Le Creuset. The iconic French cookware brand with an outstanding reputation for their high-quality enameled cast-iron cookware. Though starting off designing and manufacturing the first colorful French cocotte, more commonly known as a Dutch oven, the company now works with a range of different materials and has several ranges of cookware that are sold in over 60 countries.
Who would have thought that a simple cookware brand could become such a "must-have" in people’s kitchens? Le Creuset has done just that. Owning a Le Creuset Dutch oven is an aspirational goal for many avid home cooks. This durable cookware is known for its distinct color palette, timeless design, and reliable performance, allowing it to precede its reputation and people loving the brand before they have even made their first purchase.
The Le Creuset company brands itself as the premier colorful cookware, their slogan being "First. Finest. Favorite.", making the customer aware that if you want the best in terms of design and functionality, then Le Creuset is your only option. Buying any high-quality cast-iron cookware will definitely elevate your cooking and provide you with a reliable source of heat for whatever you are rustling up. Le Creuset goes one step further and offers customers products that should be considered as long-term investments and a purchase that could last you a lifetime.
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WHAT MAKES LE CREUSET A GREAT BRAND
When the company first started in 1925, the original Le Creuset designers were at the forefront of enameling cast-iron in France. Discovering the way to coat and protect the cast-iron in a smooth glass enamel that was chip-resistant was revolutionary and allowed them to begin manufacturing the Le Creuset Dutch oven on mass almost instantly. The company has continued to grow from there and hasn’t looked back since.
The French word "le creuset" literally translates as "crucible" or "melting-pot" which refers to the container in which the pots are transformed from melted metal to cast-iron. The designers wanted their handcrafted cookware to stand out from the rest of the simple cast-iron products being made at the time so decided to color their enamel a vibrant "Volcanique" color to symbolize the color of the hot metal within the crucible. Now renamed as "Flame", this is the iconic orange color that is still available for customers to choose from amongst the wide range of other striking colors on offer. Both the symbolic orange color and "Le Creuset" name highlights the skill that is required for this cookware to be made. This high-quality dedication to their craft is what has kept Le Creuset so successful all these decades later.
Most loyal customers will rightly claim that the Le Creuset original Dutch oven lives up to its strong reputation. It is actually an extremely useful and versatile piece of cookware to have in your kitchen. Due to its amazing heat retention and even heat distribution, you can use it for making stove top casseroles, stews, soups, slow-cooked meats, or even use it as ovenware to bake bread; the versatility is pretty incredible. To top it all off, the enamel makes it very easy to clean and even dishwasher safe.
The Le Creuset company is so confident in the quality of their products that they offer a lifetime warranty on any registered purchase meaning any defective cookware will be replaced free of charge at any time. Of course, this doesn't include general wear and tear but Le Creuset believes that if customers look after and use their cookware with care, then they will last a lifetime and may even last to be handed down the family generations.
Maintaining its drive for premium high-quality products, Le Creuset is trying to uphold its heritage while also trying to remain relevant to current trends. Innovation within Le Creuset has led the company to expand its range of cookware and incorporate other materials to produce stainless steel pans, non-stick bakeware, tableware, silicone utensils and so much more. There also seems to be regular additions of new colors and designs added to their ranges as well as limited edition offerings that keep the brand within the media spotlight. In the past, Le Creuset has released limited edition designs such as the Mickey Mouse collection in 2018 to celebrate the character’s 90th birthday and a Star Wars range to celebrate the release of the final movie in 2019. It seems Le Creuset has found a way to honor their heritage, while also producing cookware that is modern and contemporary, which is pretty impressive.
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THE MANUFACTURING PROCESS
The way Le Creuset cast-iron is made is the reason why their products deserve the labels "high-quality" and "premium". Still located in the original factory in Fresnoy-Le-Grand in Northern France, the enameled cast-iron Le Creuset cookware is handcrafted to perfection. With 10,000 products made each day, the factory still uses the traditional method of each item of cast iron being made in its own unique sand mold that is broken back into sand after one use to then be remade into a new mold. Each piece also goes through at least 15 worker’s hands for it to be shaped, colored, enameled, polished and quality checked. This makes each piece that comes out of the factory slightly unique and very much deserved of the stamp "made in France".
Other product lines are made in other locations around the world but Le Creuset maintains the same level of craftsmanship to ensure that every item of cookware embodies the Le Creuset brand.
CONS OF LE CREUSET
Due to the heritage, high-quality, popularity, and cultural acceptance of the brand, any Le Creuset product comes at a premium price. Though they produce excellent cookware that works exceptionally well, it can be argued that customers are more attracted to buying Le Creuset because of the color selection. Similar to brands like KitchenAid, Le Creuset allows its customers to project their personality onto their kitchenware and the demand for this kind of service means Le Creuset can charge that bit more.
So is it possible that Le Creuset has taken quite classic, simple cookware and made it more premium than it needs to be? Perhaps. Compared with Le Creuset’s traditional cast-iron cookware that is heavy, large, not that easy to store, there are designers producing lighter cast-iron products that can be easily stacked, clean, and maintained and so are more useful, functional, and cheaper for a modern-day family.
Though cast-iron products are highly durable and expensive in their own right, Le Creuset has used their brand and reputation to produce other lines of premium cookware. However, when it comes to stoneware, bakeware, and stainless steel cookware, it may be hard to justify paying for the Le Creuset brand when there are similar products on the market for a more reasonable price.
Regardless of reputation and heritage, there is definitely still room for Le Creuset to grow and improve in today’s world. Kana, a Californian lifestyle brand, produces their sleek Milo range of cast-iron cookware using 40% recycled iron-cast. Having a connection to sustainability is important for most brands and companies these days and at the moment Le Creuset has failed to recognize the importance of being environmentally responsible. It will be interesting to see if this changes in the future.
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IS LE CREUSET WORTH THE MONEY?
Le Creuset dominates the market when it comes to colorful cookware. However, if you don't mind your cast-iron being iron-colored rather than "Deep Teal" or "Meringue", then they are other alternative brands that offer similar cast-iron products at lower prices. There are plenty of brands and manufacturers to choose from when seeking stoneware or stainless steel cookware but cast-iron Dutch ovens are more of a specialist product line and so you want to look for companies who appreciate the art of cast-iron making.
Staub is another French cookware company that offers a wide range of cast-iron and ceramic cookware designs. Very similar to Le Creuset as it does offer a range of colors and sizes of their cocottes, though with their own slightly different design and story to tell. The company claims its products are suited for both professional chefs as well as home cooks.
Lodge Cast Iron produces their products in Tennessee and has been a reliable American brand since 1896. Sticking to a more classic range of cast-iron cookware, it is a reliable brand that creates functionality and quality. Though their cookware has its own distinct design and branding, it definitely doesn’t stand out against the Le Creuset range.
Arguably, regardless of what brand you choose, cast-iron cookware is expensive. If you want to buy something that has the reputation to support the price, then Le Creuset is probably the best brand for you. Le Creuset products are long-term investments, but if you look after what you buy, you should only need to buy it once.
LE CREUSET PRODUCT LINES
The first original product line of Le Creuset. From Dutch ovens and braisers to skillet and grills, the even heat retention of the enameled cast-iron offers outstanding performance meaning that even on low heat you can cook with confidence.
This is the Le Creuset ovenware and tableware enameled for protection and great heat distribution. This means you can also get casserole dishes, pie dishes, roasting dishes, dinnerware, mugs, canisters, jugs, platters with the distinct Le Creuset design, quality, and color.
The Le Creuset modern non-stick range of pots and pans. Committed to innovation within the industry, the company has designed a nonstick coating that is durable against metal utensils as well as also being dishwasher safe. If you are looking to use less oil in your cooking, then investing in reliable non-stick cookware could be a great addition to your kitchen. The company has also used this technology to create a range of non-stick bakeware. Made from heavy-duty carbon means that their muffin trays, sheet trays, and loaf pans won’t bend or warp in the heat of the oven; perfect for avid home bakers.
A range of classic stainless steel pans with the Le Creuset signature 3-ring lid design. Made with titanium-lined steel to ensure durability and even heat distribution, while also offering a lightweight alternative to the other cast-iron and stoneware collections.
The enameled steel has been used to create a lightweight stock pot as well as the stovetop whistling tea kettle that still maintains the timeless design of Le Creuset. Both of these items come in the signature colors to blend in nicely with the rest of the colorful product lines.
The Le Creuset silicone kitchen utensils are suitable for any of their cookware and will ensure you don’t scratch or damage the enamel or nonstick coatings. Made with the same company values meaning that even these simple accessories are made with durability and quality in mind.
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LE CREUSET PRODUCTS WE RECOMMEND
THE BOTTOM LINE
When looking to invest in high-quality cookware and cast-iron products, Le Creuset is definitely a brand you should consider. Hopefully, our buyer’s guide has helped you to weigh the pros and cons of Le Creuset and allowed you to see the value of craftsmanship when it comes to premium cookware.
The information provided in this article is not nutritional or medical advice. Please read our disclaimer.