Deep in central Columbia in a village called La Chamba, families there have used the abundant black clay to their advantage. From vases to pitchers, black clay can be traced as far back as 700 years ago. One of the main uses has been cookware. The clay is formed by hand, mixed with other natural clays from the Magdalena River basin and then hand fired. The entire family usually has a hand in forming the cookware. It is a labor-intensive project and the results produce unique and sophisticated cookware, as well as promoting sustainability.

Toque Blanche, a California-based cooking tool store, has brought Chamba cookware to us as a healthier way of making our food. The lead-free Small Casserole pot is an efficient, elegant dish for those of us who cook in small spaces. From stews to casseroles, the Casserole pot cooks evenly and ensures that your recipe remains moist.

Over the weekend, I put together a stew of ground turkey chorizo from scratch, Peruvian beans and potato in my small casserole pot. The pot went from my stove to my table in under an hour. The flavors meld quickly and the stew did not cling to the bottom or sides. Mica, naturally found in red clay, is what distributes the flavor throughout the Chamba pot.  

Sauté pans, soup and stockpots and serving pieces are also part of the Chamba cookware sets. Consider these pieces to be an investment that is extremely versatile, just like a cast-iron skillet. Chamba cookware is durable, as long as you take the time to clean it out with a towel and water. Yup, that’s all you need to keep your Chamba cookware in pristine condition.

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