If you love Le Creuset, but don't want to pay the high price for a large soup pot, then definitely give Mario Batali's version a try. I bought the 6 quart pot because I needed something bigger for the homemade soups I create at least once a week. I also wanted something that was attractive enough to go from stove to table. After pricing the larger versions of my Le Creuset I discovered this persimmon beauty at Amazon. It looked beautiful and the price was an amazing $99.99.
This is the ideal pot for your slow simmering soups or stews. The lids seal tightly creating a superb environment for bringing the maximum flavors to slow cooked foods. One feature these pots have that Le Creuset doesn't, are little knobs in the lids to enhance self basting of slow cooked foods like pot roast. Though not as heavy as Le Creuset, these pots stand up well, travelling from freezer to oven to table with ease.
The cream enamel interiors clean up easily and quickly. The cast iron core makes for good temperature conduction and even heating. Mario Batali offers his pieces in a limited variety of colors: Persimmon, Pesto, Espresso Brown and Chianti for the soup pots. The pots carry a limited lifetime warranty, and a 16 page Mario Battali cookbook is included with purchase. The self looping handles make lifting this cookware effortless.
The gorgeous enamel exterior does well up to 500 degrees in the oven with no discoloration or scorching. A pot this size can fricassee two chickens easily or handle a 5 pound pot roast without squeezing it in. Your soups and stews will look gorgeous served from this pot. It says in the packing materials that this particular pot is dishwasher safe. But in actuality, this piece does better with handwashing in hot soapy water, dried and put away.
With care this pot should last for many many years. It is best used on medium heat to avoid discoloration of the enamel surfaces. And because I've not tested the surface enamel by using metal spoons while cooking with it, I cannot say with any confidence that using them might not eventually create crazes in its surface. Using wooden spoons is a safe bet for a pot like this, especially if you want to keep it for a very long time.
With the Holidays right around the corner, Mario Batali's Italian 6 Quart pot would make a perfect gift for anyone who loves slow cooking.