Clay cookware might seem delicate, but like cast iron, it can go from stovetop to oven to table. Unglazed clay can also be seasoned to retain flavors, and since clay is more porous than iron, it's better at retaining moisture. It requires proper care (most unglazed clay should be soaked in water before use) and it can be difficult to clean, but for anyone used to cooking with cast iron, it's got a lot of similar benefits which can outweigh these minor inconveniences.
La Chamba Casserole Dishes from Mimi's Mercantile
This cookware comes from the village of La Chamba in Colombia and sells at Mimi's Mercantile, Toque Blanche, and Williams-Sonoma, among other stores.
Egyptian Terra Cotta Bean Pots from Bram
Clay pots are traditional cooking vessels of the European, Middle Eastern, and North African nations surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, and those countries continue to produce some of the most beautiful and functional clay cookware.
Cazuelas from the Spanish Table
The word 'cazuela' refers to hearty Spanish or South American dishes made with meat and vegetables. The cookware, of the same name, can be used to serve paella, casseroles, or tapas.
French Painted Tureens from Claybourg
Traditional French clay cookware is hand-painted with colors that are frequently found in Provencial palettes: earthy yellows, greens, blues, and reds.
Schlemmertopf Clay Bakers at Sur La Table
Manufactured by the Scheurich company in Germany, Schlemmertopf products are made from 100 percent clay with a glazed base.
Emile Henry Clay Cookware at Williams Sonoma
The Emile Henry company originated in French Burgundy in the 1850s. It remains a family business, and their products continue to be made with Burgundy clay coated in a scratch-resistant glaze.
Romertopf Clay Bakers at Fantes Kitchen Wares
Unlike Schlemmertopf's clay bakers, Romertopf's are made from entirely unglazed stoneware. They require immersion in water every once in a while to keep them in good shape, and — like cast iron — they shouldn't be washed with soap.
Clay Cookware from Solay
While most clay cookware imported into the US comes from Mediterranean countries, Solay imports mainly from South America — they carry La Chamba from Columbia and other clay cookware from Chile.
• Cooking Beans in a Clay Pot: A Review of La Chamba
• Ceramics Guide from Fante's Kitchen Wares
• Clay Cooking 101 from Bram
• Where to Find Clay Pots Online | The LA Times
Photo: Faith Durand | The Kitchn