All natural: La Chamba black clay pots
This is where the Internet leads you. I saw these great looking black clay mugs on a design site, I truly can't remember where, but more than one place. I loved the rustic hand-built shape and the sheen of the black, burnished clay. I found out they were made in Colombia in a way that dates back 700 years. The pottery is all natural -- unglazed and with no lead in the clay. The handmade pottery can be used on the stovetop, in the oven and the microwave. But shouldn't go into the dishwasher.
And while I didn’t turn up those exact mugs (the closest cost $30 apiece, which I am not going to spend for a mug), I did come across a site, Toque Blanche, selling all sorts of La Chamba cookware, including comals for heating tortillas, handsome casseroles and soup and bean pots. The next thing I knew I was ordering a soup pot, standing in the kitchen with a measuring tape and a couple of likely bowls in order to visualize the size of each model.
When confronted with a choice, I always go for the largest. My husband tried to interject some sense. Just how many beans are you going to cook at a time? Not for me the mini, or even the small versions. They felt, well, stingy in size. In the end, I went with the medium, which purportedly held 3 1/2 quarts.
I liked its fat belly and the handles like stubby wings.
The pot came yesterday and the medium is big, as in BIG. The site’s measurements seem to be that of the opening, not the diameter of the full-bellied pot. It’s quite handsome and I’m thinking perfect as a soup tureen, and because both husband and I are under the weather, he decided to make a pot of soup. I’ll let you know how that goes.
La Chamba Soup pot, medium, $59.95 from La Toque online. They also have beautiful little salsa dishes, salad and fruit bowls, and an array of other black clay cookware.
-- S. Irene Virbila
Photos: La Chamba bean pot. Credit: S. Irene Virbila / Los Angeles Times