bourgeat. I find that the Falk actually reduces the brightness (or whiteness) of the sauce. Again this could be all psychological (suggestive) than fact. But then the molecules of the cooking surface is intimately in contact with food molecules at high heat.

                                 
                            2. re: TraderJoe

                              Hi, TJ: "On the larger Falk pieces their handles are absurdly small."

                              IMO, they're too small (yet too light and thin ;)) on all the pieces. Either all Belgians have girly hands, or someone wants to shave the cost of cast iron to impress the boss. Rivets are Lilliputian, too.

                              Aloha,
                              Kaleo

                    2. myhabit.com (Amazon.com's "special" upscale deal-o-the-day sister website) has some pretty reasonable deals on a few Bourgeat 2.5mm copper (stainless lined) pans today.

                      The saute pan is already sold out, but the still have a saucepan, an oval skillet, and a 3-piece set available...

                      1. Hi LP,

                        I currently own 2.5mm stainless lined copper from Mauviel, Bourgeat, and Falk. I agree they are all equivalent in performance and rugged build quality.

                        My personal favorite is Bourgeat for their beefy iron handles that attach lower on the copper pot than the other two brands. I also value the shiny finish on the stainless lining, and also the shiny exterior. The rolled rim is also practical.

                        I like the Mauviel as well, since they mimic the aesthetic design of the old school tin lined french copper pans. I have not had any problems with their handles as mentioned by my friend previously.

                        While Falk is the rarest and perhaps most coveted, I favor the other brands ahead of them. I don't like the brushed outer finish and the dull interior of the Falk pans. Also, their iron handles are a bit more dainty, which isn't my style.

                        If you're interested, I have some Falk and some Mauviel which I'd like to sell. I'm not dealer. I just have a bad cookware habit.

                        Finally, consider tin-lined-copper. You won't need to re-tin anything, and the older stuff often came in 3 or more mm thickness, which makes all the difference.

                        best wishes,
                        alarash

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: alarash

                          alarsh,

                          been looking to start a copper collection. picked up a ruffoni 8 qt stock pot. if you are still interested in selling some of your copper cookware i am in the market.

                          thanks,

                          LF

                          missmalou@netzero.com

                          1. re: alarash

                            Hi Alarash,

                            Thank you for your informative post. Would be most grateful if you continue to share your experience and knowledge of older copper cookware, e.g.:

                            1. When you mention the need to not re-tin, why is that? Home use not very wearing on the tin? How about high temperatures?

                            2. How does one determine the state of the tin layer, & need for re-tinning, when purchasing unseen? When purchasing seen?

                            3. Other useful tips/arcana you might wish to share.

                            Thank you very much.

                            1. re: alarash

                              Finally, consider tin-lined-copper. You won't need to re-tin anything
                              ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                              I'd suggest most home cooks avoid tin lined copper. It absolutely will need to be re-tinned at some point and that is VERY expensive and it's getting harder and harder to find some one who can do quality re-tinning.
                              I also wouldn't get sucked too far into the 2.5mm Vs 3mm debate. I like thicker material myself but it's just not necessary for most home cooks.The 2.5mm copper is a fine product.
                              Noobs to copper should also be aware that if a tin lined Copper pot is inadvertently scortched the tin can melt. That won't happen with SS lined copper.
                              I prefer Mauviel myself and the 3mm tin lined pieces are among my favorites like the large stock pots and rondeau. However I do accept that one day they will need to be re-tinned.
                              I keep them clean with BKF.

                              TJ

                              1. re: TraderJoe

                                Hi, TJ: "I'd suggest most home cooks avoid tin lined copper."

                                Yes, avoid tinned and 3mm like the Plague (It means more for the rest of us, at lower prices! :P).

                                You use BKF on the tin? If so, you may be retinning sooner than you think.

                                Have you melted a tin lining? I ask because my experience speed-boiling a saucepan and skillet completely dry (same saucepan 3 times, on a HI electric coil for long enough each time that the smoke detector went off) has been that tin linings don't just melt and run off at 437F as people might imagine. IME, the tin "cooks"--mottles and darkens--but I have never had blisters, flakes or runs. Maybe I've just been lucky, but my much-abused saucepan never showed any exposed copper, even after another year of cooking and multiple baking-soda boils to lighten the color.

                                I admit that one should be more careful with a tin-lined pan than its SS-lined counterpart. But there *is* also the reasonable prospect of delaminating a bimetal pan with scorching and/or salt-pitting. Noobs should also consider that if/when this happens, they'll be buying a whole new pan, not just a retin job.

                                Aloha,
                                Kaleo

                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                  You use BKF on the tin? If so, you may be retinning sooner than you think.

                                  ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                  Clearly you don't like BKF but I use the product with good results. If you think some thing as mild as BKF will destroy tin lining it's not very durable. Tin starts to melt at 450, how about SS?

                                  Yes I've had one of my cooks melt the tin in a rondeau and yes it will run and bubble. You've never had bubbles or blisters in your tin? Here let me leave a link for an older thread;

                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/809202

                                  Either way tin will need to be re-lined even with normal wear and SS never will. The average cook will never be able to see any appreciable difference between 2.5mm and 3mm. That difference is more in the feel good department than performance. I like nice cook ware as well but even the 2mm WS Mauviel was a very nice product. I'm very happy with all of it.

                                  TJ

                                  1. re: TraderJoe

                                    Hi, TJ:

                                    No, no bone at all to pick with BKF--it's a good product. But I would not use it on soft metals like tin or copper.

                                    And I'm not saying tin won't bubble. I've just abused the sh#$ out of pans under circumstances where one would think the tin would bubble and run if it would *ever*: sitting empty and for a long time on a maxed out coil, and not had that problem. I did buy a Jacquotot oval roaster one time that came with a few tiny bubbles, though. What I *am* saying is that going to 450 or above isn't an automatic calamity, or even a mishap of sufficient magnitude to eschew tinned copper.

                                    Yes, of course, SS is harder and not smeltable in the kitchen. But the Falk Culinaire bimetal is of relatively recent advent, so I caution against universal conclusions about those pans "never" needing to be replaced. The differences in coefficients of expansion between Cu and most SS do not bode well for such pans' immortality.

                                    And yes, tinned pans will need to be redone--about once a decade if you take care of them and use wooden and silicone implements. Less if you scour them inside with BKF and use metal utensils. These pans can, do and have lasted centuries.

                                    "The average cook will never be able to see any appreciable difference between 2.5mm and 3mm. That difference is more in the feel good department than performance." That's not my experience, and I'm a decidedly average, if learning, cook. If there's no discernible difference, was it also a "feel good" that Julia Child and others have recommended 3mm to the American public?

                                    Aloha,
                                    Kaleo

                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                      What I *am* saying is that going to 450 or above isn't an automatic calamity, or even a mishap of sufficient magnitude to eschew tinned copper.
                                      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                      Nor is it advisable to use tin lined Copper at those temps. If you are using an electric burner this is probably less of an issue than for those who use gas especially with the number of 22K burners we see on home ranges today.
                                      Hey I like thick copper as much as the next person but there's no reason for others to avoid 2-2.5mm copper.
                                      An extra .5mm is going to hold residual heat a titch longer but that's about it.
                                      Tin lining should be well thought out. As long as a buyer knows what they are getting all is well. I won't ever agree that tin is worry free or that it will never need to be re-lined.

                                      As far as the "feel good" moment with Julia you may be closer to the truth than you realize. You know the story about how she "discovered" blackened Red fish at K-Pauls ....right? ;)

                                      TJ

                                      1. re: TraderJoe

                                        Hi, TJ: "...there's no reason for others to avoid 2-2.5mm copper."

                                        Ah, some common ground. Your statement is spot on, and I agree wholeheartedly. IMO, compared with the very best multi-clad, tinned (and bimetal) 2-2.5mm copper is fantastic. I have a 2mm skillet/poelle from which I would not part. Even that gauge range is a quantum leap, and I do not mean to demean it. In fact, I will go you one better--as long as the user understands (and compensates for the fact) that thinner gauge equates to blindingly fast heat transfer, 1.5mm works well, especially if one starts with a decently even hob. In this vein, ever since I traveled "back to the future" to a wood/coal cookstove, *all* my cookware is performing better; on a solidly-even cooktop, I am now re-looking for a salient difference between 2mm and 3mm copper.

                                        This gets abstruse fast, but it has always been my opinion that hotel-grade shines because it is a better *balance* of heat transfer and retention, conductivity and specific heat. I see this most clearly in 3mm and thicker roasting pans, which retain enough heat when preheated so that they almost instantly come back to heat. For example if you tried Tom Keller's basic roast chicken in a 2mm gratin, not only would you imperil the tin, but it would shed most of its heat before you could get it back in the oven, and you would end up thinking cast iron is better. The results in a 3mm or thicker copper pan are better, I think.

                                        Speaking of roasting... Nowhere in the "historical" cookery can I find any angst over copperware in high ovens. It is my evolving belief that, if the pan is sized properly to the joint, bird, or assemblage, the risk to the tin is small even in the vicinity of 500F. Omit the aromatics, and the risk rises, of course. My explanation is that the food and aromatics are sinking the heat that would otherwise toast the tin.

                                        Finally (and this applies to me equally, if not more so), the actual, working knowledge of hotel- vs. "available"-gauge copperware is tissue thin. I do not take Falk's platitudes at face value, nor do I think I have it all figured out. The obvious problem is that precious few cooks, amateur or professional, have much depth of experience with it (it not being production-made any longer), and the celebrity chefs who do own and use the artifacts make judgments that may have less to do with food than money.

                                        I do not know the story of Ms. Child and K-Paul's blackened red fish; I would like to hear it. I do know that, consistent with an old Hawai'ian proverb, not all knowledge is within anyone's house. That is the great thing about Chowhound: collective wisdom.

                                        Aloha,
                                        Kaleo