Emile Henry + Gilt Groupe = Classy Not Pricey!

I've been on the hunt for the most beautiful and financially savvy options for bakeware while stocking my kitchen.  After much analysis, product reviews, and ad-nauseam deliberation I finally decided on (deliciously classy red) clay/stone bakeware as my kitchen quest of choice.  A couple of reasons...

  1. They are often freezer to oven to table ready, making the entire process enjoyable and involving less clutter and dish washing
  2. They are nearly always dishwasher safe (undebatable requirement for me)
  3. The duration of their lifespan is often unmatched
  4. No concerns about uneven heating, random rusting, warping, and the many other unusual experiences I've had with my past truly "bargain" bakeware
This is where things got serious for my mission to stay classy (hello beautiful bakeware!) but not pricey.  That last part was going to be a real challenge if I wasn't extremely diligent and careful about my buying process.

First, I needed to choose a brand.  One quick perusing of the kitchen section at Target gave me a good idea of some starting points for the items I liked at a reasonable price.  Take this pan at Target for example:

Price: $25. Dimensions: 8x8.  Warranty - none specified.  Oven safe up to ? degrees, but also freezer safe.  Decently good looking.  Matching items: plenty. Mental note made. 

I then researched the highest end of the spectrum, wanting to understand the reason for the differences in price and what I may be up against in acquiring a complete set.  Any discerning brand lover for kitchen items knows Le Creuset is one of the coveted creme-dela-creme options, so I happily switched to perusing Le Creuset online and found a comparable dish here.
Price: $40. Dimensions: 8.5x8.5. Warranty: Limited 5 Year.  Temperature handing: Unmatched -65ºF to 500ºF.  Temptingly good looking.  Matching items: Nearly dangerous numbers.  French. Mental note #2.

Looking over the entire inventory, though, to have a complete set of bakeware, I would be looking at spending, well, hundreds.  So I decided to look a little harder into some comparable choices to Le Creuset.  In my search, I discovered the fantastic collection of Emile Henry.  Here is the comparable baking dish:

Price: $45. Dimensions: 8.5 x 8.5. Warranty: 10 Year Guarantee.  Temperature handing: -0ºF to 500ºF.  Red inside (meaning less potential for staining).  Matching items: Same as Le Creuset.  Equally French.

The price on this item was a little stunning to me, seeing it was more expensive than the Le Creuset equivalent.  When I looked further, the unbeatable warranty and the heat conduction/retention of the clay used in construction were both unmatched, and I liked the modern look of the design and matching pieces.  So my "watchlist for kitchen deals" were focused on Le Creuset or Emile Henry. After all, I would probably keep my purchases for a long time, and saw the quality worth the investment if the right discount came along.

Drumroll please...

Enter my (carefully developed) obsession with Gilt Groupe!  Last week there was an incredible "French Kitchen" sale that hosted many fine French brands - Emile Henry included!  And of course, I absolutely took advantage of the insane deals. (UPDATE AS OF FEB 28, 2012 - Emile Henry is on sale again on Gilt HERE under Home Sales - A Baker's Kitchen through March 2, 2012!!)

For two pie pans, two loaf pans, two square dishes, and a large salad bowl (also bakeware), the retail prices as quoted on the Emile Henry Website (and compared across the web) would have totalled $290.  Through Gilt's sale I paid only $140!  That's a savings of $150, or nearly 52%!  And to round out the collection, I purchased the Emile Henry Roaster at Bed Bath and Beyond with a 20% of coupon for $45 less than the retail price, giving me a full set of bakeware (the roaster is also for lasagnas... yes, my husband eats THAT MUCH) for the same price that I would have spent at Target for a set of far lesser quality.

Moral of the story - research your brands, compare for durability, look at the value of a solid warranty, and wait patiently for the right moment to buy.  That's my story, and I'm so proud to stick to it as I put away my amazingly classy and not (for me) pricey finds.  Cheers!
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