Comments: Can you put a price on beauty? Of course – we often must. But there are also times when almost everyone splurges (and not always on practical things). This pan, and its sibling cookware, requires a serious splurge but it is inherently practical if you really cook.
In a world of great pans, there is no better conductor than copper, and – even with beauty being in the eye of the beholder – there is arguably no cookware that looks better than copper.
There are lots of pans on the market that include a disk of copper sandwiched among other metals in the bottom – often showing through to give the impression that "you're really cooking with copper here," whether or not you receive any practical cooking benefit from the modest copper disk (the jury is still out at Ochef). But Mauviel's M'heritage line is 90% copper lined with 10% stainless steel, so in addition to the beauty, you're getting the great responsiveness to heat for which copper is famous.
Except for sugar pots, copper is never unlined. It used to be lined with tin, which required occasional relining. Switching to a stainless steel lining did away with a certain level of maintenance. But don't kid yourself – there is still maintenance involved. With exposure to heat, water, even air, copper will dull and develop a patina. If you want to keep the surfaces bright and shiny, not only must you wash the pans by hand (always wash them by hand), but you have to polish them regularly with Copperbrill cleaner or another copper polish, which also is not inexpensive and requires some effort.
In our tests, the pan performed brilliantly. The cast stainless steel handle is a little short and angles up fairly high, so it is close enough to the heat source that you need to take care every time you reach for the handle. The lid is nice and gorgeous, but with a pan this small, how often do you need a lid? A lid may be more practical for the larger pans. You must use an interface disk if you want to use this or any non-magnetic pan on an induction cooktop.
We are a little conflicted. We're sure people buy this cookware just to show off and seldom or never cook with it, which is great for the manufacturer and retailers, but, from our perspective, such a waste, because these pans are at the apex of cookware. There are probably also people who buy it but are frustrated with the work of keeping it shiny. Are there people who make the initial investment, use the pan as God intended, and are either happy to put in the effort to keep it shiny-new or are happy to let it "weather" to a still-beautiful, but not-so-shiny patina? Those are the people we think should be steered towards these exceptional pans. (We're in the weather-but-still-beautiful category, in case you were thinking of giving us a gift).