If there’s such a thing as culinary gold, it’s copper. From France to Mexico to India, copper has been used in the making of cookware for centuries, and it continues to be popular today because it is a rare material that provides immediate feedback. Reduce heat to a simmer, and your stew follows suit instantly; bring it up to a boil and it does not hesitate for a moment. This heat responsiveness can make or (literally) break a number of foods, from egg-based sauces to caramel. ‘I’m always surprised by the quickness,’ says Anne, our Borough store manager, ‘though I’ve had my copper saute casserole for seven years.’
So more copper means more heat conductivity, right? Yes. But does more copper mean a better pan? No. There’s a sweet spot where you need just enough copper for supreme heat conductivity, but not so much that the pan becomes too heavy for moving between burners, the oven, the table, and the sink (no dishwasher for copper, ever).
That’s why Mauviel made the M’200 range. With 2mm of copper, instead of the more traditional 2.5mm, they have scaled back the copper just enough to make a minuscule difference in heat retention but a big difference in manoeuvrability. Note that we said heat retention, not responsiveness. That's because Mauviel found that using less copper improved heat responsiveness. With less metal for heat to pass through, 2mm is the ideal thickness where the advantage of extra copper is visible but not working against the heat source.
'Extra metal might provide a bit of insurance if you, say, leave the kitchen to answer a phone call, and leave a dish burning for too long,' says Borough Market Store Manager Anne. But if you then reduce the heat, it would take more time for the heat to slow down. The benefit of less metal is that the message passes from heat to pan faster, while having more metal means more durability. With that extra metal being made out of copper, you have the advantage of both quicker heat responsiveness and extra durability—that's what makes the M'200 range special. It has just the right amount of copper.
This is not to say that an M’200 pan is light—it feels very substantial when you lift it and it is extremely durable. The M’200 is Mauviel’s professional range, designed to withstand restaurant-level use and last a lifetime. Bonus: Since these pans are lined with stainless steel, you will never need to send them away for re-tinning.
What does the ‘CI’ mean?
The ‘CI’ in Mauviel M’200CI stands for cast iron, which is the traditional handle for copper pots and pans. This lends it an old-world aesthetic that Mauviel collectors will be thrilled to see, as the company hasn’t featured cast iron handles in six years. Do note that cast iron handles get very hot after eight minutes of use on the hob, so make sure to use a tea towel after this time frame, or when using an M’200CI pan in the oven. Short handles should always be handled with care using a tea towel.
The material of a pan's handle ultimately comes down to personal preference, but cooks who prefer cast iron handles, such as our Purchasing Manager Josh, say it is because the more textured material of cast iron provides a more secure grip than smoother metals. While cast iron handles do tend to get very hot, because the copper conducts heat so efficiently, you rarely need to go above low-to-medium temperatures. This means the handles rarely have the opportunity to become unbearably hot (keep a tea towel nearby in any case).
Which Mauviel Copper Is Right For You?
The M’200CI range is ideal for professional use. So if you plan on using your copper pans regularly, and you enjoy the sensation of handling a heavier pan, then it’s right for you. The thicker metal makes it better for hot AGA burners and high-burning hobs, ensuring it will not warp. It’s also the range to get when you want the traditional cast iron handle. Shop here.
The M’150 range has .5mm less copper, which means it is lighter than the M’200 but not as hard-wearing. If you prefer the lightness of these pans, and only plan to use them for domestic use, then it is a better choice for you. The M’150 range also comes with stainless steel handles, which will stay cooler for longer as you cook, as well as bronze handles, which heat up quickly but look undeniably gorgeous. Shop M'150S here and M'150B here.
Neither the M’200 nor M’150 ranges work on induction hobs, as copper is not a ferritic (magnetic) material. If you have an induction hob or expect to move to a home with an induction hob, Mauviel’s M’6 range is the way to go. With alternating layers of stainless steel and aluminium surrounded by a coating of copper, plus curved rims for easy pouring and stainless steel handles, it is very user-friendly. Like other Mauviel copper pans, it is made to last a lifetime—and never, ever be placed in the dishwasher! Shop here.