A lot has been written about the dangers of overheating

Gala Placidia Image
10/29/2011 - 06:24

A lot has been written about the dangers of overheating Teflon coated cookware. Toxic fumes can be extremely dangerous for our health. Personally, I have never liked that type of cookware and I do not buy it anymore.
On the other hand, ceramic coated, top stainless steel, even copper (if handled with care) are better materials for cookware.
I particularly love the Italian Piral range of earthenware pots and pans as they are superb.
A long time ago, in the old Forum, we had an excellent discussion about this. As some people have difficulties finding these threads, I thought that it was a good idea to "resurrect" it:
Italy has some great manufacturers of top quality cookware. Besides Piral, I could mention Agnelli, Lagostini and Ruffoni.
My advice would be to start building up a collection of useful pots and pans. Sometimes we are tempted to buy a full cookware set and this is not the best solution for our needs in the kitchen. Many of those pieces end up at the back of our shelves and drawers never to be used. We tend to stick to a few items which we use all the time and we should keep this into consideration when purchasing cookware. Full sets look terrific in photographs, but they are not that useful.
Any recommendations concerning Italian cookware? Which are your favourite pieces?


I think the "Napoletana" is about the most useful (and most used) piece I have. Flip may appreciate that it's also called the 'nfradito'.

I bought a couple of years ago 2 Crafond Pans from a show here in the UK - handcast Italian aluminium with 3 layers of non stick inside the pan itself - so you can cook with no oil/leave things to dry out/burn (not on purpose and then put in water and the contents just slide off the water - no soaking/scrubbing etc We watched a demo of a plastic bag being "cooked" rice left to dry out and burn  - all cleaned in seconds - brilliant with porridge and scrambled eggs the offenders in our house!!  They've got detachable handles so can go in the oven (but don't put in the lids like I did as the rubber at the base of the lid handle will melt!! The large "saucepan type" of thing was £92 and £48 for a small pan - which to me was a fortune for just a pan - however it's one of the best investments ever - we use them everyday and only other pans to boil veg etc Lifetime guarantee - they've had a fair amount of stick from 2 teenagers and still look perfect! Link below and no I'm not on commission! http://www.perfectpans.com/default.asp

For coffee Robert uses the Gaggia, but I have found a stainless steel Mocha pot which does the job just as well, for my favourite coffee, and avoids the aluminium ones...one less health hazard. Sorry Gala the saucepans are German,Meyer and not actually doing that well. Will take note. For frying pans for us and the apartment Lidl italia have an English import which is actually very good for our budget.

We all have favourite items in the kitchen, which are the ones that we use the most as they respond to our needs. The rest end up at the back tot the cupboards. Your cookware sounds great, Dolcevita, my only concern are those non-stick surfaces because of the potential release of perfluorocarbons. Good quality cookware is better protected; however, we have to be careful about high temperatures, harsh washing and the use of the right utensils, preferably silicon, plastic or wood, as scratches are the ones that cause the non-stick surfaces to decompose. A way to create your own non-stick surface is by filling a spray bottle with some olive oil and to spray the cookware before using it. This way, you use less oil (healthier) and it also acts like a non-stick surface. I love multiple use cookware, stove-oven-microwave-fridge. Glass-ceramic cookware from PYROFLAM or PYROSIL , which I think are produced in France, although I have bought a couple of pieces in Italy.

I think you mean "Moka" pot - usually made by Bialetti, Alessi and even Bodum.  They are usually aluminium but can also be stainless steel - unless of course, you meant the "Mukka" - the one that mixes the milk together with the coffee?

Just been looking at the product description - it' says the non stick "stuff' (well it doesn't say "stuff" is inside the pan and then more aluminium and then titanium coated.......does that make it any "healthier" - the word titanium makes it sound like a nuclear device!!!

It is difficult to know if you do not have a brochure that explains it. "Titanium" can refer to a coating of titanium nitrite, but most likely to a coating made of ceramic and titanium (fairly expensive). It can also refer to the strength of the coating. I agree, it sounds like nuclear fusion!!!! As for coffee pots, I think that it is a matter of personal taste and I also think that both the coffee brand we use and the water quality are as important as the pot. I like the "caffettiera moka" that I have and I always try to buy coffee from Sant'Eustachio in Rome, but, to be perfectly honest, I prefer to go to Sant' Eustachio and drink it there. The best in the world!!!! Angie, do not worry, start replacing your pots and pans little by little and do not buy too many. Only the ones that you know that you will use. And Lidl has some very good products, both German and Italian. Simply look at their offers and you may find what you need and want. By the way, I have noticed that Lidl is selling a large amount of Italian products...

"I stand corrected Esme sweet of you to point out my mistake...getting mixed up with Misha my black and white cat, Fresian cow looking call him Mukka, but thats Ok my Italian neighbours totally understand.The pot was from Coal... thats a local Italian supermarket." Do you know what a "Mukka pot" is Angie? They are very good! I guess Coal must be one of the cheaper priced supermarkets - not that I'd know - having never been to Italy in my life, however, I'm pleased your Italian neighbours understand you.  Makes life so much easier don't you think?

You can check relevant information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-stick_pan Basically, they stick the non-stick surface.... if this makes any sense.... Spraying good old olive oil over the surface of the pan produces the same results. And good olive oil stands quite high temperatures without decomposing. Natural and healthier. A good spray bottle (preferably glass) is all what is needed.

If you drive down from Calais/Dunkirk, you could drop in at the Le Crueset Factory Shop near St Quentin.  It is at a place called Fresnoy le Grand - about two and a half hours from the Ports Called in there this Summer.  Instead of the usual Factory prices [20% - 30%  lower than UK prices] they had a Sale on - average saving on UK prices was over 50%

Great information, Alan. Le Creuset cookware is fantastic and you can use it during your lifetime. Also, I guess that the factory will have some discontinued lines. This does not mean that they are useless. Sometimes they do special shapes or colours which they discontinue after a while. This is probably where you get your bargains.