The Material

The “Terre Blanche” of Larnage is not found anywhere else in the world. It is a kaolinic clay of exceptional composition and quality:

  • The presence of kaolin gives the clay its pure white color.
  • High aluminum oxide content makes the clay resistant to heat exceeding 2966°F. It is a perfect natural refractory product.
  • Containing no iron oxide, the clay does not distort the taste of food—you can cook directly on the oven floor!
  • It is 100% organic, consisting of all natural elements and free of impurities, additives and chemical bonding agents common in cold cast refractory (concrete) ovens.

Our Treasure, Our Terroir

“Terre Blanche” has been quarried for oven manufacturing since the 19th Century. The White Earth has always made itself readily available to those who mine it with care. Like any precious resource, it is a product of time and must be used conscientiously.

Le Panyol’s careful, calculated methods of harvesting and manufacturing have passed from generation to generation for over 150 years. We are passionate about our heritage and it is a privilege to be able to continue producing wood fired ovens that are true to tradition. Furthermore, we jealously protect our production secrets in order to maintain the integrity of the product.

The Harvest

“Terre Blanche” is quarried without the use of explosives or invasive mining techniques. It is cleansed with pure, clear water—never mixed with other materials or treated with chemicals.

Before firing, the “Terre Blanche” travels just four kilometers to Tain L’Hermitage, and the Le Panyol workshop. Here it is handcrafted into the individual earthenware “elements” that will eventually come together to create a wood fired oven.

The Process

Traditional craftsmanship is the secret to achieving and maintaining the highest quality each and every day. Within the historic confines of the Le Panyol workshops, our skilled ceramicists reconstitute the “Terre Blanche” using the components extracted from the quarry. Each individual part of an oven, from the voussoirs to the floor tiles and grog, is created in a specific manner according the purpose it will eventually serve. Finally, the winds of the Rhone Valley slowly dry the pieces before they are later fired at very high temperatures.

The artisanal methods and processes used to mix “Terre Blanche” and mould, shape and cut each individual core element have earned Le Panyol the distinction of E.P.V. – Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant (or Living Heritage Company). As a hand-made product, each piece is unique giving each Le Panyol its own “fingerprint.”

The World’s Only All Natural Wood Fired Oven

Earth, Water, Wind and Fire combine in every Le Panyol. Only an oven born of a furnace—unique, 100% organic and tempered by fire—can infuse the finest cuisine with the energy and authenticity of a wood fire.

Le Panyol History


 

The Past…
The roots of Le Panyol lie in Larnage-the land of White Clay, or “Terre Blanche” as it’s known in French culinary lore. Here at the gateway to Provence in “le Drôme,” the story of the world’s only 100% organic wood fired oven core begins with the establishment of a family business.

1840 : The House of Terrassier
The Terrassier family, owners of the “Terre Blanche” quarry at Larnage, first began producing earthenware cooking products and Terre Blanche “brick” ovens (the grandfathers of Le Panyol) at “Tain l’Hermitage” in 1840.

1904: The Tradition
The family business enters the 20th century with a new name, Fournier Terrassier, following the marriage of Paule Marthe Terrassier to Joseph Alfred Fournier. Ovens constructed of the Terre Blanche bricks become the standard throughout France in the best boulangeries and patisseries, among them the world famous Poilâne Bakery.

1964: And on to Fayol
With no direct descendants in the Fournier-Terrassier line, Mr. FAYOL assumes the responsibility of ensuring that the legacy of the wood fired oven par excellence lives on.

Now an enduring tradition of nearly 150 years, the methods of cultivating and producing of the Terre Blanche continue, passing from generation to generation intact. In the 1980’s, the distinct “orange wedge” Le Panyol oven design was born of a desire to make the quality of a Terre Blanche oven available to bakers and gourmets the world over. The modular form allows for ease of shipping and assembly, and is ideal for all applications—from commercial restaurants to the outdoor kitchens of enterprising do-it-yourselfers.

1997: Maine Wood Heat Partners with Le Panyol
Albie Barden and his daughter, Anna, travel to France to meet with Le Panyol and become the exclusive North American dealer of Le Panyol oven cores.

2000: The Tradition Endures
In the new millennium, Le Panyol continues to be the only business in the world to offer a 100% organic, all natural, time-tested wood fired oven. We guard the Terre Blanche and the secrets of our production process vigilantly in order to maintain the integrity of the product.

In 2006 Le Panyol was awarded the title of E.P.V.—Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant (or Living Heritage Company) by the French government for the preservation of a traditional craft in the spirit of excellence. This prestigious acknowledgment, bolstered by modern scientific knowledge of the unique thermal properties of the Terre Blanche, secures Le Panyol’s place not only in France’s rich culinary history, but also in its future.


Why Choose a Le Panyol Oven Core?

Purity – Le Panyol ovens are made of 100% “Terre Blanche,” a clay consisting solely of kaolin and feldspar, nothing more-nothing less. Kiln firing yields an earthenware product that requires none of the chemicals used in cast refractory (concrete) materials. You can bake the best breads, crispy, chewy pizza crusts, and succulent roasted meats right on the hearth tiles.

Efficiency – The real magic of the “Terre Blanche” lies in its unique insulative properties. By balancing the stored and radiant energy of a fire, a Le Panyol comes online quickly (less than 45 minutes) and holds heat longer, consuming 1/2 to 1/4 of the fuel required by other ovens.

Durability – A Le Panyol is an investment in the value of your home or business. With no mortar joints and a superior resistance to thermal shock, each oven is built for the enjoyment of generations to come.

Accuracy – A professional grade earthenware hearth is the foundation of every Le Panyol oven – residential or commercial. This conductive surface rounds out the marriage of thermal energies in the oven, ensuring even heat distribution for unequaled culinary versatility.

Low/No Maintenance – Your Le Panyol requires no maintenance whatsoever! It’s easy to use and easy to clean – the perfect porosity of the Terre Blanche temporarily stores excess liquid and moisture from dough and other foods, which then evaporates as soon as the floor is cleared. All you’re left with is a delicious, succulent meal and a clean oven!

Design – The unique Le Panyol “orange wedge” dome and more than 150 years of flue and door structure refinement create precise convection airflow to feed your fire and cook every dish to perfection!

All of our ovens have a Le Panyol core. Shop our ovens.