How a German girl living in the us got into italian copper cookware!

Marion's story about finding her Passion for cooking with copper

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It started with a worn, danged up copper pot

I never considered copper pots would have a space in my kitchen. Like everyone else in the 90's I had bought many Teflon coated fry pans that scratched when you just looked at them and you did not think anything about it. You buy a new fry pan, same kind, scratched up after 4 uses. As I grew older I was listening to people telling me that these coated pans are not good for you- all these little particles that are scratched up -when I did not even scratch the pan - landed eventually in my food, not to mention that my food touched aluminum which is a different story!

I switched to enamel fry pans (Made in Germany)- the real deal - and I still own 3 of them and they show almost no sign of wear. I liked to fry in them but I need a lot, and I mean a lot of oil to not have food severely sticking in them. They are very good for hash browns though as the potato gets a crust and then comes loose from the bottom of the pan.

Very delicious. However, lots of oil.... plus the weight of the pan...

 

I switched to other non-stick pans that are made with non-toxic material. Some manufacturer produce their own coating and do not use a main brand anymore and most of them are toxic free. Still, a dark fry pan is not charming on my lighted gas cook top! I also noticed that some fry pans seem to take forever to heat up, especially when I cook on electric even though the stove is new and pretty strong.

 

I don't really remember how I got into the copper cookware but I ended up buying a few old, danged up sauce pans on e-bay. All were in bad condition, having their inner tin lining melted or copper shined through. I also bought a large bunt form pan in Germany as well as an old Foccaccia pan from Italy. None of it was usable. I send it in to have everything re-tinned and polished. Once those were back - the fun began. I started cooking and baking with them.

 

Old Copper Pan
Old Copper Pan

 

What got me hooked....

So I now own a selection of old copper pots and pans that are re-tinned and re-conditioned. I love cooking in these as they react to heat a second after you start the burner. I have yet to bake a pizza in a pizza oven (which I don't own just yet), bakers in Italy use these forms to bake their pizza the whole day long in very hot ovens and nothing happens to the tin.

I use a very small sauce pan with an iron handle every day to heat my milk/chocolate milk mix for my cappuccino (I know, Italians would not drink chocolate foam but they should try it....) and while the mixture would burn in a regular stainless steel pot it rarely does in tin lined copper. Even if the chocolate part of the milk sticks a little bit on the bottom it is cleaned easy under running hot water- no scrubbing.

 

Cooking with copper- the real thing!

Consider cooking with tin lined copper- do buy the real thing! Don't go for copper that is lined with steel or something else as it is just like buying a yacht but you have to row yourself! Don't freak out that you have to wash these items by hands- that is how you love them.

Always be gentle when stirring - use proper tools like rubber, silicone or wooden tools. There are seriously good looking wooden gadgets available made from olive or walnut wood. Oil these and you will almost not use these for cooking as you think they are too pretty! When you cook with tin-lined copper you should never start the flame with an empty pot. Always use a little oil or butter and place your food in it. You will notice that almost immediately the sizzling starts, given you have turned on your stove!

If you cook on gas it does not matter how thick your copper is, could be only 1 mm as your pot stands on a grid and not on a plane surface. When you cook on a plane surface such as glass ceran, you want 2 mm or more to not let the pot warp and roll around. However, the heat conductivity on copper pots is the same, no matter if you use 1 mm or 3 mm, your eggs don't fry faster....

 

I finally found it - the absolute best copper cookware I have ever cooked with!

All my copper enthusiasm led me to explore copper manufacturer which are not many left. Luckily I found an traditional family owned company in Alto-Adige/ South Tyrol in Italy that still traditionally manufacturers each copper item by hand!

The Navarini family are 3 Generations and all of them are still working in the shop. I had visited them last year while I was in Italy. I must say I missed my mark in life- I would have loved to manufacture such beautiful art by hand.

Well, I can still learn something I guess....

Old Copper Pan

 

If you happen to be in New York you need to visit....

Giovanni Rana's restaurant for his homemade pasta. He has displayed all his copper cookware throughout the restaurant. All of those pots are handmade by Navarini in Ravina, Italy.

www.rananyc.com
Old Copper Pan