Comments: It was the ribbon tied around the handle that made us fall in love with Staub. The ribbon is not visible outside the package; it did not influence our buying decision. We did not even see it until we opened the package, and then we understood that people who put that much care into an unseen flourish are going to put that kind of care into designing and making their product. We were not mistaken.
Staub's "French oven," or cocotte, is brilliantly made, cooks wonderfully, and, with even benign neglect, will practically last forever. What the rest of the world may call a Dutch oven is an enameled cast-iron pot with lid, that is the classic workhorse for preparing stews, roasts, soups, casseroles, and other one-pot dishes. You can brown meat and sweat vegetables on the stovetop, add the remaining ingredients, put on the lid, and then finish the dish slowly in the oven or keep it on the stovetop over low heat.
The interior of the pot is a black matte enamel, which is resistant to chipping, and does not require seasoning (although the company notes that it will season itself over time, as cooking oils penetrate the surface and create a non-stick surface). The exterior is also enamel, in black or a variety of colors, and will not discolor or rust. The smooth bottom works on all heat sources, including induction. The pot and lid are safe in the oven to 500°F (260°C). There are little nubs on the inside of the lid – self-basting spikes, according to Staub – so that condensation drips down on and bastes whatever you're cooking, rather than just running down the sides of the pan. Staub says this ensures that whatever you're cooking will come out tender and delicious.
In our tests, the French oven performed flawlessly, and it is certainly pretty enough to be served from directly at the table.
The cocotte is dishwasher-safe, but Staub makes the argument that the inside of a dishwasher is a very harsh environment, and over time you will be better served if you wash your pot by hand.