For over a decade I’ve stocked my kitchen with vintage essentials like Pyrex bowls, flatware, cooking utensils, pots and pans, sets of dishes, drinking glasses and linens mostly hand-picked from local yard and estate sales. I have purchased a few vintage cast iron pieces on ebay over the years like my 1920s Griswold cast iron waffle maker.
Overall I have invested a great deal of time but very little cash on high quality made-in-the-USA things. That’s why the concept of buying BRAND NEW *and* expensive beautifully colored cast iron pieces by Le Creuset seemed extremely extravagant. I have never spent or budgeted hundreds of dollars for a single piece of cookware.
I added a Soleil Le Creuset 6.75 quart Dutch oven to my Amazon wish list sometime this spring. Last week I went ahead and ordered it! I was hoping it would be large enough for a small turkey based upon the measurements, not just a chicken, but realized once it arrived that it would be too small. Also, some of the yellow enamel over raised lettering was thin so that close up it looked like they had tiny black polka dots. I contacted Le Creuset and they said that is a normal variation since each piece is made by fifteen people. Thinking it would be better to shop for one in person, I looked online and discovered that there’s a Le Creuset outlet less than an hour away in Kittery!
Wayne and I made a fun trip out of it and took the scenic route through coastal Maine.
We watched waves crash at Perkins Cove in Ogunquit and soaked in the incredible views at Nubble Headlight in Cape Neddick.
We arrived at the outlet in Kittery shortly after they opened. Wayne and I shared a cup of complimentary hot spiced local apple cider. Mmmmmmm
It’s like a candy store for cooks!
Pretty colors and lots of discounts!
So much to see.
This was an outlet exclusive color–it’s glittered!?
How cool are those store cards??
So here’s what happened. I bought two gorgeous pieces at an insane discount and returned the unused 6.75 QT Dutch oven from Amazon.
The returned 6.75 QT oval Dutch oven from Amazon had cost me $349.95. I bought a brand new 9.5 QT Flame oval Dutch oven (priced at Amazon and Le Creuset for $425.95) at the outlet on sale for $180 because it has a tiny superficial scratch under the handle. That’s a savings of $245.95! I also bought a brand new first quality discontinued 2.75 QT Flame saucepan for $170. That’s TWO new pieces, one of which is WAY larger than the original and will fit a small turkey, for the price of the one I had originally purchased! They do come with the same lifetime warranty! At this point we’re clearly making money. Yeah, OK. ; )
The outlet did not have any pieces in Soleil, and I still wanted something in that color that I could use often, so I ordered a new Soleil round 5.5 QT cast iron Dutch oven from Amazon for cooking large batches of tomato sauces, soups and stews. Although I have a 1950s cast iron Dutch oven
I use for baked beans and popcorn, the bottom is warped (it was like that when I bought it second-hand) and tomatoes and cast iron don’t always play well together because of the acidity. The biggest selling point is that the bright yellow is like sunshine and will certainly be color therapy as I cook my way thought the long Maine winters!
There is a very small “chip” near the rim of the oven I ordered from Amazon. It looks like a tiny place where the enamel didn’t set. I contacted Le Creuset and again they said that can happen and doesn’t affect the performance or warranty. I contacted Amazon and they offered me a 15% ($48) discount if I wanted to keep it instead of sending it back. Done! Last night I gave it its first test drive.
I made a pot roast stew with organic beef, chopped onions and the final harvest from our garden.
Compared to my stainless vintage Revere Ware Dutch oven, I was able to keep a steady simmering heat on a much lower setting. Shown above is what the pot looked like after a few hours of cooking and half of the stew served. See all of the tomato residue cooked on the sides?
It’s shiny and bright after a one minute hand wash. (See the tiny chip?)
Fresh out of their boxes!
I’m really excited for Thanksgiving, now. My new Dutch oven is much sexier than the aluminum supermarket pans I had used for turkey in the past. I’m also looking forward to cooking more colorfully!