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Le creuset translated into English is crucible. A crucible in English is a container that can withstand very high temperatures. Le creuset is an extremely apt word this excellent quality cookware!
A Little History
Le Creuset began producing porceline enamelled pots in 1925 in a foundry in Fresnoy le Grand, France. Over the years it has expanded to offer new products such as cast iron and stonewares. Over the years the company has made much more than casserole type dishes, including fondue sets, cookers, charcole stoves, mugs and cups and serveware. Also the company has expanded its range of enamel colour range from the traditional "volcano" orange.
Since having kids I have bought a casserole dish instead so I could make family sized casseroles and stews. The size is about 12cm high with a diameter of about 30cms, so its quite big and also really rather heavy even before putting the food into it! It has two handles, which are easy to hold onto when I am wearing oven gloves and a well fitting lid with a knob style handle on it.
Cooking With Le Creuset
I find using these vessels to cook is a delight, it is quite literally bung in the ingredients, make sure I have added enough liquid and off we go! I find a well cooked stew or casserole is best slow cooked so the meat becomes very tender and the sauce thick and tasty. Most dishes cooked in my large casserole dish are in the oven for 2 - 2 1/2 hours, on a low heat of about 130 degrees c. Le Creuset pots cook very well and very evenly without turning the pots in the oven.
They are not cheap! I don't know hao much my ramekins were but my casserole dish was about £95. I do believe it is worth it, its used a lot and it really is a vessel for life. The other thing is I can save money by using cheaper cuts of meat like lambs neck and beef brisket and flank. I even did Chinese style pigs trotter's once when some of my Chinese friends came around! I often find that the cheaper cuts of meat work better for stews and casseroles than say chicken breasts as they give the dish more flavour and basic British vegetables such as onions, carrots, swedes, parsnips, turnips and potatoes, all fairly cheap to buy make great dishes.
What are the Vessels Made of?
Well the casserole dish is made from cast iron which is heated to liquid and then pored into sand moulds. After casting the rough edges are sanded off by hand and the cookware is then given two coats of enamel.
Cleaning and Safety
The casserole dish is oven, grill, hob and dishwasher safe (but not microwave obviously because its metal!). It can be used in a variety of heat sources including halogen, induction, gas, oil and wood - they are great for agas. After cooking I always soak my Le Creuset ware, but I never add water to the vessel until it is quite cool. If you add cold water to the vessels when they are really it can cause cracking in the enamel. To wash by hand I use soapy water and a sponge with a soft scower on one side, I never use a harsh scrower on it, however I usually just bung them in the dishwasher!
Amazon now has a Le Creuset store, but they are readily available from stores like John Lewis, Debenhams, some of the larger supermarkets and other homeware shops. They can also be purchased from lecreuset.co.uk. They are available in a variety of different colours, blue, cerise, almond, teal, cassis, coastal, midnight, nutmeg and slate. Mine is cerise on the outside and white enamel on the inside - they are all white on the inside as far as I am aware.
This vessel was an investment and I intend to go on using it for the rest of my life. Yes, it is rather expensive, but well worth it as they cook food perfectly. I wouldn't be without mine.
Le Creuset are a brand of premium and durable kitchenware probably most famous for their casserole pots and dishes. They are a French company founded in 1925 and are renowned for their unique production methods using enamel coated cast iron to make their pots. Their design is iconic and the durability of their products phenomenal. In my opinion they are definitely worth forking out the extra money for. At £80 upwards on average depending on size and where you purchase from, they are expensive but given how long they last are a worthwhile investment.
This review focuses on the round casserole pot. As with most of their products, this comes in a range of colours from baby blue, through white to orange or red. I purchased the red version which is a deep red that deepens further with time and age. We've had it well over a year and the colour has already changed with time and use, but little else has.
The design is classic and iconic. The dish itself is circular and gets wider towards the top. It's not curved vertically but a straight incline with a sharp corner to the base. At the top on each side are 2 small handles that are part of the mould of the main body so won't come apart from it... but on the other hand will heat up very quickly with the pot. The overall design is simple, modern, functional and practical. The lid is ribbed and a shallow convex with a black handle in the top. Again here they have gone for function over beauty as it's not an elegant handle, but a very practical and durable one. The most noticeable feature is it's incredible weight. As these pots are made from enamel coated cast iron they weight a ton (not literally) compared to other earthenware pots... and that's before you've put anything in them. You wouldn't want to drop it on your foot as it would likely break it.
Due to the weight and the materials used, these are excellent for slow cooking and giving an even thorough cook. The lip of the lid has a rubber rim so creates a pretty tight seal for optimum stewing. The base is very thick so can be use either in the oven or on the hob without fear of cracking or breaking.
Durability as mentioned above is excellent. I've dropped mine (thankfully not on my foot!) and it withstood it. From my experience despite heavy use it has not scratched or become obviously worn except for the colour (but the age is quite a nice touch). The only slight issue has been that the handle on the lid does come lose but as it is screwed on it's very easy to screw it back into place.
It's hard to fault the design and manufacture of these pots. Thy have been making them the same way since the companies founding in 1925 and there must a reason for it... And that is their simplicity, reliability and efficiency endures as long as the pot itself. It's a pot for life, not jut for Christmas.
It's worth paying that little bit extra for this brand as you just know that one of these will last much longer than any of us will. Unlike other pans and dishes it seems really easy to wash even if you have been lazy and left it until with next day and have forgotten to soak it... You can use a scourer on it without worrying about scratching it.
It's nice that there are now other colours available and not just that super bright orange which doesn't really fit in with the colour of most peoples' kitchens! My Grandma has a rather stylish looking white one. I really want one of the miniature ones that are about 10cms big as they look really great but I haven't been able to justify it as surely there is no actual function in which one of these could be useful?
Maybe the only slight downside is the weight as it can be heavy to lift (when empty sometimes, not just when full) but that just goes to show that it's a quality product.
Le creuset is a French brand, which have made cast iron cookware coated in coloured enamel since 1925. The company is based in Fresnoy-le-grand which is in the north of France, and is the place where I went on a French exchange aged 13, so I have actually seen these pots in production on a tour of the works. At the time, I wasn't so impressed as it was an extremely hot and dirty place to go on a school trip.
One of my biggest regrets in life is that my penpals father gave me a big oval cooking dish, in the flame orange, and my mother flogged it at the car boot for a fiver thinking it a bit ugly and worthless.
When I first moved in with my other half, I had just started working and he was a student still, so my first set of pans were bought before my first salary and was about £20 for 7 pans in Argos. Needless to say, this didn't last long, so one of my first salaried purchases was a 20cm le creuset casserole dish.
This has been used for most of our cooking since that time in 2002, and still going strong. I chose one in a dark blue colour as I knew that it was a lifelong purchase, and at that stage we didn't have any decent crockery or even know where we would live as a married couple, so I thought blue was a good choice to go with any future colour scheme.
I can't remember how much we paid for this item, but it is available on ebay for £60, £99 on amazon uk, and in other shops such as John Lewis for £99 so it is worth shopping around or timing your purchase to a sale to try and get a good price.
The first thing that strikes you when you pick up these pots is their heaviness. They genuinely are heavy when full especially, as it can hold 2.4L which would be an extra 2.4 kg on top of the weight of the pot, so not for those with weak wrists.
I mostly use my casserole dish to cook food in on the hob, so if you like cooking casseroles but want to brown off the meat and fry the onions first, then this is a good way to do it. I also use it to cook the filling for a shepherd's pie, and then add mash on top, before transferring to under the grill or in the oven to brown and crisp the mash. Lovely.
My dish is still pretty decent looking on the outside. I notice that if you have damaged the handle for the lid, you can buy new ones with le creuset branding from ebay to repair any damage.
Inside it is now starting to get a bit 'sticky' on the bottom of the pan, as I have probably abused it too many times by cooking things on the hob. Items now need more oil to cook without sticking and I need to stir more. My fault and not the pans.
The dish is designed to go from oven, to the table to serve, and then back to the sink or dishwasher to wash up. I tend to serve up in the kitchen though, as I would not want the dish to go near where my kids are. Because it is cast iron with enamel coating, it tends to stay hot for quite a while, and I would not want the kids to accidentally touch it as they would get burned. We also find we have to leave it to cool down a little while before we wash it up too for the same reasons.
Washing up is also easy. The surface is very easy to wipe clean, and anything stubborn will come off with a bit of soaking and a scrubby side of a washing up sponge.
I have no doubt that this will last us a good while.
The quantity I cook is usually enough to serve myself, my husband and the two kids. If you have a larger number to cook for I would recommend investing in a larger version of the pan.
The best casserole dish I have ever owned.
We we got married a few years ago we did a gift list at John Lewis and one of the things we put on the list was a Le Creuset Casserole dish. They are normally very expensive so to have one as a present was great.
According to the John Lewis website, the information on these pans is as follows, "Le Creuset has been making premium quality cast iron since 1925 at their foundry in northern France. Each piece is hand crafted and made from the finest materials to give you long lasting durability. Cast iron is an excellent heat retainer which means if keeps food warm at the table for longer and requires only low to medium heat sources. Every piece is made from an individual sand mould which makes each piece unique. Suitable for all cooker and hob types including induction.
They have a lifetime guarantee and are made in France.
The pans are round and quite deep and as they are made of cast iron they are very heavy. They have two handles either side so they are easy to pick up but you do need to get a good grip on them in order to lift them. Even the lid is quite heavy so you need to make sure you lift this properly too. The lid has a round disc handle at the top which you use to take the lid off. The lid fits nice and tightly onto the top of the pan so this keeps the food inside nice and warm. As the description of the pans say, cast iron is an excellent heat retainer and I definitely have to agree, these casserole dishes get very hot in the oven and stay hot so I am always careful getting this out of the oven and even touching it minutes later.
The best thing about them is that they make casserole preparation very easy. I have the 22 inch one and think this is definitely big enough for a family of three going on four. It is small enough for my oven without being too huge and of course small enough that I can lift it. I just throw in all my vegetables, meat and sauce and then throw it in the oven, job done. The food inside cooks really well and the pan keeps all the juices inside nicely. The great thing is I can take this out of the oven when it is done and still serve it up piping hot half an hour later as sometimes my husband is late home and dinner needs to be pushed back a bit, this is the only casserole dish I have been able to do this with.
What I also love about these pans is that they are very easy to clean. They get very dirty whilst using them and it looks as if you are never going to clean the dried on food off of them but they really do wipe clean, especially the lid which is another great benefit for me.
Like I've said above, these pans are quite expensive, a 20cm size one costs £79, a 24cm costs £100 and a 28cm costs £126 but with a lifetime guarantee I think this is well worth it. They also come in a variety of colours so you can tailor it to the look of your kitchen. We have the teal one but there are blues, volcanic red, almond and granite to name but a few.
When I got married, over 30 years ago! I was given two Le Creuset casserole dishes in vivid volcanic orange. Well it's been a rough ride at times but the marriage and the dishes are still intact apart from losing a lid along the way. The casseroles not mine!
Le Creuset are in my opinion," la creme de la creme" of cookware .The firm was founded in 1925 in Fresney le Grande, in France of course, and are now sold all over the world and are justly famous for being efficent , long lasting and flipping heavy!
The Secret is in the mix!
The casseroles are made from cast iron with a secret recipe of a mix of metals which produces a casserole which disperses the heat evenly and keeps hot for a long length of time. Each pan or casserole is unique as the sand mould used to produce it is broken after the molten metal has been poured into it from the cauldron called in French "Le Creuset" It is then "fettled", yes that's right "fettled", we use this word a lot in Lancashire and it means to be sorted out or fixed so your casserole is fettled by having any rough edges or burrs smoothed off. Can you imagine the conversation? "Bonjour Jaques, ave you fettled les casseroles ?,non, well urry up !" After that they get two coats of enamel fired at 840 degreesC which gives the inside the almost never stick property and the they are off to be sold round the world at rather large prices, but now you why.
I have the 18cm and the 22cm and they are still in daily use, I use them for stews and casseroles, rice and soups, in the oven, under the grill on the hob, on gas on electric rings and ceramic and they never disappointed me. They are good looking enough to go straight to the table and,although available in other colours, for me the rich, volcanic orange is the only colour choice, it just shouts home cooking and comfort The handles, which are integral, are comfortable and easy to use, (use oven gloves), important while moving a large hot casserole. The lids are tight fitting which means that cooking liquid is not lost and the contents burnt. Le Creuset advise a top temp of 190C in the oven for casseroles with the black phenolic lid knob and suggest low to mid temps for optimum cooking. Check the lid knob occasionally as the screw which holds it can work loose thus creating a large clang as the lid falls to the floor.
The larger casserole holds 3.3 liters and weighs 3.8kg it can easily feed 6-8 hungry people and the smaller 18cm holds 1.8 litres and weighs 2.5kg and feeds 2-4 people depending on how hungry you are!The weight can be a problem for some people so this is a factor to keep in mind.
The enamelled inside surface makes them easy to clean, I tend to just soak mine for ten mins and then hand wash but you can put them in the dishwasher if you wish.
They have had a hard life and have lived for 15 years with us on our own boat and as I have often cooked on various boats for a living, they have, where possible, come to work with me. One lid got badly rusted from being stored incorrectly in a salty bilge, but that was entirely my fault and the manufacturers are so sure of their product that they come with a lifetime guarantee.
So if you are looking for a pan or casserole that can go from hob to oven, from grill to table. Can go in the freezer and the dish washer , save up for Le Creuset, they are worth it. My niece is getting married next year and some Le Creuset pans and casseroles will be her wedding present from me and the Captain, that is how much I recommend them!
Available widely and lots more interesting info on Le Creuset .co.uk
Thanks for readind my review also posted on Ciao under splishsplash.
I'm a little bit of a food snob and very choosy over the utensils, pans and pots I use in the kitchen. I am by no means a budding chef but I enjoy cooking for my friends and family. Le creuset is a house hold brand name but with a touch of luxury and one of my families favourites. My gran has this very pot; bought for her many years ago and still looking just as robust and unmarked as the new ones. No wonder they offer a lifetime quarantee.
The design has hardly changed, there just many new colours on the Market. I like this pot because it is heavy and sturdy. This is because it is made from cast iron. The French pot is four and a half quart, it measures 11inches by 4.7 inches. It has a homely feel about it and when I place it on the table using two oven gloves wrapped around the two handles I think it envoked the image of a hearty well cooked meal. The enamel finish makes the pot look attractive and makes the pot easy to clean and prevents food sticking and becoming baked on. #The tight fitting lid keeps flavours in and keeps warm for hours.
The pot can stand up to severe amounts of heat, you can freeze it and it's dishwasher proof.
The pot can be used in the oven or on the hob and cooks your food equally throughout, making the food more tastier. I use my pot for stews, baking, risottos, cooking vegetables and sauces. I can get about 5 to 6 servings out of one pot. Definitely worth the money.
This review may also appear on ciao.
Le creuset is a household name, and for good reason. My mother has always had one, which I assume she has had since the dawn of time, and I am sure will be passed down to me in her will. Unfortunately my sister managed to break the unbreakable, and damage the enamel on my step mum's le creuset casserole by using it to make popcorn in. It was about twenty years old, but this is young for a le creuset, so I suggest that you never use yours to make popcorn. The point I am trying to make though, is taht unless you do something really silly in them, these casserole dishes will last forever, and to prove it they usually come with a lifetime guarantee.
They are excellent for cooking stews and casseroles in, but I definitely don't stop at that - I have made jam in ours, and virtually any meal that I cook for more than about three people it gets used. When I cook risotto for example, it is so much easier to do it in the big le cresuset where I can put the lid on and let it simmer away on a gentle heat, and not worrying about it spilling over the sides. The large casseroles can hold nearly ten litres. The thick cast iron and enamel finish is not only durable, but it creates a very constant heat, meaning that food is cooked evenly, and if you start off frying onions in the bottom they won't stick and burn like some stainless steel frying pans.
Yes, the le creuset is very expensive, coming in at £138 pounds last time I checked, although they do have sales, and there are outlet stores, so it is possible to get a bargain. They will last you literally a lifetime though, and you will love cooking in it. Having had one at home I simply missed it too much, and had to have one. Save up, ask for it as a wedding present or a combined christmas and birthday, do whatever, but when you have one, I promise you will never think you have wasted your money.
My 16in Cobalt Blue Le Creuset casserole dish was a recent birthday present, for which I am extremely grateful! Already it has proved to be an amazing addition to my kitchen.
I was spared the eyewatering expense of purchasing this myself thanks to the fact it was a gift, but these typically retail for around the £60. However, I do know from previous research that if you shop around- particularly online you may be able to bag yourself a significant discount. I suppose whether you think it's worth the price tag is entirely dependent on how much you value good quality kitchen equipment, which this undoubtedly is.
The brilliant thing about this pan is that it is made out of cast iron, meaning that it can easily be used on the hob and in the oven- one right after the other if necessary. For example, I used it to brown some sausages on the hob, before adding other casserole ingredients and transferring to the oven.
The pan is heavy, despite it's diminutive size, but I don't find this to be a negative- rather it is quite reassuring, if that makes sense! It reinforces the fact that it's a excellent quality product made with decent materials.
After making the casserole, I left it to soak for a little while to loosen the cooked on food, but other than that, it was a doddle to clean...so I'm told... I left the washing up to my boyfriend!! Just remember not to use wire wool or anything similar when you're scrubbing, you'll do the pan no good!!
The Le Creuset Round Casserole should be in any kitchen cupboard: Useful not only for casseroles and roasting in the oven it's great for the long slow simmering of home made soups keeping the food warm on the table once made.
The casserole dish is made to an extremely high quality and is made from very durable materials. With both an oven proof body and handle this item is great for a general all purpose cooking. Large enough to make dinner for 4 this dish suits both families and students who are wishing to cook simple meals together.
With the sound quality of the materials there does come one of the two drawbacks, that this dish is heavy without food in it, which can prove difficult when taking it from a low oven or down from a high shelf.
Le Creuset have brought out the whole range in about 9 different colours (Believe me the excitement when I found that little gem) making it a great range to add to which ever kitchen style/colour you have. The average price for casserole pans of that size and indeed my own is circa £80 - Yes it is pricy, but I would say great value for money as mine has been going years and shows no sign of fading out just yet (Fingers crossed)
With this in mind the superb quality of all Le Creuset dishes makes this casserole a great staple for your kitchen and I would highly recommend it so long as you are willing to pay a bit more for the quality.
An exellent and versatile dish. You can brown things off in it on the hob, then transfer straight to the oven for cooking. It's also great for pot roasting. Pretty pricey, but worth the money as I expect mine to last me for years. You can tell the quality by the weight, but it can also make it tricky to dry up as it's so heavy. I'm not sure whether you're supposed to, but mine goes in the dishwasher with no problems! I've burnt things a couple of times and it's super easy to clean with a non scratch scourer and a bit of washing up liquid. Great choice of colours with a nice finish. It holds the heat really well, which is why it cooks so well, but gets really hot and takes forever to cool down, so make sure you handle it carefully. It's a great all rounder.
My family got smaller, one by one they left home, sometimes coming back and flying off again, so I really needed a smaller roasting pan for the Sunday Roast. I did try using a casserole dish I had, but it always stuck so I decided to use my Amazon vouchers earned on Dooyoo to treat myself to a Le Creuset casserole dish, whilst they were on a half price offer.
My daughter had a large range of these beautiful saucepans and casserole dishes, and although I knew they were heavy I decided I could manage to lift the small size out of the oven without too much effort.
Choosing your Le Creuset is like buying a fashion item, the colour depends on your kitchen colours, what else it has to tone with etc. There is the traditional orange colour and then le Creuset brought out many other choices, I really don't like the blue one, and I think the white is not a very sensible colour as if food burns on it will soon look scruffy, my choice was the cerise colour, although it is more a deep red. The casseroles are in many sizes from 16cm to 34cm in increments of 2cms. They are made of cast iron, and fired at temperatures of 840°C.
The super smooth enamel finish of Le Creuset cast iron is durable and hygienic. Enamelled cast iron is just as efficient for traditional slow simmering as it is for searing - the choice of use is yours. It has the ability to retain heat efficiently, and this can be used to your advantage in lowering settings for both stovetop and oven cooking. At the table, a covered dish will keep food hot for second servings.
Chilled foods can benefit too. Cast iron can be used to keep cold food cold. A short time in the refrigerator will cool a dish sufficiently to make it the ideal server for a chilled fruit salad on a hot summer's day. Le Creuset cast iron cookware can be used on all heat sources. Gas, electric solid or radiant plates, vitroceramic glass, induction, and ranges fired by gas, oil, coal or wood.
I decided to buy the 18cm round casserole, larger enough for a small roast for the two of us or even three people and a nice size for casseroles. I have cooked venison several times in my casserole and it ends up so tender, roast meats cook to perfection too. There are two handles and it is 9cm in depth. It does contain 3 pints of liquid, but that is very full and not practical as it will boil over! The only downside I feel is the weight and it weighs a hefty 2581grams, over 2.5 kilos! And that is empty. Before buying a large size I would advise people to consider how heavy it will be when full and if you can lift it easily from an oven depending on the height. I have had mine about 3 years now, the inside is perfect and a few fat splashes have burned onto the outside but not badly, so it still looks really good.
The lid has a plastic type of knob, called phenolic, and the instructions are clear that you don't use at higher than Reg 5, new knobs are available if you do melt or crack it! It will be very hot when removing from the oven so an oven cloth is needed. They supply 4 little hard plastic pieces that fit over the sides so the lid can be stored up side down and doesn't scratch the surface.
*Instructions for use*
The recommendations for care and use are stated in the booklet supplied and apply to all Le Creuset enamelled cast iron ranges, whether the inner cooking surface is black, light coloured (sand, white, almond) or non-stick.
Before using remove all labels. Wash the pan in hot soapy water, rinse and dry thoroughly. Pans with enamelled cooking surfaces are now ready for use and require no further preparation. Non-stick surfaces should be wiped with cooking oil to condition them. Your dishes will keep looking good from the hob to the oven, from the oven to the table and from the table to the dishwasher, although I usually wash mine my hand. Always allow to cool before plunging into water, and if food has stuck on, leaving it to soak for a little while in warm soapy usually loosens it making it easy to clean. Never use metal cleaning pads, a soft brush or nylon pad is usually all it needs.
You can buy a special cookware cleaner to polish your Le Ceuset and make it look like new, I haven't done that so far, but may at some point!
*Cooking with Le Creuset*
Your choice of liquid, oil, fat or butter should completely cover the base before heating begins. Medium and low heat will provide the best results for the majority of cooking, including frying and searing. Allow the pan to heat gradually and thoroughly, as this will give the most even and efficient cooking results. Once the pan is hot almost all cooking can be continued on lower settings. Use higher temperatures only for boiling water for vegetables or pasta, or for reducing the consistency of stocks and sauces, but I find I always lower the temperature and it will keep boiling. High temperature should never be used to pre-heat a pan before lowering the heat for cooking because cast iron retains heat so well that if a pan is overheated in this way it will contribute to poor cooking results, sticking and discolouration of cooking pan.
We are being encouraged to protect the environment and cooking this way you can turn the heat down and so will save yourself money too!
Currently the recommended selling price is about £62.00 but Amazon have them for under £50 in some colours and differing prices depending on the supplier so it ids well worth shopping around. I was lucky and got mine for £30.
*Do I like my Le Creuset?"
Yes I do, very much. I have had 3 years use and by that I mean used at least once a week if not more often. It is still in great condition, but I do take care to follow the instructions. It was expensive even at half price, but I believe I will get value for my money. All the food I have cooked has been delicious, I did initially have a few problems when searing meat for casseroles that the flour formed a layer on the base, but when you follow the instructions properly it is fine!
You can bake puddings and even cakes in the casserole dish, providing you grease and flour it well, the cake will turn out when cooled slightly. All in all a great buy.
There is a lifetime guarantee for Le Creuset enamelled cast iron cookware, covering faulty workmanship and materials where the product has been used in normal household conditions, but not for normal wear and tear.
I even received a form and sent off for a free cookbook, which was an added bonus, as it was worth £14.99!
I LOVE my Le Creuset casserole! We were bought it as part of our wedding present by my Mother in law 14 1/2 years ago(only decent thing she has ever done!-but that's another story!)
I first came across these beauties in 1984 when I was invited to a (very posh) friends house. She started a chili on the stove top and then put it into the oven. I was blown away. It helped that it was the volcanic orange(the "correct" colour in my humble opinion). Orange is my favourite colour.
Anyway, fast forward to 1994 and the writing of the wedding list and the debate as to wheither it was too expensive to put on to the list. My husbands mother(BOO HISS) said she would buy some we got the large casserole,the milk pan ant the large frying pan.
I have since added to my collection but the original ones are still going strong. The handle on the casserole gets very hot and takes ages to cool after being in the oven so please take care, but that aside, no other downsides.
I was recently told that there are Le Creuset outlet stores in the Mac Arthur Glen shopping outlets(Cheshire Oakes is one-not sure of the others sorry)
The handles of my pans are wooden but the newer ones have been changed and are now dishwasher proof.
All in all I think these pans are a great investment. True, they are NOT cheap but they do go on and on and (unlike lots of us!) keep there looks! Perform well and add style and class to any kitchen.
Once you have taken the plunge and invested in your first piece of Le Cruset cookware it will be hard to ever return to buying the run of the mill pots and pans that are on offer today.
Le Cruset is legendary, handcrafted in France since 1925 it has to be the most versatile and durable cookware on the market.
John Lewis has a marvellous cookware department, well organised with many high quality brand names on display.
The design of the Le Cruset casserole dish attracted me straight away, I was looking at one from the `Graded blue` colour range, a rich and elegant dark blue . The dish has two grab handles and a snug fitting ridged lid which is vented.
One thing that took me by surprise was how heavy the cast iron dish felt, I then grasped the idea of how useful that would be for slow cooking, the thick cast iron would retain and spread the heat evenly.
I was considering the 20 cm size, plenty large enough to make a casserole for 3 or 4 people.The sale price was £57.75.
The advantages weighed heavily in its favour, you can cook in the dish, it is oven proof, it is safe to put in the dishwasher and would look attractive on any dining table.
The casserole dish was my first experience of Le Cruset, excellent to use for cooking stews, pot roasts, casseroles and soups.
I have added a set of three saucepans and a grill pan to my range now and i`m sure they will be one of the best investments I have ever made.
Le Cruset have an extensive range of products which includes: Stoneware, 3 ply Stainless cookware, silicone bakeware and tools, toughened non stick frying pans with glass lids and whistling stove top kettles.
Le Cruset cookware is suitable for all heat sources and comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Le Creuset make a large variety of cast iron cookware. All of it is expensive but made to last and last and last. Ours is bright orange (volcanic) and they come in many other colours too.
We got our casserole dish as a wedding present thirty five years ago and it's still going strong. Nowadays they cost around £75-85 new.
It is worth looking at the prices in France if you are over there with your car. We had a look and they are about a third cheaper there. Don't try and bring one back on the plane because the excess baggage that you pay will make you cry! :)
The double handled top make this casserole easier to handle but because it is cast iron it holds the heat and they can't be handled from the hob or oven without good oven gloves. Try it at your peril.
The lid has a stay cool bit to clip on, this works when I can find it in the kitchen 'This will come in handy for something drawer', usually we rely on the oven gloves.
The size of this casserole means that you can feed a lot of people from it, which we used to do regularly. Now the kids have left home I often make the same size meals in it and freeze the left overs. (That makes for good economy unless you have a husband like mine who thinks it is fundamentally wrong to send a pot back to the kitchen with something in it.)
The insides are enamel coated, so they are easy to clean. Unfortunately they are easy to mark too. Wooden or nylon utensils are a must and even so the inside will still end up looking less than pristine over the years. The outside of our dish is marked as well, the enamel is chipped, but that might be because I dropped it on the dog and it bounced off him onto the doorstep.
The dog now hates the colour orange!
I love my Creuset pans and both my children have them as well. My daughter purchased hers second hand from eBay. (She was so delighted with them she made her Dad put a special rack up.) She says she feels like a proper cook now!
The main problem, perhaps the only big problem, is the weight of them. Anybody who is a bit frail or arthritic would not be able to handle them, particularly when full. I know I will finally have to admit I'm past it when I can't get the thing out of the oven. However in the thirty or so years I have until then (please God!) I will carry on enjoying my friendly, lived in looking Creuset.
16cm-34cm / Ideal for casseroles, stews, pot roasting and perfect for preparing soups and rice dishes, even for baking / The essential kitchen classic from Le Creuset, suitable for all heat sources.