Green Christmas Guide: Unique Clay Cookware and Bakeware


We are so over aluminum and nonstick. Sure, you can make scrambled eggs in an nonstick pan with little fat, but if you care about flavor and health, there are better choices.

One choice is clay. I consider myself a “traditional cook”, which means I try to cook with traditional ingredients, like butter, olive oil, grassfed meats, organic vegetables,  etc. When you see the value of traditional foods, an interest in traditional cooking methods follows. One traditional way of cooking was in clay.

Cooking in clay is one of the oldest forms of cooking and is found around the world. Lovers of clay cooking say that it helps everything you make in it taste better. Cooking in clay has a wide and growing fan base, with many current cookbook authors promoting using clay cookware for superior results. Some think that cooking in clay can lower acidity in food and add mineral content, though a quick search didn’t reveal any conclusive evidence. However, most agree that food tastes wonderful when cooked in clay pots or pans.

I find it interesting that regaining this ancient cooking method promises to produce better results in taste-just like what happens when you resurrect traditional foods!

Traditionally, clay wasn’t glazed. The following items aren’t glazed and are really unique in a very wonderful way.

La Chamba Clay Cookware and Bakeware

“Sophisticated and practical, hand-crafted black clay La Chamba cookware from La Chamba, Colombia can go directly from microwave, stove or oven to your table top.

The innate elegance and usability make black La Chamba cookware perfect from cooking to serving. There are no toxins in the La Chamba because no glazes are used (the pieces are hand-burnished) and there is no lead in the clay. Care is easy: a quick soak and wipe down with a sponge is all that is needed.”

This pot was a pleasure to unpack. My mother and sister gathered around and we admired this piece of traditional cookware that is so unlike what we can buy at the typical store. WWW.MYTOGUE.COM sent the above piece to me for the guide, and I was really impressed with both it’s rustic beauty, and the fact that it’s toxin free. It’s unglazed, so no worries about what is in the glaze, and it is made out of lead free clay. I picture making slow simmered stews and pots of beans in this beauty. Because of it’s unique look, I’d love to serve from it right on the table.  By the way, it gets that unique dark look from the traditional firing process it goes through. This post is just one of many items you can buy. Check out the full selection here. Besides pots and stockpots, there are bowls, plates, casserole dishes, griddles and more.

Pomaire ® Cookware, Bakeware and Clay Pots

The above Lasagna Pan is sold at the folks from Solay Wellness. Similar to the La Chamba clay cooker items, these are also hand-crafted and have a unique look. Some of the items are black, like the above, and other have the more orange-ish hue we associate with clay. They have some really interesting items, like a clay wok! Who would have thought? These items are hand burnished with a agate stone, which makes the pieces smooth, before firing. A lot of time and love went into each piece.

Once again, I am impressed with the quality of the workmanship and admire the slightly irregularity of both this piece and the La Chamba pot which adds character. The items from Solay Wellness are certified Fair Trade, which means these items help support the craftsman who made them.

“Craftsman from Pomaire, Chile have been making unglazed lead free clay cookware since the 19th century. Our cookware products are healthier because little or no oil is needed as the food steams in natural juices. Clay pots also hold the nutrients whereas foods that are boiled often lose nutrients during the cooking process. Foods cooked in clay dishes retain more flavor than traditional cookware. Cooking in unglazed clay is an ancient tradition with modern day health benefits. Solay Gourmet Pomaire ® clay cookware and bake ware are decoratively created to go straight from the oven or stove top to the dining table. (6 quarts, 3 quarts and 1 quart clay cookware)”

For a wide variety of choices, check out their full selection here. For this lasagna pan, I think it would work great for a wide variety of dishes; everything from roasting a chicken or chicken pieces, to holding a sourdough chocolate cake.

Vitaclay Rice Cooker and Slow Cooker

Finally, the Vitaclay Slow cooker/Rice Cooker is an ancient art meeting modern convenience, in this giveaway I review this item more in depth. In short, it works very well so far in my experience, and has many advantages.

Advantages include:
* Natural, nontoxic clay pot
* No aluminum or nonstick
* Clay is naturally nonstick
* The Vitaclay Chef, 8 cup rice cooker and slow cooker that I tried out has different settings for slowing cooking, rice (brown, white, sweet, reheating rice), so that you get exactly what you need each time.
* Heats up significantly faster than a slow cooker
* Cooks twice as fast as a slow cooker and then keeps everything on “warm” until you eat.
* Uses less energy than most slow cookers
* Makes wonderful rice

You better believe that this would make a wonderful present to a traditional cook! I know of many who have this item on their wish list!

All of these items are unique and wonderful and would make beautiful Christmas gifts. They are gifts that keep on giving as they are used throughout the year to produce nourishing foods for loved ones. I love gifts like that. Practical and lovely, they are the type of gift I personally like to receive.

I’d love to hear from you! Do you use clay cook or bakeware in your kitchen? How do you like it?


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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!

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Comments

  1. says

    I have never ever used clay to cook or bake. Didn’t even know it existed until you talked about that rice cooker! Thanks for all the great info, Kimi!

  2. says

    I just discovered the La Chamba line last week and I am dying to get one! I am getting ready to replace the non stick large skillet I have and I am also in the market for a nice multi purpose cooker! Thank you for featuring the other clay dish and the vita clay!

  3. Joy says

    Kimmi,
    Would you recommend the La Chamba line over the le creuset skillets? It looks like it is more affordable but how does it compare in terms of ease of cleaning?

    Thanks!

  4. mml says

    I love my Piral cookware (made in Italy). It is oven and flame safe- that makes certain dishes so easy- saute your onions, etc then add the rest and pop in the oven all in the same pot. I also use Emilie Henry(made in France) pieces and own most of The Pampered Chef ( made in USA) stoneware- both wonderful. For bread I use a cloche bread baker(USA made) that makes crusty crusty loaves- love it too!! Other than my copper couscoussier; we are a stone and cast iron family:) I would agree that these are top notch gifts! My collection has grown over the years because my husband knows not to buy me flowers that are gone in a week- Buy me pots and pans and you reap the benefits as well!!

  5. Becky D says

    The Pampered Chef has stone (clay) bakeware in every shape and size. All unglazed, and lead-free, and made in the USA. It’s all I use for baking. Everything bakes better in stoneware!

  6. Brenda says

    Hi Kimi! These look beautiful! I’m wondering if they are smooth or rough? I am a texture person & the Pampered Chef stoneware is way too rough for my liking! I love the idea of it though!

  7. kitblu says

    I live in Canada so am not eligible for the giveaway. I have used 2 different clay pots. One for baking beans and one for roasting garlic. I also use clay pots to broil French Onion Soup after adding the bread and cheese.

  8. megan says

    Thank you for doing the hard work and compiling all this information. I can’t afford these products however, I am keeping a list in plain view for my husband to see…in case he needs a gift idea! 🙂

  9. Tara says

    Kimi, would you say these clay items are very heavy? I would assume they aren’t as heavy as something like Le Creuset, but just wondering how heavy or lightweight they are.

  10. Acorn says

    I use a clay pot to cook rice on the gas stove. I love the flavor and aroma the clay pot adds to the rice, and if I add some veggies or meat to the top of the almost cooked rice and close the lid again I end up with a lovely one pot meal.

  11. Laura says

    The clay slow cooker looks so very beautiful and exciting! But one thing concerns me. Nourishing Traditions cautions against pressure cooking as being an unhealthy and unnaturally fast way to cook food. The VitaClay website claims their cookers use “micro-pressure”. I wonder if it functions as a pressure cooker?

    • KimiHarris says

      Hi Laura,

      My understanding is that it’s just a little bit of pressure, not like the high pressure of a pressure cooker. 🙂 But it would certainly be interesting to hear the official reply!

      • Laura says

        Here’s the reply I received:
        “Hi Laura,
        Thanks for your inquiry.
        To answer your question, they are somewhat similar but our cookers are a 100% safe cooking environment…it is fully sealed cooking with double-lid design, to not only seal the nutrition but to be time efficient as well.
        Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

        Regards,
        Vikki”
        What I got from that is yes. 🙂

  12. says

    I can vouch for the craftsmanship of the Pomaire clayware. I lived in Chile for a year and had a chance to visit Pomaire while there. Naturally, the clayware is significantly less expensive when purchased right there in the village, but a $1,ooo plane ticket to get there might even things out (: The clay is very durable, but it can break, as proved by an artisan who dropped a pot in an attempt to show my Mom how resilient it was.

  13. Jerri Reynolds says

    I have been cooking in clay and stoneware, but happened to see this La Chamba cookware beside a recipe I was researching. I immediately fell in love with the look and comments and EVERYTHING! Fortunately it was Christmas and my husband got me several pieces that I use every day. Their smooth finish is almost…comforting? Anyway, he accuses me of caressing them when I wash them. Love the hole in the handles to hold on better. Their design makes me want to use them for every day foods, not just specialty recipes. For Christmas dinner I made and served mashed potatoes in a casserole, green beans in a cazuela, and glazed carrots in a covered saute pan. I did the pot roast in a Romertof clay baker that was large enough. The next piece I want is the 10.5 inch saute pan. Can’t say enough about this product.

  14. Cal says

    Hi i really want to like this product. I love cooking in clay and own several pots. I was super excited to read your blog post of this product but after reading the amazon reviews about the pot cracking, the lcd screen not working, the lid, etc, i am having reservations. Have you encountered any issues with yours since your review?

  15. Catalina says

    Hi thanks for your post. I own several La Chamba cookware pieces and I find them stylish, provides lots of flavour to the food and the best of all is they are chemical free. My husband and I used them in the grill, oven, electric stove and some friends use them in gas. I know my husband got some of our pieces from http://www.culturaliving.com. I love la chamba so much!

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