14113 Mon, 03/24/2008 - 3:44pm
By Andrea Lillo
NEW YORK–With all the talk on using natural elements in the home, people are turning to clay for the kitchen, in both cookware and bakeware.
At the recent International Home & Housewares Show, several manufacturers debuted their new collections using this earthy component or expanded existing lines.
Chantal launched its new Pure line of bakeware and tea accessories, made of ceramic stoneware and free of coloring agents. By using a clear glaze, Chantal cuts the energy used during the firing process. As a result, the line is in a natural vanilla color, can withstand high oven baking temperatures, and is dishwasher- and microwave-safe. Products include rectangular and square bakers, a batter bowl, a three-piece set, mugs, pie dishes and ramekins.
“Chantal maintains a strong commitment to develop cookware and housewares items that support environmental and social awareness,” said Heida Thurlow, chief executive officer. “With the introduction of Pure, we’re taking that commitment a step further to provide consumers with a beautiful, simple and natural product line.”
At the Housewares Show, Laarsen Associates showed about eight new Pomaireware items, including a clay steamer, which was selected for the show’s Design Directions: Going Green display; wine bottle holders; utensil holder; a salsa dish; a large oven roaster; and a popcorn popper. Everything is handmade, and retail prices range from $8 to $75. “We’re growing every year by leaps and bounds,” said Andy Laarsen, co-founder. The clay cookware gives “an earthy taste to food; it’s a slower-cooking system and people like that.” In addition, this type of cookware “helps food retain moisture,” he said. “The hot foods stay hot longer, and the cold ones stay cold longer in it.”
Laarsen’s Pomaireware line uses lead-free clay found in the area of Pomaire, Chile, said Cheri Laarsen, co-owner. Then, “The products are dried naturally and put into ovens that use the dead wood from fallen trees. The artisans are carrying on a tradition that is centuries old.” In addition, no glaze or varnishes are used that could seep into groundwater and discarded wood shavings are used for packing materials, replacing newspaper, plastic foam and peanuts. The clay cookware is microwave-safe, and oven-safe to 450 degrees; on gas cooktops, it can be used on low heat, and on electric ones, with a diffuser.
Distributed by Reco International Corp., German clay cookware Romertopf, which is lead- and cadmium-free and dishwasher-safe, also had new products at the show. The line retails from between $20 to $75.