I just stumbled upon what may be my new favorite online cookware shop: Bram. Bram is a business based in Sonoma, California, where they have a storefront, but they also sell their wares online. And their wares are the kind of thing I have been hunting for in bits and pieces, now collected all in one place. Clay pots, bakers, and tians. Heaven!
Bram is owned by Ashrf and Shelly Almasri. Ashrf is originally from Alexandria, Egypt, where clay pot cooking is a staple of the kitchen. Shelly fell in love with the clay pots she found while on trips back to Egypt, and so eventually they opened up this shop.
Clay pots provide a vessel for very old and traditional methods of cooking, like slow braising of meats and beans. They are lovely to look at, especially those black Chamba pots, which I really love. They are less expensive than the enameled cast iron Dutch ovens, which are very similar in size and function. They can also go from stove to oven to table.
Their only drawbacks are that they really don't work for searing or browning foods, and they also need to not be exposed to huge swings in temperature.
The clay pots and other beautiful things at Bram are collected from the Middle East, South America, France, and other places we would love to go. They are practical and also beautiful. Along with the abovementioned Chamba there are Spanish cazuelas and traditional bean pots. They also have the rare French tians, which I have been searching for.
Overall, Bram is a fabulous resource if you love clay pots and bakers, as well as this simple, rustic form of cooking. Prices are quite reasonable, with most large pots being under $100.
Have you ever shopped at Bram, online or in their Sonoma store?