Before your Le Creuset cookware reaches your kitchen, it has undergone an incredible journey. All Le Creuset cast-iron cookware is handmade in northern France by expert artisans and blacksmiths.
Le Creuset cast iron cookware starts its cookware life as raw materials. Le Creuset uses their own secret recipe of metal ingredients to create their cast-iron--a mixture of pure pig iron, over 50% recycled steel, iron and other mineral ingredients.
The ingredients are measured and weighed and then transferred to the furnace that is heated to over 1000 degrees Celsius for melting the metals.
Once the metals are melted, they are poured into a "creuset," or melting pot, from which Le Creuset gets its name. The molten iron is then injected into sand molds where it takes on the basic form of whatever cooking vessel Le Creuset is making that day.
When you purchase a piece of Le Creuset cast-iron cookware you are purchasing a one-of-a-kind piece. Each piece is truly individual, because each sand mold is unique. Once the metal has cooled somewhat, each piece is broken free from its sand mold.
At this time, all cast-iron pieces are sanded, deburred and polished to remove any excess sand, metal burrs, rough spots and rough edges.
After the piece has been sanded it goes through a process of shot blasting to remove any oxidization and to create a rough and porous surface to allow a good adhesion of the first clear enamel coat. But before any piece is enameled it goes through a strict quality inspection. If the peace passes inspection, it is sent to the enamel coating part of the factory. However, if it fails inspection is thrown back into the furnace and melted down to be formed again. Only the best products at this stage will go forward to the enameling process.
Each piece of Le Creuset cookware receives three coats of vitreous enamel. The vitreous enamel Le Creuset uses on their cookware is a glass enamel made with a secretive enamel recipe. The first coat of enamel, also called the ground coat seals the iron. The ground coat is a clear enamel that is sprayed onto all surfaces of the cast-iron so that no portion of the cast-iron is unsealed.
The second coat of enamel is applied to the interior of the cast-iron cooking vessel. It is a sand colored enamel intended to make the pot more durable and increased longevity.
The final and third coat of vitreous enamel is a luxurious exterior color, which is often two colors that are gradated for a more beautiful look. This style of painting gives Le Creuset French ovens, pans other items their unique and famous look.
Finally, each piece is air dried and then subjected to an 800°C furnace to bake on the enamel and to vitrify the enamel.