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Ok, I will admit, I am a total Finest sucker and Tesco probably play on people like myself who will buy anything with the Finest brand name on it when money allows! But the Finest brand is pretty dependable, its costs more than standard Tesco products and sits at the high end of the scale, comparing to Marks & Spencers type products in terms of quality, price and snobbery!
But Tesco have started to get clever (again!) and introduced Finest into their Kitchen Ranges too. They now offer a variety of Tesco Finest Copper Bottom Pans and I couldnt resist splashing out on the whole set for when I get my new kitchen in a year or two's time.
Range of Copper Bottom Pans consists of -
Milk Pan (£10) 16cm Saucepan with Lid (£16) 18cm Saucepan with Lid (£18) 20cm Saucepan with Lid (£19) Stock Pot with Lid (£20) Large Frying Pan (£20)
So you can get the whole set for just over £100. What i did was spread it out over 2 months with the fortnightly shops to spread the cost, as they are all sold individually in the Home and Ware department. They come with a 10 year guarntee as well.
The size of the pans are good, and i really like the Stock Pot which i can do a good sized brisket joint in with veg, and the saucepans are just the right size for doing a full complement of veg too. The frying pan is a tad on the big side, but the milk pan is great for doing sauces and gravy.
Now to explain why copper bottom pans are good to use. The copper base absorbs heat very well and distibutes the heat evenly across the whole pan. Watch your normal pan next time, the heat stays in the centre and does not cook as evenly. Because the copper base also holds heat well, you do not need to use such high ring temperatures either to achieve the same result. In fact there is a wee bit of a knack to using the pans and it pays to practise a couple of times first.
The Frying Pan and Milk Pan come with a Teflon non stick coating. The Saucepans and Stock Pot are not teflon coated, but come with lids. The Stock Pot and larger saucpans come with two handles to make it easier to life them on and off the ring to avoid damaging the base and also witht he weight issue due to the copper. The pans are constructed from Stainless Steel, with a metal handle which can get hot during use so a glove is recommended too, and all the pans have a nice shiny 2 cm thick copper bottom to them. This is stamped with the Finest logo (pure snobbery) and also cooker and washing symbols too.
I find the pans cook very well, and having no Teflon coating is not too much of an issue either on the saucepans. I really enjoy cooking so tend to stay over the cooker most of the time anyway stirring and keeping an eyes on things, so things dont burn onto the stainless steel. They distribute the heat very evenly and i dont have to use as much energy cooking with these pans, so I suppose I am doing a small bit for the enviroment too!
They are made in China, but come with good care instructions (being copper bottomed means you have to be careful about using too high a heat on the pan, lifting them on and off as opposed to sliding them along the cooker and have to clean with care to avoid discolouration / tarnishing). They can be used on all types of Cooker rings, including gas. I found cleaning them was not too much a problem. But you can get various metal care products which would help the copper keep its shine over time if you wanted.
But you could always not use the pans because they are so good, and they would make a nice hanging display in a kitchen - seriously they would!
Naturally you can get all your Clubcard points on them too, as well as the Tesco Customer Service promises you would come to expect.
A couple of possible small issues which could arise with these pans. They do need careful looking after to preserve their apperance and the quality of the base. So if you dont like spending too much time on dishes that could be a problem, but they are dishwasher safe! Also they are heavy pans, which is a good sign of quality. But may cause an issue for people who are not as strong or have weak wrists such as the elderly.
Also, I would dearly love a small frying pan / omlette pan to complete the set but they are not part of the range I am told.
But I love my pans. I have used them a few times but they are back in the cupboard for safe keeping, just in case the Queen comes round for Dinner and i get my new kitchen to display them!