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Cookware

Unboxing my 9-piece set of Navarini Rame tin-lined copper

josemartinlopez | Sep 14, 202006:52 AM     13

My Navarini Rame tin-lined copper skillets, pots and rondeau were shipped some time back, but I got too busy to open all the boxes. I got these via the Archibald London sale. Here are long delayed family photos and thank you again very, very much to kaleokahu, betsy_VA, tim irvine, and so many others for your patience as I thought through this work-from-home purchase.

2.0 mm tin-lined skillets: 16, 22, 26 and 34 cm
2.0 mm tin-lined rounded pots: 12 and 18 cm diameter (8 and 11 cm high)
2.5 mm tin-lined rondeau: 30 cm diameter (10.5 cm high)
2.5 mm tin-lined tall pots: 22 and 26 cm diameter (11 and 12 cm high)

1. Navarini Rame is a small family-run artisanal shop founded in Trento, Italy in 1958, exactly the kind I enjoy supporting. They treasure their shop's history and even have a mini-copper cookware museum I hope to visit one day. It is currently run by Andrea Navarini, who is a joy to correspond with and speaks good English.

2. I am ecstatic to have made the jump to copper while stuck at home during all the social distancing. My skillets heat up near instantly. You clearly have more control over heat and have less accidentally burnt food. Heat distribution is clearly more even. I can simmer or lightly saute on a skillet at the lowest heat setting. You obviously don't need copper, but you do feel a difference.

3. I went with tin-lined because I think there is no point getting stainless-lined and undermine the conductivity. All the comments about the pain of maintaining tin-lined copper are overblown. I just be sure not to heat a pan empty for more than half a minute (but this is certainly fine so as not to heat a pan with cold oil). Tin is fairly nonstick especially with some seasoning. I just bought blue Scotch Brites (for nonstick pans) and handwash the pans, which is what I do with all my pans anyway, since they are in my home and not in a professional kitchen.

I even had a scare where I was boiling water with dishwashing liquid in my most used pan, got distracted and ran back to it when there was a sharp smell of burnt metal in the air. I shut off the heat and it was like the air trapped between the tin and layers of old seasoning expanded and blew out sections of the seasoning. After a lot of scrubbing to check under the seasoning, I saw nothing but perfectly smooth, dulled tin and the skillet survived the abuse intact. I learned my lesson though.

4. I had a long debate on this site on not getting 3.0 mm tin-lined copper. I am actually very happy with 2.0 mm skillets for what I need. Andrea actively discouraged me from ordering thicker pans, although he could readily make them. He explained that 2.0 mm is his most popular thickness for skillets for both home cooks and professional chefs in Europe. There are tradeoffs and 2.0 mm gets you a very sturdy skillet that is very responsive to changes in temperature and light enough to be practical. I can flip vegetables being sauteed, even with the 34 cm with a two-handed grip, and it is a good thing to have skillets that want to be picked up. (2.5 mm is the recommended thickness for the pots specified.)

Thicker skillets can hold more heat (assuming your home burner can produce it) and would distribute heat slightly more evenly. But you get a heavier skillet that is less responsive, and the responsiveness is copper's strong point. Again, Andrea emphasized that 2.0 mm was their choice to balance these characteristics and is what they sell the most of. I do light home cooking like sautes on the skillets, though, and your usage may differ.

5. The handwork on the Navarini skillets and pans is magnificent. The curve on the skillets is perfect and facilitates flipping. The minimalist rivets and simple lines on the skillets and pans are beautiful. The hammering is also beautiful, although the polish is of course immediately lost the first time you heat the pan.

6. The handles are brass and get hot but they have never bothered me. I bought insulated gloves and never used them, and just reach for a dishcloth or towel as they do in restaurants. I do have to remember to cool the handle separately when washing a pan in the sink, before holding the handle again.

7. The 34 cm (about 13.5 in) skillet is an absolute joy to use. I use it to saute vegetables when I want to chop them thinly and make sure the slices are in contact with the oil lining the pan, and other uses where you want such a wide surface such as lightly frying bacon. Again, it is at about the maximum weight that is still comfortable to lift, and you can even flip with a two handed grip. It is definitely sturdy at 2.0 mm thickness and can be used as a club.

8. I cook for one a lot, and the 22 cm (about 8.5 in) skillet has become my main one. It is definitely not too small for two fish fillets, small cuts of steak or chicken breasts (200-300 grams).

9. The 12 cm pot and 16 cm (about 6.5 in) skillet are indulgences for eggs but they make me smile when I use them, so I was happy to get them. The small skillet is actually handy for reheating snack sized portions or a little soup, and can cook a single piece of protein handily with a little crowding. I do not use it as often so try coating it with olive oil to facilitate the nonstick while it is a little new (again, an indulgence).

10. The 26 cm skillet should be the mainstay but I have held off using it. Andrea says he offers 2.0 or 2.5 mm thick copper skillets with 20 micron silver as their premium product, not cheap but they are willing to give a number to their silver thickness and stand by it (as well as their pricing). I am really tempted to get a 26 cm silver-lined skillet to have one such skillet from Navarini for searing steaks, and would love to get people's thoughts on what kind of silver-lined skillet to buy. (The 26 cm silver-lined skillet may end up as a gift for my brother and replaced with silver-lined.)

I have gotten by perfectly using only the 22 cm skillet, and the 34 cm skillet when I want a wider pan to saute.

11. I have not yet used the pots and am thinking of what soups and stews I want to try. Again, I think their heat distribution should be more even and avoid burnt food at the bottoms of soup pots. Curious if people agree or if this is wishful thinking.

12. I think four pots (excluding the tiny one for boiling eggs and sauces) might have been too much as the sizes are not that far apart but life is short.

13. In addition to blue Scotch Brites, you need nicely shaped spatulas and spoons for these. I loved the ones recommended to me here, and use them even with stainless as they are well made. I hit the jackpot with tim irvine's recommendation of LyonWoodDesign (on Etsy) olive wood spatulas, tongs and large spoons and forks. The shape is really convenient and they are sturdy, and I bought one of everything. Betsy_VA recommended a Matfer silicone spatula that really gets under fish (or even fried eggs). VFish recommended really grippy silicon tipped tongs. Navarini also sent me a set what they said were cheap machine made wood utensils from their neighborhood but they are almost as good as the handmade LyonWoodDesign utensils I wonder what their hand crafted stuff is like. Betsy_VA also recommended a striking Blanc Creative wood spatula that costs $75, but I didn't try it.

14. Should I avoid cooking food with a lot of tomato sauce or acid like vinegar in tin lined copper?

Eager for reactions and further thoughts on how to put these to best use. And let me know what you think of 20 micron silver, and whether I should get 2.0 or 2.5 mm copper to be lined with silver, I guess for high heat work I should get 2.5 mm.

Thanks again to everyone here for all their insights and patience, you were a key part of making this happen.

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