It’s the Mica!

 

We’re devoting this newsletter to Chamba—the black clay Colombian cookware that continues to gain in popularity. By far Chamba has been the bestselling product line in our store and on our website since our founding in 2006.

Why Is Chamba So Popular?

  • The cooking properties of clay. Many cooks love to cook with clay pots because clay is non-reactive with foods, has great heat distribution and retention and keeps food moister while cooking. As Paula Wolfert says, “food just seems to just taste better when cooked in clay cookware.”

  • It’s an all-natural product. Chamba is different from most other clay or ceramic pottery because it doesn’t have a glaze. (See more details below).

  • The aesthetics of Chamba. Black Chamba cookware is somehow elegant and rustic at the same time. It’s nice to be able to take a dish straight from the stovetop or oven to the table and know that the presentation is going to be terrific.

  • Tradition. Our ancestors have been cooking with clay for thousands of years. Regardless of the culture, many of our traditional dishes are made best in clay pots.

Where Does It Come From And How Is It Made?

 

All Chamba cookware comes from or near the village of La Chamba in Central Colombia. This small town is almost completely devoted to the making and sale of Chamba pottery—and has been for generations. Family members (more women than men) work together in their own homes, forming the clay into the shapes we are familiar with.

The clay used for Chamba is known as micaceous clay, meaning that it contains a high proportion of mica. Mica is the mineral that conducts heat so well and eliminates the need for a glaze on the pottery. Deposits of this clay are ubiquitous in and near the village. One needs only
a shovel and a short walk to “mine” the clay.

After the clay is cleaned and worked into shape, another, finer red clay is diluted and brushed onto the piece. After drying, this red clay “slip” is then burnished by hand with smooth stones before being placed in barrels and fired in wood burning kilns. The last step is to reduce the oxygen by covering the barrels; the clay takes on its characteristic black color from the smoke. More photos of this process are available on our website.

 

Question of the Month:

Do I need to use a heat diffuser with
Chamba on my electric (or ceramic) stove?

To be on the safe side, we’ve always recommended the use of a heat diffuser when using Chamba on a non-gas stove. Our concern is that
the concentrated heat from the electric coils will be too much for the clay and it will crack.

On the other hand, we know many people use Chamba with moderate heat on non-gas stoves without a heat diffuser and without a problem. Again, to be safe, it’s a probably a good idea to at least start out with a diffuser until your Chamba gets quite seasoned.

What is your experience?
Have you used Chamba on a non-gas
stove without a heat diffuser?
Please let us know.

Have a question for us?

Email us at info@MyToque.com
or post it on our Facebook page

 

Book of the Month:

Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking

In any discussion of Chamba, Paula Wolfert’s name is going to come up. She has been a fan of Chamba for years. Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking is her classic on cooking with clay. It includes over 150 clay pot recipes.

Recipe of the Month:

 

Ajiaco–Colombian Chicken & Potato Stew

This is a traditional Colombian dish served in many restaurants in classic Chamba soup bowls.


See How It’s Made In This Video Above:
Watch how to make this recipe by clicking
the play button in the video above.


Ingredients & Preparation for 6 Servings:

2 skinned chicken breasts with bone
2 skinned chicken thighs
1 yukon gold potato, peeled and cut in ½ slices
3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut in ½ slices
6 small red potatoes, cut in half
6 cups of water
2 cups of chicken broth
½ small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 ears of corn, remove husks and cut into 2 inch segments
¼ cup dried guascas
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste


Condiments for Soup:

¼ cup sour cream
½ cup capers
½ cup cilantro
½ ripe avocado


Directions:

Fill a pot with the water and broth, chicken breasts and thighs, Yukon gold potato slices, onions, garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring the water to a boil and cook for 30 minutes. Take out the chicken breasts, cover and set aside. Maintain thighs in the pot to enhance the flavor of the broth.

Continue to simmer the broth for another 10 minutes, breaking up the yukon gold potato to thicken the broth. Add the sliced russet and red potatoes and corn on the cob pieces. Cook for another 20 minutes on medium heat until the russet and red potatoes are tender, but not falling to pieces.

While the potatoes and corn are cooking, break up the chicken breast into pieces, removing bone. Set aside, cover, and keep warm. When russet and red potatoes are tender and corn is cooked, add the guascas and chicken breast pieces and simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve with a dollop of sour cream, a large pinch of cilantro and a teaspoon of capers. As a side dish, serve white rice and a slice of avocado.

Tip of the Month

To keep your Chamba looking great, try applying a little mineral oil on it with a cloth from time to time.

Product Specials

   

Chamba X-Large Casserole

A very versatile piece that’s
great for stovetop and oven meals.

Regular Price $89.95

Sale Price $79.95

 

Chamba Comal

Great for heating tortillas and
roasting
vegetables.

Regular Price $34.95

Sale Price $29.95

 

Chamba Roasting Pan, Large

Perfect size for lasagna or
enchiladas.

Regular Price $59.95

Sale Price $49.95

In-Store Demo Schedule

All demos are open to the public and free of charge. Every Saturday, 11AM – 2PM.

 
January 21st

Swiss Diamond

11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Liliana will demonstrate the incredible nonstick qualities of Swiss Diamond Cookware. Make sure to check out the custom Toque Blanche 4 piece Swiss Diamond Cookware set.

 
January 28th

3-in-1 Multicooker

11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Extremely versatile, this multi-cooker is a pressure cooker, slow cooker and rice cooker all in one quality appliance. Stuart will make a tomato and porcini broth to make a delicious risotto (in 6 minutes!).
 
February 4th

Spice Rub Tasting
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Learn our secret for great grilling, Whole Spice rubs!

 
February 11th

Chocolate Demonstration
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Master pastry chef, Thomas Grauke will show you how to temper chocolate, make chocolate truffles and chocolate hearts, just in time for Valentines Day!

 
February 18th

Fondue
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Come warm up your insides with comte and apple! We will be using the Emile Henry Ceramic Fondue Set.

Toque Blanche
(650) 726-2898
604 Main Street
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
www.MyToque.com

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