When these Dutch ovens are discounted for the holidays, I stock up for the next year's gifts.

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Staub 4-Qt Round Cocotte
Credit: Sur La Table

Dutch ovens are important, versatile tools in the home cook's kitchen. In one vessel, you can fry chicken, bake bread, and of course make deeply flavorful, comforting stews. While most Dutch ovens can do the basics well, they do have significant differences in everything from cooking performance to ease of cleaning. In my job as a food editor, I've had the opportunity to test and cook with several brands of Dutch ovens. As a result, I'm an (unpaid) evangelist for the Staub Dutch oven, and I will tell anyone who asks that this is the Dutch oven to buy.

It turns out, I'm not the only one who feels this strongly about Staub. The French cookware company has avid fans across the globe, many of whom point to the same benefits of cooking with these Dutch ovens, or cocottes. Because of my faith in these great Dutch ovens, I also watch for the Staub holiday sale and stock up for wedding, housewarming, or even birthday gifts every year. It just so happens that sale is happening right now, so whether you want your own Dutch oven or you're looking to prepare for this summer's wedding season, it's a great time to buy.

Staub's enamel-coated cast iron cocottes have specially designed lids with self-basting spikes that help recirculate moisture from the lid back into the food, so roasts, braises, soups, and stews retain their moisture while cooking. A indentation around the lid'd edge, which helps the lid sit securely on the base, also helps trap moisture so it doesn't roll off onto your stove (or onto you) when you lift it to stir. Most other Dutch ovens have flat, slick lids, which allow condensation to build — and then pour out when you raise the lid.

Staub 4-Quart Cocotte in Black

Buy it: $99.96; surlatable.com

What's more, the interior of the cocotte is cast iron, a type that does not need to be seasoned to use. Also, the black finish hides any stains; white enamel finishes show everything you couldn't remove with all that elbow grease. (Trust me, I know.)

Every holiday season, Staub lowers the price on their 4-quart cocotte to a remarkably low $99.96 from a suggested retail price of over $400. This is the perfect time to stock up on a few and put them away for your next big gifting need. That's exactly what I do every year when I see that red sale price pop up on Sur La Table's web site.

"But how can you predict what color the bride or homeowner will want?" You can't, which is why you buy great neutrals, like White Truffle (a warm white with hints of gray), classic White, Black, or a Sur La Table exclusive color, Caviar. Even in a kitchen full of the shades of the rainbow, one of these neutral Dutch ovens will work beautifully. It can also stand the test of time (and changes in decoration tastes). Also included in the sale are fun colors like Cherry and Turquoise.

Not sure what type of range the future gift recipient has? It doesn't matter. The Staub Dutch oven works with any heat source, including induction. I've even cooked soup in my Staub 4-quart cocotte on a portable burner at an event. The cast iron heats evenly and stays warm, to help you keep your dish ready for serving.

While Staub's cocottes come in sizes up to 13.25 quarts, the 4-quart cocotte is a great size for newlyweds, singles, young couples, even empty nesters. It can easily hold most recipes, even these one-pot dinners.

Once your friend or loved one cooks with their Staub Dutch oven, they'll be eager to build their collection of larger pieces. Your introductory cocotte will just be the start of a beautiful kitchen friendship.