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T-Fal Avante 4 Slice Toaster: Toast as you like itůmostly
Dec 8, 2009
by Rudi Xeno
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Back in 2005 when our 13 year-old Black & Decker TRO355 Toaster Oven bought the farm, after experimenting with a few more sophisticated toaster ovens, we decided to replace it with another TRO355. This was a very basic model that did most things reasonably well and it excelled at producing toast quickly. Unfortunately, the Black & Decker of today isn't the B&D of 20 years ago. In 3 years the toaster function of the unit no longer worked. The oven function was still dependable, but we needed toast.
Recommend this product?
I don't know about you, but today's toaster ovens fail to impress me with their ability to produce toast. It's not that they won't toast but they do take their sweet time doing it. Virtually all these ovens have abandoned the toaster circuit for a timer. Waiting nearly 5 minutes for a dark piece of toast doesn't cut it here. I wanted a toaster. And, since my daughter was getting older we often had her friends sleep over. Clearly we needed a legitimate 4 slice, wide slot toaster.
Friends of ours had the T-Fal Avante 4-Slice Toaster. It had an interesting look to it and they claimed to be very pleased with the purchase. I wasn't prepared to launch one of my insanely long product investigations so having them take us through the features and asking a question or a dozen, we decided that this was the toaster for us. That was easy.
T-Fal Avante 4-Slice Toaster
First, let me say that this is a very aesthetically pleasing toaster. We chose the Stainless Steel and texturized Black model. Unlike most toasters, the slots are angled towards you rather than be situated on top. Aside from giving the toaster a fresh modern look it's helpful in making the toast easily accessible.
The four toast slots are controlled in pairs. Each pair can be set for a different darkness level (1 - 7) and are activated by conventional levers located at the toaster's outer edge. When the toast is done the slices pop up as with virtually all toasters. But I'm sure we've all experienced difficulty at times extracting the toast from the machine, particularly if the pieces of bread are smaller than usual. How many times have you stuck a fork into the slot to try to get your toast? Be honest! Well T-Fal has a better and safer way of doing it. In the center are a pair of levers that when depressed raise the contents of the toaster allowing the pieces of toast to be easily removed. I like this.
Like most toasters you'll have to experiment a bit with the 7-step darkness settings. Breads such as white and potato predictably darken more quickly than coarser breads such as rye, pumpernickel or bagels. You'll find that this T-Fal model has genuinely wide slots that easily accommodate even a real New York bagel.
Speaking of Bagels
One of my favorite features of the T-Fal Avante 4-Slice Toaster is the special "Bagel Setting". When selected, the toaster toasts the inside portion of the bagel and merely heats the outside. You get a great crunch from the toasted surface but don't risk the integrity of your dental work on an overdone outside.
This model also has a cancel function. When under-toasted slices are put back in the toaster, they can be made just a bit darker by selecting cancel when they've reached the desired shade. Failure to use the cancel feature under this circumstance will usually result in a pair of charred pieces of bread.
With a year and a half's experience I find that the T-Fal Toaster usually produces consistent results. It generally toasts both sides evenly, although I notice that on lower settings tops seem slightly more toasted than bottoms. Although there are 7 darkness settings and I like dark toast, I seldom use a setting greater than 4.
The Stainless and black surfaces are easily kept clean with a paper towel dampened with a cleaner such as Glass Plus. In back of the toaster you have access to two crumb trays that do a credible job.
This is a big toaster. With its 14" x 13" footprint it takes up quite a bit of counter space. If counter space is at a premium in your kitchen you might want to look for a less intrusive design. Fortunately, in our kitchen counters are spacious and the remnants of our B&D Toaster Oven were situated in an insulated cabinet on the other side of the room.
T-Fal claims that the Avante Toaster is made with "Cool Touch Technology". Unfortunately our experience would suggest that this is more the invention of a copywriter rather than a product design specialist. The toaster gets about as hot as any other toaster.
An Ironic Twist
Remember that old B&D TRO355 we were discussing at the start of this review? Well just a couple of weeks after we bought our toaster, my in-laws delivered a new B&D TRO700 Toaster Oven to take the TRO355's place. Long story short, we now own both a large toaster and a toaster oven with convection cooking. A bit of overkill for sure, but we can turn out massive amounts of toast. Between the two though, when it comes to making toast, the T-Fal leaves the Black & Decker Toaster Oven in the dust.
Although not perfect, the T-Fal Avante 4 Slice Toaster is a superior product. From both form and function views I recommend it, providing you can find space for it.
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Amount Paid (US$): 55.00
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