The Best Way to Gift Le Creuset for Less Than $25
This sweet gift will come in handy in many ways.
Le Creuset is well-known for their durable and beautiful Dutch ovens, but I’m here to make the case for something that comes in a much smaller package. Meet the Le Creuset mini cocotte. It's designed to bake individual portions of just about anything, but I’ve discovered that they go way beyond casseroles and crumbles.
I received a set of four as a birthday gift from a dear friend, who had thoughtfully selected the Marseille shade knowing I was obsessed with all things French. And though it felt like an incredibly special gift, looking at the images on the box I couldn’t help but wonder: When am I ever going to make individual French onion soup anyway? I was living in New York City at the time, didn’t have much kitchen space, but each time I packed and moved apartments and later, states, I’d peek into their box and the sight of them alone brought a smile to my face.
Since then, I’ve found ways to enjoy my mini cocottes daily instead of relegating them to "special occasion" status. One serves as a dedicated salt bowl near my stove, and the lid helps to keep moisture at bay and unwanted cooking smells or splatters away. I’ve quickly discovered that they make excellent prep bowls for holding measured spices or small quantities of prepped ingredients. My new favorite way to use them is to confit batches of garlic or shallots to have on hand for sauces and dressings or smushing on toast with crumbled cheese for a no-fuss supper.
Since I’ve been eating and cooking a lot more at home these days (haven’t we all?), I’m inspired to put the mini cocottes to good use this holiday season too. Using them as serveware immediately ups the fancy factor with little effort. Fill one or two with roasted nuts, pickles or preserves to accompany a charcuterie and cheese board or nestle one on a bed of crushed ice to anchor a shellfish platter and fill it with lemon wedges or mignonette. You can sub them in anywhere you’d use a small bowl, as with soup or ice cream, or in place of a ramekin, like for garnishes, dips, butter or spreads. And they make great candy dishes whether you’re filling them with candy corn or candy canes. And if ever there was a time to finally making individual servings of French onion soup, or baked eggs, potato gratin or pot de creme, for that matter, this is it. Plus, the dishes go straight from the oven to the table and can even store leftovers in the fridge or freezer.
These mini cocottes are also a go-to gift giving option, particularly for the home cook who seems to have everything. You can pick from nearly two dozen colors when you buy them individually (especially great if you want to mix and match), or purchase them as a set of four, which comes with a Le Creuset Mini Cocotte cookbook. Just in case you need more inspiration.