After watching molten cast iron being dramatically poured into cauldrons (winningly referred to as "ladles") and molded into cocottes at the Staub foundry in Merville, France, stepping into the enameling area was like entering a science lab. Well, a science lab run by your favorite art teacher. This enameling step is where color comes into play: Pigment is mixed with shards of glass called "frits," crushed into a powder, watered to make a slurry, and sprayed onto the inside and outside of each cast iron pot by a worker before being fired in a kiln. Once coated a few times and cooled, each cocotte gets a glinting metal handle on the lid—applied one at a time, all by hand.
We'd gone all the way to Merville to watch this foundry in action mainly, and simply, because we love Staub's cookware. But there was another reason, too: Today marks the launch of Food52 x Staub, our exclusive line of navy blue enameled cast iron pots outfitted with warm, glinting brass handles.
You'll have to stay tuned to see every step of the process in the life of a cocotte, but we're sharing a little glimpse in the video below in celebration of today's exclusive launch. And read on to hear why, precisely, we love this enameled cast iron cookware.
Every exposed inch of a Staub cocotte is enameled by the process mentioned above: The inside gets a coat with black pigment and a matte finish, while the exterior features a color and a glossy finish. That means the surface you're cooking on is actually a thin layer of highly-functional glass enameling—it has all the strength of cast iron, but none of the tedium of maintaining it. Here's why we love cooking with it:
Stay tuned for our big behind-the-scenes reveal, and find our entire new line of blue and brass Staub in the Food52 Shop!