Cousances was a French Cast Iron Manufacturer whose history started in 1553. They were one of the oldest cast iron manufacturer in the world until they were bought by Le Creuset in 1957. Today, Le Creuset makes their cookware in Cousances original foundry/factory. Prior to being acquired, Cousances Dutch Oven was one the best Enamel Cast Iron Dutch oven you can buy. Le Creuset, being in their infant years, competed with them. This review will go in depth on the differences between a vintage Cousances Dutch Oven and a modern day equivalent, Le Creuset Doufeu.
Where to Buy Cousances
Part of the reason why Cousances is so unrecognizable these day is simply because they are as readily sold. The only places you can purchase them are at outlets and online store. Because of this, I doubt that Le Creuset really have much incentive to market the brand to the North American market. Nevertheless, you can still purchase the older pots on Ebay, they are a lot more affordable but used. You might be able to find them on Amazon but I doubt it.
Cousances Dutch Oven Design
Cousances Rounded Handle
This is one of the key marking of a Cousances dutch oven. Instead of a square or angular handle like most cast iron manufacturer, Cousances has a rounded handle that gives it a smooth transitional. The curve actually fits the palm of your hand comfortably. However, the opening is very narrow and my knuckles would constantly hit the side of the pot. This is something that a Modern Day Le Creuset remedied.
Looking at the handle, it is very similar to Le Creuset Doufeu Dutch Oven Design. Both of them has the same sort of curved handle. What is even more interesting is that if you search for Cousances, you can find their own version of the Doufeu. The only differences I see are the markings and the grilled bottom of the pot.
I am not too verse on the history of Cousances so I cannot tell who copied who. Since Le Creuset owns all of Cousances design, it wouldn’t surprise me if Le Creuset just adopted it as their own design. Either way, they are almost identical.
Cousances Dutch Oven Lid
The lid is something that is subtly different from Le Creuset. On the Le Creuset model, you will see circular lines across the top. On it, their logo engraving are usually on it. For Cousances, it is bare of any marking. It is a smooth seamless design. This is great for all those minimalist out there, it does have its own charm.
The knob is also something that is very interesting. Cousances lid is actually metal, but the there is a cap on top of it that says Cousances. I did not remove it in fear of it crumpling. If you grip it, your hand will come in contact with the metal portion so use a towel when you are handling. In fact, it gives you a false sense of security. I recommend replacing it if you are fine with modifying it.
The enamel coating is very similar to the design that Le Creuset use to have. The bottom is bare cast iron, while the side and the interior are coated. The interior is a cream color that will change in appearance over time. Newer Le Creuset Dutch have the bottom coated in Enamel.
There is a considerable amount of orange peel on the paint. Although, I cant really tell if its due to the cast iron or is it due to the paint job. Either way, it looks poorly done.
The lip on these dutch oven are not coated in enamel. Note the reason why this is done is to prevent the lid from fusing with the pot at higher temperature. There are often arguments about it being matte enamel, this is not true at all.
Cousances Dutch Oven Colors
The variety of colors on the Couscanes model is simply not as extensive as Le Creuset. Which is understandable as Le Creuset would be more interested in developing for their top seller. You can still find some very desirable color on the Couscanes model though. The one that I have is a beautiful brown. But I also seem Blue, Red and Flame that is very similar or the same as Le Creuset. I would say that the brown is one of the exclusive color that Cousances have.
Chipping and Cracking
The Couscanes Dutch Oven I have is over 30 year old and I do not see any sign of chipping or cracking on the Enamel. You can be assure of its durability. As opposed to my Tranmoniata pot that chipped after one of two month of owning it.
Fit and Finish
The fit and finish is good for a Enamel Dutch oven. Other than the paint rippling issue, which annoys me, everything else is fine. The newer Le Creuset Dutch Oven Enamel coating has less of a orange peel but its still there. Staub have even less of a orange peel and I personally like theirs better.
Note:These measurement are done by me with the tools that I have on hand. The manufacturers have their own measurement guidelines and that should be assumed to be accurate. What I find on this review can vary widely due to several factors, such as ambient temperature, location, water, tool calibration, stove btu, etc..and should only be considered as my opinion.
Weight 3800 g
Height: Around 4.75 inch
Diameter: Around 10.65 inch
Thickness: Around 3.45-3.50 mm
It’s pretty much the same thing. The fit and finish is a little better on a modern Le Creuset Dutch Oven. I also like how Le Creuset dutch oven handle is wide and it can accommodate my fingers. I recommend you get one that is either cheaper or in a color that you like.
As stated before, you might have some issues finding couscanes for sale online. Your best buy is at ebay and its one of the best bargain for vintage enamel Cast iron cookware. If the Couscanes name does not really matter to you, Le Creuset is more readily available and in a wider array of colors.
I hope you like this Cousances Dutch Oven Review, If you would like to see more, please visit our Pots and Pans Review page.