In her most recent book, Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking, Traditional and Modern Recipes to Savor and Share, Paula Wolfert, an expert on Mediterranean cuisines shared her expertise and her passion for cultural traditions, and mentioned Chamba, a cookware she was very fond of. Click here for an interview with Paula Wolfert

After interviewing her on Food & Wine Talk WSFG, I immediately set out to find out more about clay cooking in general — I brought back clay pots from Mexico, a couple from Chile and one from Argentina — and while I liked cooking in almost all of them, I found a certain je ne sais quoi about Chamba.

The more I use it the more I love it!  I love the feel of it — it is satiny and smooth which is the result of hand-burnishing with smooth river stones!   It is the skill and the time spent in polishing which distinguishes the finer from the more rustic product. 

It’s practical as well as beautiful  — each time I bring it to the table there are exclamations and “wows”  from everyone.  It is extremely versatile:   I cook stews and bean casseroles in the oven or simmer soups on the stovetop  (use a heat diffuser when using it on an electric range), I reheat foods in the microwave  and, best of all, the food never sticks so  it is easy to clean after use. I just wipe it with a soapy sponge.

No matter what I cooked, whether quinoa, soups, meatballs in tomato sauce or stews, it cooks evenly and stays hot for a very long time, which is something to take into consideration on cold winter days.



chamba4The gorgeous-looking black clay Chamba cookware is made in Colombia and is widely used in homes and city restaurants.  Its origins can be traced back to the Mayas and the Incas thanks to vases and pitchers found in pre-Columbian archaeological sites.

Each piece is molded into shape by hand in the traditional manner, mostly by women in the village of La Chamba, in the Magdalena River Basin in central Colombia, who make them in several shapes and sizes, actually there is a complete collection of cookware, serveware and tableware—casseroles and roasters, pans and griddles, soup and stock pots, bowls and plates and baking dishes that are as sophisticated as they are practical. There are no toxins used as the pieces are not glazed and there is no lead in the clay.

For additional information and prices you can go to www.mytoque../index-php/.com.css or contact nelson@ChambaImports../index-php/.com.css .   Restaurants can send inquiries to info@MyToque../index-php/.com.css. 604 Main Street Half Moon Bay,  California (650) 726-2898 


Delicious Almondina® Cookies “Without The Guilt

almondina 2

almondina 1What do Almond cookies have in common with music? A conductor by the name of Yuval Zaliouk.  A musician, self-described gourmet cook turned entrepreneur, and certainly a gourmand,  he based the recipe for Almondina  cookies on his grandmother Dina Nathanson’s  “Petit gateau sec” (hence the name Almond-Dina.)

This now commercial product — it is produced in a 18,000 sq foot bakery in Ohio — is celebrating its 20th anniversary with an All-Natural Anniversary  cookie.

Paper thin and crunchy, studded with plenty of toasted slivers of almonds and other yummy things such as pistachios, raisins or coconut, pumpkin spice or sesame among others, each Almondina® cookie is about 30 calories. While packing a load of taste it has no fat or salt, no cholesterol  or transfats. And  they are Kosher and Pareve (non-dairy) to boot.    Click here for a Rachel Ray video.

They make great and healthy snacks; and for those who are mercifully possessed of self-control, Almondina® is truly the “Cookie Without the Guilt” as advertised.  I found them addictive…

The cookies are found in major food stores, from Whole Foods to Publix, Winn-Dixie and Marshalls among others.

The Wine Diaper to Transport Your Wine Safely

Traveling with wine is a tricky prospect when you check your wine purchases in your suitcase. How do you ensure that your wine will arrive safely when your suitcase is thrown on to luggage belts and jostled inside airplanes? You need to find a way to protect your wine bottles, and also make sure that your clothes won't be ruined if they do get broken.

How Do You Protect Your Wine While Traveling? 

Diapering your wine bottles will help protect them from breakage and absorb up the liquid should something still cause damage to the bottle. The Wine Diaper's patented design will cradle your wine in a padded container and contains absorbent material to quickly soak up any spills, helping to safeguard clothing and other valuables in your suitcase.

You Can Use It Again and Again

A wine travel bag like the Wine Diaper is an inexpensive and lightweight solution to give you the ultimate protection for your breakable purchases: wine, liquor, perfume, oil, vinegar, any liquid you purchase that may be contained in a breakable bottle. As an added bonus, the Wine Diaper has a resealable closure, so if no spillage occurs, you can use it again and again!

3 Pack of Wine Diapers for $15
10 Pack of Wine Diapers for $40
25 Pack of Wine Diapers for $75




Caponi  pasta from Tuscany, in the Province of Pisa

If there is one thing Italians never fail to do very well, it is pasta. 

But some "pastificio" - or pasta manufacturers - make it better than others.  Pastificio Caponi in the Province of Pisa, says it is because of the water that is very hard in that region, the fress eggs - which they get from a nearby farm, durum wheat semolina and the care and a half a century of know-how.

At a Taste of Pisa event organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce, several producers showcased their products. Among them,  Pastificio Caponi. (read article)

Chocolate, minus the calories?
The Hershey’s Kiss Jewelry Collection by Hope Paige Designs looks good enough to eat!

Food & Wine Talk Radio

Achile Sassoli, Director of Gelato World Tour
and Gelato Artisans:
James Coleridge, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Abdelrahman Al Teneji, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Matthew Lee, Austin, Texas
Ahmed Abdullatif, Kingdom of Bahrain
Stefano Versace, Miami, Florida
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The House of Mandela Wines from South Africa


Chef Scott Conant: Scarpetta


Mark Schatzker, author of The Dorito Effect, The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor


Elizabeth Minchilli, author of  Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City.  


James Beard Award-winning wine journalist Lyn Farmer on: Garnacha from Carinena; the next great wine


Cindy Hutson,chef/owner, Ortanique and Zest, author of From the Tip of My Tongue


Lidia Batianich, celebrity chef, TV host, author and restaurateur 






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