Monday, June 12, 2006

Mario Batali Cookware

I've been doing some research the past few days on some Italian cooking stuff. Between pasta varieties, pots and personalities I've been pretty immersed in it. I've been reading Under a Tuscan Sun (again) as I've finished reading "It Must've Been Something I Ate" and needed to pick up something new.

I've become completely enamoured of both Mario Batali's cookware and his restaurants in New York, but let's start with the cookware. In 2005 he released a 6QT pot, a panini grill and a lasagne pan (along with other accessories, I'll review those at a later date). They come in Espresso (brown), Crema (white) and his signature Persimmon (orange) - and this year he has added Pistachio (green) to the mix. I've seen all three pans at the cookware section of The Bay, originally when I was lusting over the Le Creuset sets. I originally dismissed these hefty orange numbers based on price and the "well, well - another celebrity endorsement - big freakin' deal" factor. I may have been wrong in my original assessment.

Besides the fact that I love the orange colour (the only one I've seen on display at The Bay), they are actually really well constructed, require no seasoning and man, do they weigh a ton. These really are pans that you'd be happy to leave to your children in your Last Will and Testament - "...and to little Luigi, I leave my Mario Batali cookware set - may it serve you well..." They really aren't cheap pieces that make you just want to suffer through an inadequately designed and inefficient tool. These really are made for the home enthusiast (the the point where they come with an entire instruction booklet that states quite emphatically that these are to be used at Low to Medium heat - they will conduct the heat well enough and do not require a high heat. But don't let that fool you - these pieces are constructed to go into the oven at up to 500 degrees - more than hot enough for a well roasted chicken or 3" steak.

So how much do these things cost? Well, I've done some research online and found that they are about US$100 each and about CA$150 - CA$175 depending on where you look. Golda's Kitchen in Toronto seems to have the best price including shipping so far (and they ship UPS so you know its going to be in pretty good condition when you get it).

Finally, I'm doing this - I'm comparing these to Le Creuset for an autumn timeframe purchase. I'm thinking that they are exactly what I want and need in a few new pans - and the fact that all the reviews I've read of these say exactly what I want to hear - good, even heat distribution; excellent heft and performance both on the cooktop AND in the oven - and best of all - less than half the price of Le Creuset.

Next up? Where I want to go for my birthday dinner... (hint: its in NYC and has 3 b's in the name - anyone care to hook me up with a reservation for September? ;-)


At 10:25 a.m., Anonymous Matt said...

Nifty-sounding cookware! I look forward to hearing how it works out for you :)

At 10:59 a.m., Blogger Eric said...

Thanks Matt! Time for you to start blogging again so we can see how you're going as well! :-D

At 3:08 p.m., Blogger Camille said...

I think your research about this is wise and great. I wish I was this sound - I just bought a few Le Creuset pieces (plus a $200+ KitchenAid blender) simply and only because they were a gorgeous, fucking pink colour!

I am hopeless. A hopeless, pink girlie girl. I'm so sad, I think I'll go make myself a strawberry pink smoothie in my pink blender.

At 11:15 p.m., Blogger Eric said...

Bonsoir Camille! Comment ca va?

I love that you just bought them cause they were pink! Thankfully, part of the proceeds go to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (a foundation that I've been doing some work with in the past little while...)


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