When New Yorkers think of Macy’s, they think of a traffic-blocking parade. When everyone else thinks of this classic American retailer, they think of quality. And the traffic-blocking parade.
When Macy’s released their Belgique cookware line, customers were delighted by well-made and good-looking pots and pans. Years passed and some changes came along, so did the quality of this line change as well? And does it when compare to one of the current top US brands, Calphalon?
Today, we’ll look into these two brands, what they have to offer, and compare cookware set from each one. If you’re ready for it, let’s bring on the Belgique vs Calphalon showdown.
Macy’s opened its doors first in 1858. It’s a chain with over 800 stores across the US and a very famous Thanksgiving Day parade.
About a century and a half after its founding, Macy’s released their cookware line, Belgique. It was named after Belgium, the country where all the pieces were sourced and made. However, at some point, they shipped off their production to China (without renaming the line Chinoise).
When the brand first appeared, customers were pleasantly surprised with the quality. All pots and pans felt heavy and sturdy, while still looking rather fetching. They are still quite good – so much so that many people didn’t even notice that they have switched from their original manufacturer.
But, the biggest selling point is that the pieces are designed to be energy efficient. Most customers report that they notice their pans heat faster and maintain temperature better than some other pieces in their kitchen.
What’s in the box?
A 10-inch and a 12-inch frying pan, a 1.5-quart and a 3-quart saucepan, a 1.5-quart steamer that fits the 3-quart saucepan, a 4-quart saute pan, and an 8-quart stockpot.
- Dishwasher safe and oven safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Stacks up and nests to use up to 30% less kitchen cabinet space.
- Complete set suitable for all cooking styles and techniques.
- Doesn’t stack up seamlessly.
Coming up is a quick review of a similar concept from Calphalon. It’s my favorite set from that brand, so I was very curious how this one stacks up against it (pun intended).
Honestly, Calphalon is still number one (more on that in a moment), but this one is no slouch either. It may seem gimmicky at first glance, but this is a full-featured cookware set that will allow you to stew, steam, fry, saute, etc. The stockpot is larger than the ones we usually find bundled in a set, plus the steamer is a great addition that opens up numerous culinary doors.
Knowing that Macy’s always has some crazy sales (and that you may end up with a gift card or two for the store around Christmas), you can pick up this set at a great discount. Both this and the content make it the perfect cookware set for a beginner cook, especially if that beginner cook also lives in a place with a tiny kitchen.
However, keep in mind that none of the pieces are suitable for induction hob, though they will be okay on gas, electric, and glass cooktops.
An amateur cook looking for a great deal on Black Friday.
Calphalon is one of the brands that fall under the umbrella of the international manufacturer, Newell Brands Inc. This makes them related to other household names like Rubbermaid, Sistema, Sharpie, Crock-Pot, Yankie Candle, etc.
It was originally founded in 1963 by Ronald M. Kasperzak under the name Commercial Aluminum Cookware. It used to supply only restaurants and cooking schools with cookware, before becoming available to home cooks as well in the mid-80s. Today, the brand is still beloved by professionals and amateurs alike.
Even when they started doing business with civilians, Calaphlon never lost what makes it ideal for a commercial kitchen. Their pieces always come out as sturdier and outlast competition from the same price bracket. On top of that, that price is never too high and you can afford to get items that will last you for years data a reasonable price.
Besides the quality, the brand is also known for innovation. It ranges from problem-solving ideas like in the set below, to formulating new nonstick coatings for safe cooking and eco-friendly production.
What’s in the box?
An 8-inch and a 10-inch frying pan, a 2.5-quart and a 3.5-quart saucepan, a 3-quart saute pan, and a 6-quart stockpot.
- Dishwasher and oven safe up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, suitable for all hobs.
- Improved nonstick formula (up to 40% more effective than other Calphalon lines).
- Stacks seamlessly in any order to save up to 30% more space.
- Less capacity, when compared to the Belgique set above.
This is simply the ideal cookware set for a small kitchen. You get everything you need, yet it doesn’t take over your cabinets entirely. Even if you want to leave it out, you can since it looks very attractive and expensive.
But the main reason this design beats the set from Belgique is the way the piece nest. You can arrange them any way you want and whichever way is convenient for you at the time. If you ever tried to take out something from a cabinet in a small kitchen, you know how important this feature is.
But nothing of what makes Calaphlon great was compromised. For example, the handles and the way they are joined to the pots and pans are the same quality professional chefs expect when they buy this brand. Not only that, but the manufacturer also paid a lot of attention to the handles when designing the stacking system. You’ll notice little grooves that not only allow for seamless connection but also keep the pieces in place if you have to move them all at once.
Anyone shopping for quality and innovation and everyone who wants their cookware to both look pretty and perform well.
The showdown: Belgique vs Calphalon
Belgique has a very small range of products. In essence, they have only 2 lines with 2 variants within each.
In comparison, Calphalon offers 8 different lines of cookware. On top of that, the company also makes other cooking equipment, flatware, and kitchen appliances.
Calphalonhas earned itself a great reputation because they brought regular home cooks the same qualities pros enjoy in their kitchens. Of course, there is a bit of a difference depending on the collection (the chapter ones are obviously slightly inferior compared to more expensive ones), but in general, consumers agree that the brand offers fantastic quality, full stop.
Belgique is not really as good as it used to be. Once upon a time, it was a brilliant cookware range, but now it doesn’t measure up. Make no mistake, it’s still good cookware that will serve an average home cook for years. It’s just that it used to be so much better just a few years ago.
Belgique sets are somewhere mid-range when it comes to price. Full cookware sets retail for $300 to $400. However, if there’s a sale on (Black Friday and post-Christmas sales). you can snatch one of those sets for only $100.
Calphalon has a wider range of prices, and you can get a cookware set for anything between $150 to $700.
Belgique is sold exclusively at Macy.s, while Calphalon is available online as well as from numerous large retailers and specialty professional kitchenware stores.
Calphalon doesn’t use Teflon but their proprietary PFOA-free nonstick coating formulas. On the other hand, Belgique does use a Teflon-like substance called Quantanium.
Newell Brands had a few issues in these past few years. First, they closed their factories in Britain and moved production to China, then they got in trouble for safety-related issues during the lockdown in Australia. Both of these are related to other brands they own, Rubbermaid and Sistema. As of now, there are no reports of ethical issues that are tied to Calphalon directly.
Belgique didn’t have any issues either while it was produced in Belgium. However, since Macy’s moved the production to China, they opened themselves to criticism. Not only from moving production from the country that the brand was named after but also for what that meant for the quality of the product and working conditions as well.
As of now, they didn’t go public with where is exactly in China their factories are, so we also don’t know if they happen to in Xinjiang (the province with all those Uyghur labor camps).
Outside of possible production issues, Macy’s managed to stir controversy or two over the century and a half of its existence. The most notorious one is the civil rights lawsuit they earned themselves back in 2003 by detaining and interrogating suspected shoplifters. The suit was settled in 2005 and Macy’s stopped with those practices.
Which one should you pick?
If you were to ask me the same question 20 years ago, I would say that it’s a tough one. Today, I say Calphalon, hands down.
Macy is yet another big brand that at some point started to rely on name recognition and doesn’t give you a proper bang for your buck anymore. Belgique cookware is not catastrophically bad by any means, but you can get something better and at a better price. In this match, that something better is Calphalon.
To wrap it up, Macy’s Belgique is worth it if you’re buying it on a sale, while Calphalon is worth every penny of its full price.