Copper Cookware from France – The Guide

In this post, You’ll learn the best copper cookware from France, where to buy it, how to clean copper pans, and how to decorate with copper in kitchens.

 

In the 1700s, the culinary story of France began to develop.

So French craftsmen started to make high-quality copper cookware to meet the requirements.

And now, even today, the greatest French chefs mainly use copper pans to cook their gourmet dishes.

But among all the choices available, how do YOU choose the pan best suited to your needs?

All the answers are in this guide.

copper cookware from france

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I. The best copper cookware from France

The three best-known brands of copper cookware from France are Mauviel, Dehillerin and Villedieu.

Here are the top 4 French copper cookware sets – and, just between us, the third one happens to be my absolute favorite!

dehillerin copper cookware from france
villedieu copper cookware from france

Their reputation is second to none, and their copper pans are used all over the world for decades.

Copper is a very resistant material and this kind of cookware can last hundreds of years.

That’s why you’ll find plenty of French vintage copper pieces.

I can already hear you thinking « Vintage? But why would I cook in old pots? »

Great question!

So why buy vintage copper cookware from France instead of new copper cookware?

  • Thickness

In general, vintage copper is thicker than new copper cookware. According to the Vintage French Copper blog, Mauviel has also reduced the quality of their copper pans since 2014.

The greater the thickness, the slower the temperature changes (once it’s hot it hangs onto that heat).

copper cookware from france thickness

Of course, you need a correct quality-to-weight ratio.

Because if you buy a 3mm pan but find it hard to carry it, I bet you won’t use it much!

  • Aesthetic

On a more personal note, I also find that vintage pieces look better than new.

You’ll find more authentic details and high-quality craftsmanship in antique pieces.

It’s a matter of taste but if you also want to display them in your home, buy vintage instead!

Now, which particular copper pan should you choose?

The first question to ask is:

Do you want to cook with it or do you simply want to display it in your home?

  • If you want to cook with your copper cookware:

What type of pot do you use the most? Is it a sauté pan? A cooking pot?

Or maybe there’s a cookware piece you don’t have yet but would love to buy in a copper version?

Here’s how to make an informed choice.

Your cooking habits
Vintage version
Modern version

You cook a bit of everything, especially stews or soups

You absolutely love gratins and cheesy dishes?

You’d like cooking sauces, heating soups etc.?

You cook sauce dishes, poelades, seared meat, etc.?

If you decide to buy vintage copper, here are some tips.

A vintage French copper pot can be used for cooking, but only if it’s in good physical condition.

So what to look for?

Copper metal in direct contact with certain salty food acids can be toxic. A lining prevents the contact between copper and salty food.

On the contrary, copper is excellent for cooking sweet dishes like fruit or sugar (and even eggs!). That’s why jam basins are completely covered with copper for example.

But everyday pots and pans need to be lined.

The inside of a lined pan may look like this:

copper cookware from france - tin lining
copper cookware from france - tin lining
copper cookware from france - tin lining

The tin lining will oxidize very slowly as it ages and turn darker as it is used.

This is normal and completely food safe.

This is no longer when you see an area of copper appear through the lining, or if you see a green « verdigris » like this:

copper tin lining step 4

In this case, it’s important to have it re-tin by a professional so you can cook in it.

In my shop, I always specify if a piece is usable for cooking as is (if it’s not specified, it’s only decorative or need to be retinned).

  • If you just want to decorate with copper cookware from France

Then ask yourself where you want to put it.

This can give you clues as to the number and size of the pieces to choose.

A set of 5 copper pans can make a real statement in your kitchen if you hang them.

But if your kitchen is small and you only have a tiny place on a shelf, better choose a small « daubière » or a pretty pitcher!

copper cookware from france decor
copper kettle

II. How to clean copper pans?

Don’t worry, you don’t need to keep the outside of the pan free of tarnish.

Generally, just use dish soap, hot water, and a non-scratch sponge to wash your pan.

Dry it carefully, especially around the handle.

Otherwise, if you love the look of a bright copper piece or want to clean copper oxidation, you can use a copper cleaner.

I highly recommend these three products:

earth brite cleaner

The first one is the product I use all the time. You can find it here.

It’s made of natural clay, so it’s 100% natural but just as effective or even more than chemical-made products.

copper pan before and after cleaning

I find it quite magical, it’s the best product I ever use for cleaning copper (I tried so many!).

Also, it can do so much more than just cleaning copper, it’s also perfect for silverware, brass, inox, ceramic, tile, and most modern materials.

You may want to avoid using it for very fragile pieces, as it can be a little abrasive (especially the sponge supplied with it).

Silverware BEFORE cleaning
Silverware BEFORE cleaning
Silverware AFTER cleaning with clay product
Silverware AFTER cleaning with clay product

inox pan before and after cleaning

A burnt inox pan I saved thanks to this magical product

Also, if you can’t find the product above, then you can use these two:

Bistro is quite gentle, perfect for display pieces or to freshen up a piece

Wright’s Copper Cream is great for tough tarnish

No matter what product you use, remember to always rinse and wipe carefully your copper piece after cleaning it.

III. Decorating with copper in kitchens

If you’re on my email list, you must know that I absolutely love copper!

I think there is nothing that can compare to its beauty.

It can really be a game changer in a room.

And this is precisely what happened in my kitchen.

To be honest, this isn’t my favorite room in the house because it’s quite “modern”, and doesn’t have the charm of the old ones at all…

So it was the most difficult room to decorate for me.

I spent hours trying on a decoration, changing it for another, only to tell myself that it was even worse than the first one…

All this without knowing that the solution was right in front of my eyes!!! Or rather in my cellar (yes, I have tons of things in my 1000 ft² cellar!).

Our kitchen BEFORE
Our kitchen BEFORE
Our kitchen AFTER
Our kitchen AFTER

What do you think? A hell of a change, right?

Copper is a magical material.

It pairs well with so many colors and other materials (ceramic, wood, aluminum…), and can make a room warm in the blink of an eye!

When I go to brocantes (French flea markets), copper pieces are the first things I’m looking for.

See how just a little copper can brighten up a kitchen and makes it so inviting?

modern kitchen decorated with copper

Copper is really the #1 element to choose to change a simple kitchen into an authentic French “cuisine”.

Here are 8 ways to add a touch of copper to your kitchen:

1. Copper kitchen faucet

2. Copper kitchen backsplash

copper kitchen backsplash
copper kitchen backsplash

3. Copper kitchen accessories

copper kitchen accessories
copper kitchen accessories

4. Copper kitchen pendant lights

copper kitchen pendant lights

5. Copper kitchen hardware

copper kitchen hardware
copper kitchen hardware

6. Copper kitchen accents

7. Copper kitchen farmhouse sink

copper kitchen farmhouse sink
copper kitchen farmhouse sink

8. Copper kitchen wall decor

copper kitchen wall decor
copper kitchen wall decor

Through time, copper remains a sure value, and it can make all the difference in your kitchen, even the more modern one!

And if you’re into French Country style, I’ve got an exciting adventure lined up just for you!

How about taking a virtual tour of three stunning real French Country homes?

I’ll be right there with you, sharing tips on how to infuse this charming style into your own space.

IV. How to cook with copper Cookware from France?

Is cooking with copper pans different than the other materials?

→ There are just a few things to keep in mind before cooking with copper:

  • You don’t need to heat copper pans as intensely as you do other pans (except for boiling water).

  • Don’t leave an empty copper pan on an active burner (add the oil or butter first)

  • Always use wooden, plastic, silicone, or coated spoons and spatulas.

  • You can use these pieces in your oven, but not above 450 degrees

  • Don’t put copper in your dishwasher

If you want to follow the dream and cook like the French from start to finish, here are some great cookbooks I highly recommend:

In summary

Copper cookware from France is one of the best choices for cooking.

Vintage copper is 100% safe to cook in, as long as it’s lined with tin or another non-reactive metal (only sweet dishes or eggs can be cooked in direct contact with copper).

Cleaning it is easy, just be careful to rinse and wipe it carefully.

And when it comes to choosing your copper piece, always ask yourself what you’re going to do with it!

French copper cookware pin1
French copper cookware pin2

FAQ

Is copper cookware safe ?

Copper cookware is 100% cooking safe as long as the inside is lined. If the inside shows copper spots or verdigris traces, do not cook savory foods with it as this can cause a toxic chemical reaction.

How to polish copper ?

A polish product cleans copper and leaves behind a thin layer that protects the metal against oxidation and tarnish. You can apply polish in small dabs, rub it in circles until it thickens and then wipe it away until the copper shines. A great polish product for copper is Simichrome.

French copper cookware pin1
French copper cookware pin2
mathilde-portrait2
Bonjour! I’m Mathilde, a French girl living in the countryside near the sea. If you’re curious to learn more about me, read my full story.

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