The lid's the thing that makes this new Dutch oven from Calphalon different. No-knead bread bakers will appreciate that the Calphalon handle is built right in to the lid, making it oven safe to 500 degrees without remembering to remove a pesky plastic handle. Also, the lid has "dimples" which are said to collect moisture and rain it back down on foods as they cook, reducing the need for basting. (For those keeping score at home, Staub has a similar system of "spikes", Le Creuset does not.) Dimples or no dimples, price comes up in every Dutch oven discussion around here.
The Calphalon enamel cast iron is priced slightly lower than other high end Dutch ovens, but still cannot compare to the three quart $50 Lodge Dutch oven at Target. Calphalon's five quart round is $129.99. By comparison, a five quart Le Creuset retails for about $199.99 and a similar Staub is about $189.99, but savvy shoppers can always find sales. The Calphalon I tested was chive a.k.a. green. As I pulled it out of the box, the color took me back to the avacado kitchens of my youth, but the green grew on me as I cooked. This fresh green provides contrast against the deep color of the slowly braised beef I made. The pot browned the beef evenly and the coating was easy to clean. The line also comes in cabernet red and custard yellow. Calphalon Enamel Cast Iron is available exclusively at Bed Bath & Beyond until April 30. After that, it will have nationwide distribution at other cookshops.