It’s been nearly 13 years since we’ve updated our cookware – our All-Clad Master Chef collection gifted to us as part of our wedding registry. It has served us well, cooking everything from scrambled eggs and frittatas, to searing meats and baking pasta dishes for our growing family. But lately, the nonstick pieces have been showing their wear, and we were beginning to thinking about replacing them.
Luckily, I landed an assignment about cookware for the January 2015 issue of Consumers Digest, and I was deep in reacquainting myself with the dizzying array of cookware that is available for purchase.
It was the perfect opportunity to give some cookware a test drive, and find something that could meet our current cookware needs. It seems as if I’m not alone in my desire to replace my worn out pieces. According the Hugh Rushing at the Cookware Manufacturers Association, about ten percent of the household buys new cookware annually. The biggest reason given is “the old stuff is worn out.” And our certainly was.
Although the nonstick of our Master Chef was showing its wear, the uncoated pieces were still going strong – and were, in fact, the pieces we grabbed most frequently.
We still desired a nonstick pan or two for the times we needed them, but were glad that as part of my article, I had the opportunity to try out a few items from the Cristel Casteline Cookware set, most of which is uncoated.
Cook & Serve
Made in France, Cristel launched its “Cook & Serve” concept 18 years ago. It is a collection of top-of-the-range frying pans and saucepans with removable handles — an original concept designed by Paul Dodane, whose family runs the company.
The line is beautiful to look at, and is designed to maximize space and elegance in the kitchen.
As a cooking system, it works seamlessly. Each piece has detachable handles and flat lids for stackability and compact storage. In a small kitchen like ours, the cookware stores compactly on a shelf or in a drawer – and without the handles, makes for an efficient use of space in the dishwasher. (21 pieces fit into a drawer where 6-7 traditional cookware pieces would ordinarily fit!)
The interchangeable handles transform the cookware and make the system extremely versatile. For instance, the Excalibur nonstick coated frying pan can be placed in the oven without any handles attached. Yet, when I want to remove it, I attach the long handle and easily remove the pan without needing to use a oven mitt. For on top of the stove, I can use that same handle, or interchange with smaller side handles depending on how – and what – I am cooking.
Designed for uniform heat distribution, and maintaining a constant temperature without any hot spots that cause burning, the hallmark of the cookware system is the 5-ply stainless steel construction. It features a 3-ply stainless steel vessel composition, combined with an aluminum core, plus a 5-ply base that employs a thick aluminum encapsulated diffuser pad. This allows for easy temperature distribution throughout the vessel, ensuring maximum thermal efficiency, and spreading of the heat across the base and evenly up the sides (so that everything inside heats just as the food directly in contact with base.).
Its ability to retain heat means that the pot, which is beautiful enough for table service, stays warm while on the table.
Manufactured in the Franche-Compte region of France, the innovative cookware has been awarded the Origine de France Garantie seal. The company has been run by the Dodane family since its inception in 1986 based on a rich heritage from their factory dating back to 1826. Designed by Paul Dodane, the products have won recognition for aesthetic and functional aspects of the product. The patented concept of removable handles is a Paul Dodane innovation. And, Cristel was also the first cookware worldwide to be induction ready.
Safe to use in the oven as well as on gas, halogen, ceramic and induction cook tops, the collection features glass lids, and is dishwasher safe.
For more information about the Casteline line as well as the company’s Strate collection, as well as where to purchase, visit Cristel USA