This is certainly true if you want to make a cassoulet…it’s the pot, or cassole, that makes the dish.
The material and the shape of the pot allows for the slow cooking demanded by cassoulet. The shape, almost cone-like, gives maximum exposure to the top of the cassoulet, allowing the crust to form. It is also only glazed on the inside, which means that the outside of the pot doesn’t get super hot and makes it easier to handle.
The real cassole, from which cassoulet derives its name, is only made around the town of Issel located about 8 kilometers from Castelnaudary.
Issel has a long tradition of making pottery, dating back to the 12th century. The first potters found that the clay around the town had special properties that made it perfect for making the pots.
Today, there is one remaining artisanal potter still producing authentic cassoles using ancient methods. Poterie Not, located in Mas Saintes Puelles is a family run pottery worth a visit.
Be sure to buy one for your return home, this perfect pot can’t be found in the U.S.