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Copper vs. Good Stainless Cookware

I'm hoping to get some opinions on whether or not I should be splurging in copper or just getting some good stainless steel pieces. I have been thinking about this for a while and keep going back and forth, so some new points of view would be welcome.

I'm currently living in France, and thus, copper is much cheaper than it is in the US and I'm able to buy it VAT(tax) free, which makes a huge difference. I think it comes to about half or less of what it would cost at WS/SLT. I was thinking of grabbing a large fait tout/cocotte/two handled saute pan and a medium sized splayed sauté pan from E. Dehillerin which carries Mauviel 2.5mm copper/stainless steel stuff.

I have a few pieces of stainless back (saucepans of various sizes) in the US, but I am pretty much starting the kitchen from scratch, so I am quite flexible on what to buy. Although the copper I can get here has great prices compared to the US, I can also get some very good stainless for even cheaper, and am wondering if the copper is worth it. I am also considering Fissler, Demeyere, and Mauviel M'Cook. The Mauviel is mainly because I like the look but it seems to be good quality either way and the other two because they are supposed to be excellent.

When comparing copper to good stainless steel with copper bases, etc., is there really a huge difference in performance? I will be cooking quite a bit and the fait tout/cocotte will probably be my go to to for risotto, making pasta sauces, smaller portions of braising, etc.

I suppose it would also be important to note that I am not a clean freak, so I would not be polishing the copper all the time and a patina is fine by me. Are there any other downsides of copper for me to consider? I will probably be using electric or gas, so the induction non-compatibility is not really an issue at the moment.

Any thoughts on the above would be great - I am also open to new ideas but there seem to be enough already, so if there is something that I really haven't considered that is similar in quality/performance/design, then I would be happy to consider them as well.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. If a trip to the Loire valley and Normandy is in the future, check out the copper bashing village of Villeneuve in Normandy. Wide variety of shops, thickness, and uses. Such as a suitably shaped skate poacher or ham pan.

    1. I cannot respond regarding some of the really exotic stainless like Demeyere Atlantis, but I did use a lot of All-Clad and Calphalon Tri-ply before moving up to copper. In the Saute department, a good copper saute is a substantial improvement over stainless. Assuming you would use the fait tout for sauces and sauteing, I would say the same. If it is intended to be simply a saucepan replacement, you will notice a difference, but it might not seem substantial. Of the common pots and pans, here is my quick list (in order) of which will provide the most significant difference by benefit of being copper:

      1. Saute
      2. Stockpot (although most people purchase this last, because it is seldom used, I find a copper stockpot to be so much better than its stainless counterpart, especially if you are using it for large batch sauces and soups.)
      3. Saucier / Sauteuse Evasee (Fait Tout)
      4. Casserole / Cocotte / Dutch Oven
      5. Saucepan
      6. Roasting pan

      This, of course, is my experience, based on my style of cooking. Your mileage may vary.

      On a final note, I may be in the minority here, but I would recommend that you look around at some older thick (3mm or more) tin-lined copper for the Saute before going in, whole hog, on the SS-lined copper. You might find that you prefer tin. I certainly do.

      Best of luck with it!

      11 Replies
      1. re: jljohn

        What kind of mileage can you get out of tin-lined copper pans? How regularly do they need to be re-lined?

        1. re: monkeyrotica

          I haven't used it long enough to tell you for sure, but I'd expect years and years if properly cared for. One member here has over 30 years on the lining of his well-used saute.

          About two years ago, I purchased a well-used evasee (I could see several very small areas of copper showing though the original tin lining--on the rivets where they were scrubbed too hard). It was between 20 and 30 years old, as near as I can figure, and in two years of about twice-daily use, the area of exposed copper has not increased at all.

          In short, all the online hubbub about tin and its fragility is overblown. Avoid metal utensils, don't scour it, and don't let it sit empty on a burner, and you'll be fine. Frankly, those three rules--or at least the latter two--should apply to all cookware anyway.

          1. re: jljohn

            That's what I imagined. Seems like the most worn-out tin-lined pans were either used without care or constantly in a restaurant.

        2. re: jljohn

          Making stock on a regular basis, a stock pot was one of the first pieces I got, that and a 4qt windsor pan, which I would add to your list with an au gratin pan.

          1. re: Master

            Hi Master,

            Re: the Windsor--I agree. It's there though. That goofey pan (which I love) has more names than I care to deal with. It regularly goes by Windsor, Fait Tout, Sauteuse Evasee, Evasee, Splayed Saute Pan, and probably several others!

            A copper au gratin would be awesome! I'd probably list it alongside the roasting pan, but I could easily see how another would place it higher!

            1. re: jljohn

              I have 2 & 4qt sauciers and windsor pans in 4qt for reducing stock & a 1qt that works well for reducing pan sauces, funny thing about the au gratin, it was the last piece I added to the set. Of the 16 piece in my set, the braising pan/low casserole is the only one I could probably get by without, then again it's seen as much use as anything else.

              1. re: Master

                It's funny how you can grow to love and use something so much when you might have thought it superfluous at one point. I saw below that you have a bunch of Falk copper. Is you gratin a Falk as well? I think that their large gratin is one of the prettiest pans around.

                1. re: jljohn

                  Yes, the au gratin is Falk (it all is) but the smallest size, cooking mostly for the wife and myself a larger pan doesn't make sense, sadly they no longer offer their Chefs (windsor) pan.

            2. re: Master

              Is a 4qt windsor pan pretty standard? Mauviel has 4 sizes of windows (sauteuse évasée) and it seems to range from 0.9L to 2.9L which is about 3qt.

              1. re: roycey

                I've seen a tremendous variety of sizes, but the 8" (1.8 qt?) and the 9.5" (3qt) seem to be the most common, at least on the second-hand market. I had both for a while and sold the 2 qt, because I always used the 3 qt.

                1. re: roycey

                  Falk use to offer a "Chefs" pan in four sizes from 1 - 4qt.

            3. My grandfather always used to say, "Don't buy a better brush than you are a painter." I remember friends getting all excited about phonographic equipment and I could't really tell the difference. That's when his words started to make sence to me. From a metalurgy stand point, copper is about as good as it gets, but for me, (and I've never cooked with copper) I'm not sure I'm a good enough cook to be able to tell the difference. Maybe someday I'll splurge and buy a copper pan and perhaps I'll be shocked at the difference. So I guess this is the long winded way of saying, if you think you are skilled enough to notice the differences, then copper would be worth the extra money, otherwise take advantage of the low prices and buy the M'Cook.

              From the point of an engineer, it would be interesting to have two identical pans from the same manufacturer but from different materials and have a side by side comparison. Say a sauté in the M'Cook 260C line vs the same size and thickness in Mauviel's copper. Then using the same cooking equipment conduct experiments with IR cameras to evaluate heat-up times, evenness, etc. And then some real world cooking. I've never seen this type of comparison although it may exist.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mikie

                I understand the analogy, but I'm not entirely sure it applies here. You don't have to be a very good cook to appreciate the material differences in copper. For example, even if your capacities are minimal, you will still notice that an 11" copper saute pan is browning your mushrooms out at the edges of the pan while your old SS 11" saute requires you to rotate your food regularly. Similarly, you'll notice, almost immediately, that you do not need to stir your stew constantly in an copper casserole like you had to in your Le Creuset for fear of scorching. It won't make you a better cook, but I'd bet that you'd notice a difference.

                1. re: jljohn

                  Thanks, I think, . . . now I want to try a copper sauté. Problem is I just bought a good SS sauté.

              2. Hi, roycey:

                "When comparing copper to good stainless steel with copper bases, etc., is there really a huge difference in performance?" There is a sizeable difference, which will be more noticeable with any preps that benefit from responsiveness.

                "Are there any other downsides of copper for me to consider?" Well, handwash only. If your copper is tinned, you need to avoid scouring, heating the pan empty and using metal utensils.

                "I... am wondering if the copper is worth it." Totally a value judgment. I have a lot of copper, after trying many other materials. Had I *started* with copper and just purchased *once*, I would have saved a ton of $$$.

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

                37 Replies
                1. re: kaleokahu

                  Agree, The only downside is that copper is not dishwasher safe, I have both, and sometimes grab the All Clad for non-critical tasks just for easier clean up.

                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Thanks, Kaleo!

                    I have seen your posts around and you always have very helpful answers. It seems like the only downside to copper is that it has to be hand washed then. Not a deal breaker for me. And the last point you made really speaks to me - I am trying to assemble a cookware set that will last forever, and that I won't have to replace, so I don't mind spending more now to not have to change later.

                    I know that you favour tin-lined copper and it is attractive for me since it is cheaper as well. However, I am a bit rough with my stuff and I have a feeling that I would mistreat it at some point (and on top of it, have no idea where one would get re-tinning done in the US/Canada).

                    Do you have any opinions on the different mainstream brands of copper? I have easy access to Mauviel, Falk and De Buyer and have also heard that Matfer Bourgeat is good. Do you think I will find any major differences as they are all 2.5mm copper/SS?

                    I know that we are on the subject of copper and that you seem to know a lot about it - I was wondering if you also had any opinions on Japanese knives. I'm going to grab a few since I don't have any for my set right now and am looking for something with a good price/quality ratio, not carbon as I have tried in the past and am really bad at maintaining them...

                    Thanks again!

                    1. re: roycey

                      Hi, roycey:

                      You're quite welcome.

                      Tin-lined vs. bimetal... There are tradeoffs that run both ways.

                      (A) Thickness. For me, the *most* important important deciding factor is the copper foil thickness. IMO, 2mm is the minimum, 3mm is better, and the best (as Julia Child reminds us) is a full 1/8" (3.2mm) or greater.

                      All of the commercially available bimetal pans have a copper thickness of around 2.3mm. There are a few vintage (1960s-1970s) bimetal pans that will go a full 3mm but they are exceedingly rare, and you would scrounge a very long time before you found one.

                      Now, the new 2.5mm (2.3mm copper+.2mm SS) pans are very good performers, don't get me wrong. It gets a little subjective, but I think they're 80-90% as good as the thickest tinned pans.

                      FWIW, I don't buy the argument that the .1-.2mm of SS is a big drag on the performance, conductivity-wise.

                      (B) Longevity. Obviously, a SS lining should last longer than tin, and will hold up to scouring and metal tools. But these linings do occasionally fail through major salt pitting and delamination, and if/when they do, the pan must be junked. A tinned pan is just retinned. If you MUST have scouring or metal tools, that turns the wheel shrply to bimetal.

                      I have yet to wear through a tinned lining. I *have* had one scratched by an unthinking guest who cut through a gratin with a knife, and I have boiled a few dry (none with catastrophic endings). My perspective is that if you abstain from DWing, scouring and metal utensils, a home cook should get at least 7-10 years from a tin lining. Our friend timirvine has a well-used saute that has gone at least 30 years on its original lining. I agree with others that too much has been made about the delicacy and lack of longevity of tin--usually by folks who have never cooked in tinned copper and are just repeating what they've heard. I'm not generally gentle with my things, either.

                      You do have to be a little more careful with heating. You don't want to preheat a pan to full heat without a substantial amount of food in it, and you want to use the correct size pan (e.g., a single serving of sole muniere in a huge saute may invite some bubbling in the tin). These are small adjustments (like putting your fat into a cold pan to start), and nowadays we have cheap IR thermometer guns to let us know how fast an empty pan heats. Also, roasting >437F isn't really a problem if you've got liquid in the pan or have sized the pan to the food properly.

                      Finally, the better tin-lined pans are planished or hammered. While beautiful, this is not merely cosmetic. Planishing work-hardens the lathe-turned copper, which makes the pan less susceptible to deformation. OTOH, the SS lining also stiffens these stamped pans to some degree.

                      Retinning. Actually there is ample capacity here in USA for this, and more than ample in Europe. Some tinners are better than others, some more expensive. I recommend and have used (for retinning recent acquisions that arrived in need) Rocky Mountain Retinning in Denver and LJ Gonzales in New Orleans; both do great work. Considering how long a lining ought to last and the cooking advantages of thick copper, IMO the cost of retinning is quite reasonable, especially since the job includes meticulous cleaning and polishing.

                      Mainstream Brands. My preferences are somewhat idiosyncratic and are quite minor--they should all perform well. I have never owned a deBuyer, but I understand all their pans are 2mm.

                      I quibble with Falk's handles and rivets--they're undersized. But Falk has a wide selection of shapes, and has cornered the market on the so-called "sauciers" or sauteuses bombee. Their customer service has been terrible, but supposedly that is changing with a change in their US distributor.

                      Likewise I find Mauviel's handles "turny" and the rivets small. But their planishing is good.

                      I have nothing bad to say about Bourgeat. Their handles are my favorite.

                      Some folks here prefer the SS in one line over another in terms of its stickiness and ease of cleaning, but I can't tell much difference.

                      Japanese Knives. You're asking the wrong guy, sorry. I'm a Euro guy all the way, and do not subscribe to the thinner-and-harder is always better philosophy that seems to unite the Nipponophiles here. There are innumerable threads here on the specific subject you raise, though.

                      Have Fun,
                      Aloha,
                      Kaleo

                      PS: I need to add another disadvantage of copper over clad--the handles tend to get hot. I take this as evidence of how well the copper pans conduct heat, but you will make good friends with your potholder or side towel.

                      1. re: kaleokahu

                        Hi Kaleo,

                        I do, so enjoy reading your well informed posts. I learn something every time I read one of your gospels. Thanks,

                        1. re: mikie

                          Hey, thanks. I learn a lot from you, too!

                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            Kaleo, do you (or anyone else) know what the thickness of most pieces of Mauviel M'Tradition are? The website says "2-3.5mm" which is a pretty big range...

                            1. re: roycey

                              roycey,

                              I would only buy a new Mauviel pan after inspecting in hand. One of the problems that I have seen and encountered is that a specifically stated 2.5mm pan can vary (downward) quite a bit. I have no earthly idea how that can happen in production, but I have seen and held new Mauviel pans that are substantially lighter and thinner than their spec.

                              1. re: jljohn

                                I was just at E. Dehillerin and I could handle the stock but how would I really know which ones are more towards the 3.5mm? I didn't buy yet because I couldn't decide on the size.

                                When they say 2-3.5mm, do they mean that each individual piece or that each type of pot/pan has it's designated thickness?

                                1. re: roycey

                                  I think that the idea is that within that line, pans vary between 2 and 3.5mm. For example, it may be that within that line, the au gratins are all supposed to be 2mm, and the saute pans are supposed to be 2.5mm, and the Rondeau are supposed to be 3mm. I do see that they say 3.5mm, but I don't know what they make that is that thick.

                                  If I were walking into a store to buy new copper I would have a digital micrometer with me ($10--15 at Amazon) and a small scale. Yes, I would that guy! I fly by the seat of my pants when buying via ebay or craigslist, and I've won a few gambles and lost a few, but before buying new I would inspect with a very critical eye. An easier way is to look up the thickness of commonly minted coins and compare those to the pan's rim.

                                  I'm curious, when you were at E. Dehillerin, do they still carry new lollipop lids (perfectly flat disc lids with a long iron handle)

                                  Regarding size--and I'm assuming we're taking saute pans here--I think copper shows its best in the larger sizes. If you are comparing a 9.5" to an 11", I'd pick the 11". From my perspective, copper presents the most advantage when you are using a pan that is larger than your burner or of a significant height. When I need to fry or saute something small or just for me, I use a small cast iron skillet. My burners are of a sufficient size to heat an 8" cast iron skillet with little concern for a drastic temperature drop near the edges. The 9.5" is probably enough space if you cook only for one or two, but if you regularly cook for 2 or more, you'll find the 11" to be more useful IMO.

                                  1. re: jljohn

                                    Great idea with the coin. I have a one pound coin from the UK that is 3.15mm so that will give me a good idea how thick they are. I imagine they would know how thick each pot/pan is supposed to be though? I'll ask as well; I just didn't have time today.

                                    I didn't see any of the lollipop lids but I'll surely be back in a few days so I can report back to you then.

                                    1. re: roycey

                                      Thanks!

                                      1. re: jljohn

                                        I just thought of another random question - Why does it matter how big the rivets are on the pot? Wouldn't smaller rivets be better or would are we assuming the bigger ones would be stronger?

                                        1. re: roycey

                                          I don't know if it matters at all. I've never heard of one failing. I like the look of big rivets, and I suppose I like the perceived security, but Falk uses tiny rivets, and I've never heard of one failing.

                                          1. re: jljohn

                                            The only riveted handle I ever had work loose was on a Waldow skillet from the very last of Waldow days of production. Peter at RMR fixed it and now I have a Waldow with those fancy rivets Peter uses.

                                        2. re: jljohn

                                          Hey jljohn,

                                          I was at Dehillerin today and forgot to ask about this but did a pretty thorough look around of the store since I was with a friend who had never been. I did not see any lollipop lids unfortunately, sorry!

                                    2. re: roycey

                                      I recently bought both tin and stainless lined splayed sauté pans from Dehillerin, and all are 2mm.
                                      To answer your original question, I also have a large Fissler sauté and it is very noticeably less responsive than copper. I consequently rarely use it.

                                      1. re: BrianGilligan

                                        Thanks for that comparison BrianGilligan.

                                        Was the stuff you bought from Dehillerin supposed to be 2mm or were you aiming for higher and it wasn't as thick as it was supposed to be? I know they offer some thinner stuff but the main pieces they sell, especially for stainless is 2.5mm and the tinned stuff is supposed to be 2-3.5mm.

                                        1. re: roycey

                                          I sort of expected it to be 2.5mm (based on what I'm not sure...). Their stainless lined saucepans are 2.5mm but I'm not sure about the tin. I think the actual thickness varies by pan type within each range.
                                          The 2mm splayed sauté pans heat slightly less evenly than our 2.5mm saucepans. That said, I use the splayed pans more often due to their shape.
                                          I bought a stainless lined splayed pan first, and later bought additional sizes with tin lining due to the significantly cheaper prices. I use the smallest tin lined one quite a bit, and think it was a real bargain at under €60.

                                    3. re: jljohn

                                      After looking at Mauviel for a number of years debating whether or not to switch over to copper, I came across Falk and learned it to be the first choice among many professional chefs for there home cookware. I also prefer the brushed finish as it looks better as it darkens than highly polished copper cookware does, at least in my opinion.

                                    4. re: roycey

                                      Hi, roycey:

                                      The M'Tradition line's thickness varies by use. Steamers will be thin, sautes thicker. The published range of 2-3.5 is useless, IMO. There may be a difference with what Mauviel is offered in USA versus France, but the only piece I'm aware of that runs 3.5mm is the large rondeau.

                                      Aloha,
                                      Kaleo

                                2. re: kaleokahu

                                  Totally agree, mikie.

                                  Very good advice, Kaleo, thanks. I think you've convinced me to go the tinned way. It is much cheaper so I can get an extra piece as well this way :)

                                  This is a random question and you may not know the answer, but do you know why some Mauviel pieces have cast iron handles and others have brass (or another metal?). It seems like anything with two handles is in a material other than cast. Pity because I really do like the look.

                                  Thanks again!

                                  1. re: roycey

                                    Mauviel seems to have different "lines" with different thickness copper and handles that are either stainless, brass, or cast iron. Some thicknesses seem to be available with multiple handle materials. I can't quite figure out the brass, as it's a reasonable conductor, so those handles will heat up more quickly. I'm not sure what their reasoning is for offering different handle materials, perhaps it's just marketing.

                                    1. re: roycey

                                      Kaleo knows more about copper than anyone I know. I own copper/stainless from Bourgeat and copper/tin from both Rocky Mountain and Brooklyn Copper. I use them interchangeably, not preferring one to another. I agree that Fear Of Retinning is vastly overblown. One wildcard that I haven't tried: Falk has a new Signature line of 2.3 copper/stainless with *stainless steel* handles, which should stay cooler in stovetop cooking. Bottom line: I don't think you will regret buying copper cookware of at least 2.3mm thick. www.falkculinair.com

                                      1. re: roycey

                                        Hi, roycey:

                                        Re: the handle materials... Mauviel changes what they do with handles on their lower-level lines every so often, but here's the basics.

                                        The traditional handles were cast iron (and before that wrought iron). Iron is a relatively crappy conductor, and cooks liked that it took tongue handles a long time to get untouchably hot. Loop handles on ovens and other pans that go into the oven regularly don't matter so much--there, a minute or so longer, and a CI loop is just as hot.

                                        The upshot of this is that when you see a brass tongue handle, it is a pretty good sign that the pan is thin, or "table service"; it's called that because it was intended to serve from, not cook in. There are some exceptions to this, e.g., Mazzetti. OTOH, brass loop handles signify next to nothing, although you can sort wheat from chaff by looking at the handle *design* and fitment itself. For example, if you see a brass loop that is joined to the pan with just one rivet on each side (i.e., no web and third rivet), I would pass on by. My prized Gaillard rondeau has brass handles, as do several of my >3mm ovens, but they all have 3 rivets/loop and husky flanges where the handle mates with the pot.

                                        Enter SS, an even crappier heat conductor. It is functionally the best insulator-type handle material, and is easy to cast, smooth and polish. I believe Mauviel used to offer SS on their thickest bimetal pans (ellabee has one, I think), but now seeing SS on a new Mauviel is pretty much a telegraph that the pan is table service grade. The retailers who pass off the M1.5 line as great for cooking are doing their customers a deceptive disservice, IMO.

                                        Re: looks... Many people (including myself) dislike the aesthetic of SS handles on copper. And a lot of folks prefer *all* of their pieces to have CI handles. If this preference is a rule, you can wait a long time before you find vintage "oven" pieces handled in CI. Falk gets this, as did Brooklyn, but the former is all-bimetal, and the latter is currently OOB. If only Mazzetti would do CI handles!

                                        Rivets... With no abuse or accidents, the minuscule rivets like those used by Falk are probably strong enough on a BIMETAL pan--the SS lining itself ups the strength. But if they should loosen (and beware the hard SS rivets galling with the iron handles), retightening by merely peening is going to be difficult. I prefer large copper rivets because: (a) it's the same material as the pan and therefore swages better; (b) there's a *lot* more bearing surface inside and outside the pan; (c) it's easy to retighten them; and (d) it's the traditional way.

                                        If you can penetrate the encroyable snobbery and anti-Americanism at Dehillerin, tell them you want to see only "extra fort" or "hotel grade" pieces.

                                        Aloha,
                                        Kaleo

                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                          Thanks for that very thorough and informative response!

                                          Indeed, I am also one of those who prefers the look of cast iron handles. I believe the ones they use on some pieces of m'tradition are brass and one of the older pieces they had on display had a handle that was quite old and looked almost dark enough to be CI on first glance.

                                          As far as I can tell, Dehillerin has only the M'Tradition and M'Heritage lines. Have you heard of other "extra fort"/hotel grade stuff or are you suggesting I ask to see if they have any? The first time I went one of the clerks was quite nice and helpful. Today it was a bit busier so less attention but I haven't felt them to be too snobby. I am not American though and speak French natively so that might be why :)

                                          1. re: roycey

                                            Hi, roycey:

                                            Again, you're welcome.

                                            Yes, you can force a dark patina onto brass, and it can be dark enough to fool eBay buyers.

                                            As for Mauviel's lines, yes, those may be all Dehillerin carries. But their basement is full of old stuff. If you have rapport and the language, roll your eyes and tell them you want to see the thickest tinned pans they carry.

                                            If you want a laugh, read David Liebowicz's piece on buying a salmon steaking knife there. First visit: snobbery, and they wouldn't sell it to him. Second visit: insult the clerk in good French and convey you know *exactly* what you want.

                                            It also might not hurt to ask where you might find the best used copper, perhaps a restaurant liquidation house? If you find a heavy jamboniere, let me know!

                                            Aloha,
                                            Kaleo

                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                              Kaleo (and others),

                                              Have you seen/used any of the Bottega del Rame stuff? I came across it online and saw that you also mentioned it some posts but without details. The prices are quite comparable (and sometimes cheaper) than Dehillerin even with shipping from Italy and they are quite nice and handmade. The thicknesses are indicated which is a plus, though I suppose it is hard to compare directly with M'Tradition since the thicknesses are not specified for each piece.

                                              It seems like the standard thickness is 2.5mm with some being 2.0 and some being 3.0. The stuff seems quite nice and I like that the pans have two handles instead of just one. Any thoughts or experience with these?

                                              1. re: roycey

                                                Hi, roycey:

                                                Bottega del Rame and Rameria Mazzetti are one and the same, and excellent stuff. My very first copper pan was purchased from the hands of Isolda Mazzetti, and I have visited Cesare's shop to watch him hand making the wares. His shop should be a UN World Heritage site!

                                                They sell pans in 2, 2.5 and 3mm, and the cruets and such are 1 to 1.5mm. And they offer silver linings, although they job that out to a jeweler, also in Montepulciano. Their shapes are true to their Italian roots, and the craftsmanship is superb. My only minor fault with their wares is their exclusive use of brass tongue handles.

                                                Among other things, I covet their 44cm stew pan, although I'm sure I wouldn't use it much.

                                                Aloha,
                                                Kaleo

                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                  Quick answer - thank you :)

                                                  Aside from the brass handles, would you say that there are any particular advantages/disadvantages compared to Mauviel? Would you say the quality is as good or better?

                                                  1. re: roycey

                                                    Hi, roycey:

                                                    I think the Mazzettis are at least the equal of Mauviel in terms of quality. They are typically planished on the *bottoms* as well as the sides so would be a little more dent- and bend-resistant. The only other modern line that did this was BIA. Oh, and I think the Mazzetis' tinning is thicker.

                                                    Disadvantages... Other than the brass tongue handles, I can find no real functional differences when apples are compared. The difference in styles is, IMO, strictly a matter of taste. Many people must have only the French straight lines/proportions and iron handles, others like a little Tuscan curve here and there. You can't go wrong with either. One is a very small business, the other is enormous.

                                                    Aloha,
                                                    Kaleo

                                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                                      Thanks! So many little decisions... I just need to buy already! Sad thing is that whichever beauties I buy will just sit in storage until summer when I move to the US. I'm just buying them now since I have extra room in my suitcase.

                                                      Btw, in case you are ever wondering (maybe you're not), I finally figured out the individual thickness of each Mauviel M'Tradition piece. I suppose buycoppercookware.com is the only place that lists the thicknesses in their descriptions! 2.5mm for saute pans/saucepans, 3mm for rondeaus, 2mm for sauteuse évasée. I am assuming the 3.5mm goes for the stock pots or other pieces where the thicknesses are not posted. In your experience, would these thicknesses be with or within the tin? I imagine that it is sans tin but figured I'd ask.

                                                      1. re: roycey

                                                        Hi Roycey,

                                                        You might think that the stockpots would be thicker, but they are not. They tend to float between 2 and 2.5mm. My Mauviel stocker is 2.4ish.

                                                        All my spun (i.e. not hammered) tin-lined cookware measures out a little thicker than the spec. For example, by evasees, which, I assume, were sold as 2.5mm thick both measure at 2.65. My 3.2mm (1/8") saute measures at almost 3.5mm. So, my experience is that the listed thickness is copper, and the tin adds a bit. When you get to hammered stuff, you pretty much lose the ability to speak precisely. You will get a bit of a range when measuring around the pan.

                                                        In the end, I think that there is a fair amount of variability pan to pan though, which is why I would assess a given pan with a view to buying that particular sample.

                                                        1. re: jljohn

                                                          Thanks for that insight.

                                                          Which 3.2mm saute do you have, out of curiosity?

                                                          1. re: roycey

                                                            It's an 11" marked "E. Dehillerin." I bought it second hand from a fellow who got it while a student in France in the late 70's. His, original, coat of tin lasted 30 years, and I had it re-tinned when I bought it. So, it's good to go for another 30. I wish it we hammered, but, as it is, it's nice and thick and does a beautiful job. So, I can't complain!

                                                            1. re: jljohn

                                                              Hi, Jeremy:

                                                              I think we have the same pan. Our friend Alarash sold me mine, and it's a workhorse.

                                                              Aloha,
                                                              Kaleo

                                              2. re: kaleokahu

                                                I went back to Dehillerin to finally buy today. It was quite busy so it was a bit hard to really create any rapport with the clerk - I had the best interaction the first time, guess I should have bought then :P

                                                I ended up going with a 24cm saute pan with tin lining as a starter piece to see if I like copper and the weight - only 100 euros... what a steal. I asked him if he had anything thicker or in hammered copper and he said no. Don't know if he was just being coy or if that was the truth for this particular size/type of pan. Anyways, I am happy with it - tested the pan out earlier and it is great :) Thanks for all the advice!

                                                1. re: roycey

                                                  Hi, roycey:

                                                  Great, I'm happy for you. You'll always remember the experience of buying it, the bargain you got, and it will increase your cooking satisfaction.

                                                  I occasionally see eBay copper listings that go something like: "I purchased this pan in Paris from Dehillerin in the early 1970s when I had little money, and I hate to see it go..." It's easy to imagine the lifetime (and with vintage pans, several lifetimes) of great cooking done in those pans, and *that* enhances *my* enjoyment. But in both new and vintage, there's the idea that as cooks we must at least try to live up to such a pan.

                                                  Aloha,
                                                  Kaleo

                                  2. I have heavy copper pans that have been in regular use since the mid 1970s and do not need retinning. I have one All Clad pan, an evasee. Heavy copper is quite noticeably more responsive and even. I agree with others that buying heavy copper will never lead to buyer's remorse if you are okay with hand washing.

                                    1. Yes there really is a difference, I bought copper cookware in 2005, replacing all the clad stainless in my kitchen with "Falk Culinair" from Belgium. First thing I notice was the cookware heat much faster and more evenly than any stainless or copper bottom pans I had used, need to use lower heat with copper than with stainless and food really seems to cook faster, then there was the gas bill, switching to copper reduced the amout of gas used for cooking (that's all I use gas for) by two thirds.

                                      After eight years cooking with 2.5mm copper cookware, I wouldn't even consider using anything else.

                                      Some will say copper must be constantly polished, I cleaned the copper with barkeepers friend after every use for about a month, I cook two or three meals a day and that got old really fast. In my experience, polishing it so it looks all shiny and new after every use is matter of vanity not necessity, when in fact it has been the experience of others I know and my own that as the copper takes on a darker color, it heats faster and more uniformly, I wouldn't want it turning green though.

                                      1. I had originally thought of going with SS-lined copper but am now leaning towards tin-lined. Are there any foods that I should be cooking less or ones that I should watch out for in the tin-lining? I saw a few posts about tomatoes/tomato sauce specifically - I imagine I should avoid simmering tomato sauce for long periods in the tin? Are there other foods as well or is that pretty much it?

                                        Also, what materials/items are best for cleaning? It seems that any scratch pads should be avoided. For example, would a brush made out of coconut be ok for scrubbing? Or a scrubber that is made out of plastic (or maybe nylon) bristles?

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: roycey

                                          Use the pans as you would any other cookware. As long as there is no copper showing you are safe. Other than not using metal utensils and not using excessive heat no pan damage.
                                          As for cleaning, I use Wrights Copper Cleaner on the exterior, and don't keep my pots shiny. As for the interior, I just use water and DW liquid. The interior will turn dull gray with use. This is normal.

                                          Enjoy. Copper is a pleasure to use.

                                          1. re: roycey

                                            Hi, roycey:

                                            If you cooked tomato sauce all day, most days it might bust your tinning budget. Otherwise, no worries. Only if you have a larger area (like 4 square cm) of exposed copper would I worry about anything. That being said, I would not *store* highly acidic foods in tinned copper.

                                            Re: cleaning. There are literally hundreds of products for the exteriors. If you don't like bright or mirror polish, Bar Keeper's friend will quickly "Falkinize" your pans. If you want a mirror finish, I like a product called Flitz. But I only polish 2x/year. The better the polish the longer the finish lasts, but use degrades it pretty quickly regardless of what you do.

                                            As for the interiors, dish soap and a non-metal brush is all I use. Sometimes plastic, sometimes coir. If something sticks really badly, I simmer some soapy water in the pan.

                                            Aloha,
                                            Kaleo

                                            1. re: roycey

                                              I would say to use it as you would any other cookware, in terms of what you would cook in it. My large stock pot is used as much for large batches of marinara as it is for stock and soup, and I've noticed noting unusual--no flavor impartation, no excessive wear on the tin, nothing. Just avoid the metal utensils and cook away.

                                              You've had good cleaning advice already, but, in case it isn't obvious, let your tin darken. I met a gentleman the other day who scrubbed the tin until it shined every time he used it. Let it turn splotchy and eventually dark grey. Just worry about removing debris, not color.

                                              1. re: roycey

                                                Hey Roycey, I would advice you to look into the cost of re-tinning and if it can be done locally before deciding it's the better way to go. I have one tinned copper pan, 4" across and 1 1/2" tall, having it re-tinned required shipping it out of state because California no longer allows tin work, and many other states have the same restrictions. Cost, shipping $15.00 there, $15.00 back and $35.00 for the tin work, so in total, $65.00 to have this small, light weight pan re-tinned, the pan cost $50.00 second hand.