Considered the finest of all, and definitely the most expensive cookware, the beautiful to look at, and the favored choice of many top chefs, the all copper cookware.
Things to Know About Copper Cookware
Copper, long known for its superior conductivity properties, be it heat or electricity, makes it an unsurpassed metal to use in cookware.
Copper cookware, especially when lined on the inside with tin, is revered because of its ability to conduct heat quickly and with uniform accuracy across the entire surface. The food is penetrated by the head evenly from all sides, making it possible to cook over lower flames, saving energy.
Recently some manufacturers, the most notable of which is the Mauviel M’heritage line, have introduced stainless steel linings, which many consider as being even better performing (and nicer looking) than the traditional tin linings, and well worth the higher price.
Food cooking in the pan does not stick to the tin (or stainless steel) lining as readily as with other metals, and there are no “hot spots” on the bottom where the food will burn. They heat up quickly, and cool down just as fast when removed from the heat. These combined features gives the cook much greater control, and makes it easy to prepare meals in a perfect and gentle manner.
It is this feeling of maximum control that is the main reason copper cookwares are the tools of choice for a great many professional and serious chefs who consider them to be, by far, the best pots and pans for cooking and roasting.
There are different types of copper cookware
CAUTION: copper cookware sold in the open marketplace under that name may not always be constructed of pure copper. You want your copper cookware to be made with at least 90 % pure copper. Make sure what you buy is not really just an aluminum stainless steel set with a micro-thin copper coating.
The copperware “knockoffs” may look nice (when brand new) but they are only good for initial aesthetic purposes. The filmy copper surface will soon mar and tarnish, and will eventually wear off.
Worse still, they do not perform like real copper cookware, because they will not have the original product’s qualities of authenticity and uniform heat conductivity. Buyers need to do their homework before purchasing.
But the good news?
As usual, we here at Ethnic Foods R Us have done the research for you!
We have compared and reviewed a vast array of manufacturers, and will be recommending and offering (below) what we consider to bet the two best suppliers of high end, top quality copper cookware.
Get ready to write a sizable check, but if you’re going to take the plunge and invest in the very best, you want to make sure your investment is with the very best quality products available.
Before getting to buyer’s decision time, let’s review some more information about copper cookware, as well as list the (many) pros and (very few) cons regarding them.
Relevant Information Regarding Copper Cookware
Traditional stainless steel cookware and copper cookware are different in many ways. Stainless steel factory made pots, for example, have uniformly flat bottoms, whereas copper pots do not—they are typically slightly rounded, making them more prone to deforming. This is especially true of the relatively thin-walled Baumalu copper pots.
This is not to be considered a fault of manufacturing, but rather a natural characteristic of copper—an especially soft and malleable metal. The curved part of the cold pot should point inward, making the pot to sit on the burner evenly.
If, over time, the curved part starts to point outward, it is easily rectified with a few smacks of the fist or a rubber mallet, hammering it back into proper seating alignment. This hammering actually strengthens the material and also ensures the continuous stability of your copper pot.
With the one exception of induction cookers, copper pots and copper pans may be used on any type of kitchen stovetop. However, you should take note of which kind of cooker you have in your kitchen.
If you have an electric stovetop surfaced with ceramic glass, you will want to use only thick-walled pots and pans. The thick walls make them less likely to deform when exposed to high heat, thus ensuring good, uniform contact between pot and cooktop.
On the other hand, if you have a gas burner stovetop, you would want to use the thin-walled copper pots, because the heat produced by a gas flame is disbursed evenly—even if the material may be slightly deformed.
Now, if you are using an induction cooker, which is usually prohibitive with copper cookware, fear not. The “Prima Matera” collection, developed by de Buyer, will to be suitable for you. They have unique, brilliantly conceived, ferromagnetic bottoms.
For induction cooking, the “Prima Matera” brand is your best, and only, choice.
The Many Colors of Copper
Have you ever noticed, when driving by buildings with copper roofs, how a brand new building will have a shiny, glistening copper roof, while older buildings sport roofs that are starting to turn greenish, and the very old buildings will have roofs that are a deep, rustic verdant hue?
This is because of the softness and porosity of copper metal. It is easily affected by the elements.So naturally, then, heating copper will change its color over time, morphing it from the shiny brand new copper sheen into a vast array of possible different nuances.
This is called developing a patina, and depending on the use and care of the pot or pan, each will develop its own unique patina. This is in no way something that will have an adverse effect on foods prepared in well-aged copper pots and pans. It is, in fact, to the proud owner and culinary aficionado, something that is appreciated and taken pride in.
Proper Maintenance of Copper Cookware
Because of the softness of copper metal, it is very scratch-sensitive. Some manufacturers, Baumalu included, prior to sale, will polish the copper cookware to a bright, mirror finish.
But be not dismayed when that brilliant, see-yourself-in-the-reflection mirror-like finish begins to fade. It is inevitable, and, as explained above, it is even invited and to be appreciated as your cookware takes on its unique patina.
Unlike most other cookwares, which are factory made and assembly-line manufactured, copper pots and pans are crafted by hand. Therefore it is possible—even likely—that you will find slight “imperfections” from one pot or pan to another. But these tiny differences from item to item are really just highlighting the natural outcome of high-quality craftsmanship. They certainly do not have any untoward effect on the roasting and cooking properties of copper cookware.
It is recommended to store the copper pots and pans in a dry place when not in use (remember the green rooftops!). It is also advised that you clean the copper cookware with a special polish paste, and there are several good products on the market for this purpose.
You can, also, do your cleanup in the traditional way. You soak a soft sponge in a mixture of fine-grained salt and lemon juice, and then gently, almost like a massage, wipe the copper clean with it.
Never use abrasive sponges or other abrasives on copper cookware, and especially never with tin-plated copper pots. You mar the copper and will inevitably damage lining as well. In every case, if not using a special copper polish cleaner, it is always best to use a soft cloth when cleaning your copper cookware.
With regard to utensils, do not use metal spatulas, cooking spoons, etc. Again, because of the soft nature of copper, you will scratch the surfaces and can even create damaging, deep gouges. Metal utensils will also cause damage to the bottom linings. Use wooden or plastic-silicone product utensils for the best, long lasting results with copper cookware.
Let’s now summarize with a list of pros and cons:
- Copper cookware is the absolute, very best when it comes to fast, even, and accurate distribution of heat throughout the entire surfaces of the pot or pan.
- Cools as quickly as it heats.
- Develops a unique patina that is a chef’s pride and signature.
- Gives the cook maximum control when cooking, allowing for gentle, perfect preparation of foods.
- Properly maintained, will last for many generations, becoming a treasured family heirloom.
- Is able to be hammered and reshaped as needed, the practice of which actually strengthens it.
- May be used on all types of stoves, the one exception being induction cookers, but even then there is a special brand (“Prima Matera”) designed for use with them.
- The “looks” factor. Copper cookware is extremely appealing in appearance, so much so that a pot filled with just prepared food can be set right on the dinner table and look formal and good.
- The “wow” factor. Let’s face it, owning a set of copper cookware, and having it displayed proudly in your kitchen, gives you instant credibility as someone who is serious and knows your stuff when it comes to fine culinary arts.
- The price. Copper cookware is the most expensive cookware on the planet.
- Cleanup is a chore. It takes time and tender loving care to properly clean them.
- Maintenance is required. Copper pots and pans will deform with continued use, and you will have to hammer them back into proper alignment.
Let’s get to the products.
You can literally pay a small fortune for a full set of premium copper cookware. Here at Ethnic Foods R Us, we tend to cater to the middle class, so the choices presented here will be for people who live with a little something called a “budget“.
And, after reading many reviews and consumer reports, we’ve found that the extreme-most highly priced copper cookwares really do not perform any better than the just very highly priced ones – at least not enough to warrant the absorbent price difference.
That being said, there are even pricier lines available, and if you want to explore those options, we will provide links to a couple here, but we are not putting them into the full display page with specifications. For those who want to take a look, go to:
Bourgeat 13 Piece Copper Cookware Set
Ruffoni Historia Decor 8-Piece 3307B Copper Cookware Set
Both of these lines are in the $2,000 and plus category, but there are those who claim they are well worth the price.
Okay, now for our favorite, top of the line choice …
Copper Cookware by Mauviel M’heritage
Mauviel brings to the market several different lines of copper cookware, designed for professional chefs as well as serious home cook enthusiasts. Of all their collections, M’heritage is the most famous. Even a novice to average cook will experience being able to immediately prepare food at a higher level, and a professional chef who was very good already will turn into an exceptional chef.
Cookware of this M’heritage line is made of bi-laminated copper and stainless steel: proportionately at 90% pure copper and 10% 18/10 stainless steel.
As you can see, next to silver, copper, which comprises 90% of this fine line, is best metal for thermal conductivity.
Let’s take a look first at their full, 10 piece set.
Mauviel M’Heritage Copper 150s 6100.04 10-Piece Set with Cast Stainless Steel Handle
The stainless steel linings and handles on this exquisite set, combined with the thick (2.5 mm) copper construction makes these pots and pans not only highest in performance, but absolutely stunning in appearance.
The most expensive, too, at $1,499.95.
But, if you are seriously in want of owning the best there is, and have the budget for it, this is the copper cookware of your dreams.
- Mauviel’s m’heritage collection is made of two traditional cooking materials: copper and stainless steel, (90-percent copper and 10-percent 18/10 stainless steel)
- Copper exterior offers superior control, heats evenly and much faster than other metals; stainless steel interior preserves the taste and nutritional qualities of foods and is easy to clean
- Cast stainless steel handles stay cool during use; m’heritage can be used on gas, electric, induction (with a disc), halogen, and in the oven
- Made in France and is guaranteed for life against any manufacturing defects
If fifteen hundred dollars is just out of your budget, but you still want a good set of the very best, Mauviel M’heritage also offers this smaller set, which for most home cooking enthusiasts is still a collection of fine pots and pans to be treasured.
Mauviel M’Heritage Copper M250C 6501.00 5-Piece Copper Cookware Set, Cast Iron Handle
- Includes 1.8-quart saucepan with lid, 3-quart sauté pan with lid, and 10.2-inch fry pan
- Extra-thick 2.5 mm copper exteriors and stainless interiors heat rapidly and evenly
- Tight-fitting copper and stainless lids seal in flavors, moisture, and nutrients
- Durable cast-iron handles with stainless rivets
- Hand washing recommended; limited lifetime warranty
Next up, for those who’s budget just simply does not allow for the purchase of a Mauviel M’heritage set, but who still wants some fine copper cookware, we strongly recommend this modestly priced (for copper!) set offered by a very highly regarded manufacturer of many types of fine cookware …
Calphalon products will be offered here also in the non-stick, and the stainless steel with copper bottoms cookwares, because they produce excellent pots and pans in many different styles.
But right now we’re talking copper, so here is an awesome set, an incredible value for the price, offered by the highly rated and popular “mid-range” cookware manufacturer, Calphalon.
Calphalon Tri-Ply Copper 10 Piece Set
At just $449.95, you can’t beat this set in terms of value. Stainless steel linings, handles and tight, firm fitting lids, and good quality copper make these pots and pans ideal for any serious home cook enthusiast. Not as thick walled as the Mauviel M’heritage line, so better suited for for gas burners, not so much for the electric stovetops surfaced with ceramic glass.
One very nice feature with this set is the slightly flared rims, making pouring the ingredients out of the pot or pan easy with less chance of dripping and spilling.
- Copper exterior and aluminum inner core combine for superior conductivity and precise cooking control.
- Non-reactive stainless steel interior offers the reflective cooking surface many chefs prefer. It?s brushed to maintain its like new appearance through years of daily use.
- Brushed copper exterior complements both traditional and contemporary decor
- Precision fit stainless steel covers seal in heat and moisture.
- Flared rims are more durable; make pouring neat and easy.
Again, the above sets are what we consider the best deals in terms of pricing and quality. But if you would like to see a full selection of Copper Cookware sets, CLICK HERE.
For those cooks who are using induction cookers, we recommend the the “Prima Matera” collection, developed by de Buyer. Unfortunately, they do not come offered to the marketplace as complete sets. Although, considering the price of each piece, it is not altogether hard to understand, because they are very pricey.
Since we are on this page offering full sets of cookware, the Prima Matera pots and pans will not be offered here, but if you go to the page, Individual Cookware Items, you can find them there, for review and purchase piece by piece.
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