I can honestly say that my wife and I have never used cookware that is of higher quality than this Anolon Nouvelle 10-Piece Cookware Set. We received a set of Emeril Hard Anodized Nonstick Fry Pans (8" and 12") as a gift recently and though decent, the difference in quality is readily apparent. The handles are thin and heat up, and the pans are thinner and cook less evenly. Comparatively the Anolon Nouvelle cookware is thicker with layered bases for even heating and have the best handles I've ever had the pleasure to take a hold of. They are thick and easy to grip, and the ends stay cool even if the pan or skillet has been sitting on the heat for a while, eliminating the need to use pot-holders. Even the smaller stockpot handles remain cool enough to pick up the pot when cooking (i.e. spaghetti). The bases where the handles meet the pots do warm up a little though.
I've had this set for just under two months, but we do not eat out and everything is home made so this cookware set has undergone a trial by fire, as it were. We've made a variety of dishes on our glass top stove and everything has been cooked to perfection. Water boils rapidly in this cookware, perhaps due to the double full cap bases. Cooking is even too - in the pancake test, all of the pancakes were evenly browned the same hue. Rice, stir-frys, spaghetti, soups, sauces, veggies, fried foods -- they all are easy to prepare properly with the Anolon Nouvelle set. That isn't to say that they'll keep overcooking from spoiling a meal but it seems hard to do wrong with them. Directions do not recommend cooking with anything higher than medium heat, but we haven't had any issues occasionally going higher. The tight fitting lids help keep dishes from boiling over and lock in the steam to help keep them from drying out. Lids on or off, these are very attractive looking pots and pans. We have a pot-rack, and hanging the Anolons from it gives the kitchen a more elegant look.
I intentionally left some sauce in a pot on medium heat even after we were done making a meal. It dried up and stuck to the bottom and sides and looked like it would be a hassle to clean up. I poured some water and detergent into the pot and let it sit for a while. When I came back to clean it, it wiped off easily. I'm really impressed with the nonstick coating on this set, it just works. The DuPont's Autograph 2 Teflon coating is supposedly the best currently used by Anolon. The flush nonstick rivets are another nice touch. Note: this set is not dishwasher safe. I've re-heated food in the oven a couple of times with no problems, though I doubt I'll ever test the 500 degree limit.
I can't quite give it a +5 Rating for few reasons. The steep price tag may dissuade a casual buyer, though you are paying for a quality product that should last at least five years. You have to decide if a set in this range is what you need. Casual cooks may not need cookware so sturdy. With the amount my family cooks, these will be a good value. Chefs who prefer glass lids will need to look elsewhere. I also wish a 12" skillet was included in the set, but the 10" can handle most of what we'd need the other for. With 6 pans (and 4 lids) in the most common sizes, this set should be able to handle everything except some specialty dishes. The pots are slightly heavier than others I have used, but their sturdy handles make them easy to maneuver and lift.
I am very pleased with how the Anolon Nouvelle set has performed so far and look forward to creating many more mouth watering dishes in them well into the future. If any durability issues arise, I will be sure to append this review to make note of them.
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