Le Creuset – Flame Kitchenwear

Le Creu 5

A number of years ago turning twenty-one was a big deal. Even though I benefitted from the 1970 reduction of the the age of majority from twenty-one to eighteen, in June 1979, my parents hosted an amazing forty-eight hour 21st house party to celebrate.

I received some amazing gifts but at the time two, a larger and a smaller, orange (called “Flame”) Le Creuset saucepans seemed a little odd. They were a gift from my Great Aunt Molly – a huge favourite of mine – who regular readers may remember from my Mini post – to refresh your memories please see here – Mini – the best selling car in Britain

My Aunt, with her usual style, said to me flicking the ash from a Consulate Menthol, that I may not appreciate her gift right away but in years to come she assured me they would be more reliable than virtually anything. Of course, she was right. Aside from the odd chip, some rust and engrained burned milk they are virtually as good today as when they were given to me – nearly forty years ago!

So who makes these iconic and tough heavyweight saucepans? The Le Creuset (French for “cauldron”) business was founded in 1925 in the Northern French town of Fresnoy-le-Grand (Picardy) by two Belgians, Armand Desaegher, a casting specialist and Octave Aubecq  an enamelling specialist. They produced their first “cocotte” (casserole pan) the same year. The signature colour of Flame enamel glaze was used for the first time with their first production run and it is said that this colour derived from the molten cast iron used for its manufacture. Current owner Paul Van Zuydam purchased the Le Creuset business in 1987.

Le Creu 1

Raymond Loewy, the renowned French-born American industrial designer, produced a range of iconic and highly collectable  for Le Creuset in the 1950’s.
Le_Creuset
Since the mid-1990’s Le Creuset have extended their brand and ranges with the addition of new products in stainless steel, stoneware, enamel on steel, textiles and aluminium. The beautiful colours now offered are vibrant. The salt and pepper grinders, kettles, ramekins and coffee mugs are also reflective of the wonderful traditions of Le Creuset.
Whilst some production occurs in China and Thailand, we are told all Le Creuset cast iron cookware is still manufactured in the company’s foundry in Fresnoy-le-Grand using their 12 step finishing process to ensure there no flaws or imperfections in the final product. My only advise is to ensure you don’t use metal utensils when stirring your killer sauce. The metal will scratch the internal surface of the pan and invalidate the Limited Lifetime Warranty – always use wood or silicone kitchen utensils.
As a keen cook I can highly recommend these amazing products. If you’d like to add to your kitchen can I suggest that you click the following AMAZON link to a variety of Le Creuset’s products:

Le Creuset Stoneware Rainbow Egg Cups – Multicolour, Set of 6
Le Creuset Stoneware Rainbow Espresso Mugs – Set of 6

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Image credits – Le Creuset

 

VéloSolex moped

Solex 2

Increasingly dependent on getting from A to B as quickly as possible I have noticed a rise in commuters using electrically operated bicycles and small motorized scooters. They seem to offer limited comfort and even less protection for the rider who, for an inexplicable reason, think they have the power of a large Harley, BMW or Honda at their fingertips and get themselves into precarious positions on the road causing much frustration to others.

In a far gentler era the predecessor of these street demons was VéloSoleX or more frequently referred to as a Solex which was moped – or motorised bicycle – originally produced by Solex who were based in Paris (France) and founded by engineering friends, Maurice Goudard and Marcel Mennesson.

Designed by Mennesson during World War II, the Solex was produced between 1946 and 1988 in a variety of versions largely utilising the same technology of a motor with roller resting on and driving the front wheel of the bicycle.

E06D578D-1062-4B0D-8D07-751FBDFA00BB

Being very competitively priced and hugely economical to run, the Soles was a massive success. In total it sold in excess of 7m units. In 1947 even BP created “Solexine”, a pre-mixed  oil and petrol mix for the Solex’s two stroke engine and sold in a 2L can. By the late 1940’s Solex was selling 100 units a day rising to 1500 a day by the mid-1960’s – when it was blessed with a new maximum – though limited – speed of 30 km.

The company now makes a range of electrically powered bicycles. An early version, designed by Pininfarina, was launched in 2005 as the E-Solex.

esolex

By 2014 the Solexity Infinity was launched, again from the pen of Pininfarina – with capacity to travel up to 80 km on one charge – at the costs of around €2,000 – keeping the brand alive!

C1284655-28E4-404D-A3D8-02BEDEEBDBBE

As French as the Beret, Brie and Baguette, the Solex, a classic French icon of the mid-20th century, has a very special place in my psyche as I explored the opportunity in the 1980’s of importing them into the UK. It was perhaps my first brush with the ever increasing dominance of the words “Health & Safety” in our national idiom.

I was required to deliver details to the Ministry of Transport who after some consideration and lots of teeth sucking, decided that the fuel tank, which was then made of a reasonable durable plastic was too feeble to withstand any front-end impact and the risks of fire were too great.

Solex also commissioned various evocative advertising posters, which in their own right are increasingly collectable.

Solex Poster a

For our French speaking friend’s – we know who you are – the equivalent of a an Owner’s Manual for a Vélosolex is a must – Le Guide du Vélosolex click the Amazon link below the image to get yours!

FB70B6AA-CB8A-40A6-BEC7-25E8461C0FCB

Le guide du Vélosolex

Why not pick up a classic French VeloSolex enamel sign that will look at home in your Gite in La Gironde, on the wall of your Flat in Fulham or your Man-cave in Manchester! Click the AMAZON link below the image

DD0571CD-9AD8-418A-9773-6F17AADB6D25.jpeg

FRENCH VINTAGE METAL SIGN 40x30cm RETRO AD VELOSOLEX LE VRAI BICYCLESD2C56E9B-03F2-4C9E-AF3A-13C55668EEA2

D2C56E9B-03F2-4C9E-AF3A-13C55668EEA2

FRENCH VINTAGE METAL SIGN 40x30cm RETRO AD VELOSOLEX REFERENDUM 2

I love VeloSolex – and all this little motor cycle represents – you can too with this iconic T Shirt! Please click the Amazon link below the image 

076AF92E-C8EC-49B7-8DAC-28C4BA191716

Velosolex Moped T-Shirt. Gents Ladies Kids Sizes. Bike Cycling France Motorcycle:X Large – 48″

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Photo Credits – with grateful thanks – Solex SA