I managed to get my hands on some Fontignac enamelled cast iron cocottes/french ovens. I did some research online and found out that Fontignac is a sister company of Staub. While I realize the Fontignac DIVA line is not the top line on the Fontignac side and so most likely isn't on par with the Staub line, I'm thinking that the performance is probably pretty close amongst them and also probably comparable to Le Creuset as well. These cocottes/french ovens are made in France and it seems like brand has been around since 1926. The interesting thing is that it seems like the Fontignac brand is not very popular in North America. I've only found one Canadian site the sells Fontignac products and pretty much no one in the US.
I purchased 3 of these pots - the 24cm / 4.25 qt round for $90 CDN, the 28 cm /5 qt round for $100 CDN and the 31 cm / 6.25 qt oval for $110 CDN. From what I can tell, they do not appear to be factory seconds. I'm wondering if they are a good deal (ie. whether I should keep them or return them). My instincts tell me it's a good deal considering the price I paid for them and they are probably of decent quality since they are made in France unlike the Mario Batali stuff that's made in China. Any thoughts?
My other dilemma is whether I should keep all 3 of them or just 2 of them, and if only 2, which 2. I don't really know if I need all 3 of them. I mostly usually only cook for myself and sometimes one other person, although I usually prepare enough to last a couple of meals. On occasion I'd have my parents over so that'd mean cooking for 3-4 people with some leftovers. This is my first time buying enamelled cast iron cookware so I'm not familiar with all its intended uses. I was initially only intending to buy a small round one for making stews/braising and I wanted something that I could put in the oven after browning the meat. I've had my eye on a Le Creuset for a long time. Currently I'm just using cheap cookware (t-fal and revere pot sets that my parents gave me as a house warming present). One day I'd like to invest in a good set of stainless steel cookware such as All-Clad. Hence, I wasn't really intending to buy a whole set of cast iron cookware. I was more intending to buy a piece or two of cast iron cookware to augment the stainless steel set I intend to buy one day. I know good quality pots last a lifetime and hence, wanted to buy something that I would be happy keeping for a long time. However, I stumbled upon these and luckily was able to find the 3 pots in the same color. I know the prices are really good... if I recall correctly even in a Le Creuset factory store/outlet I wouldn't even be able to get a 3.5 qt factory second pot for less than $150 US. So now the question is whether I need all 3 of them? It is tempting from a price point of view as it would cost that much just to buy 1 Le Creuset at the regular price for what I paid for all 3 of them.
My other question is what are the pros and cons between the round and the oval shape? I'm guessing the oval shape is meant more for roasts etc?
Ultimately, I'm looking for good quality, versatile cookware... and if I can find it at a good price, that's a bonus! Any input or advice you can provide regarding the quality and the size of these pots would be much appreciated.
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