Visit Pomaire, ceramics capital of Chile
Just a short drive from Santiago is the quaint village of Pomaire, best known for its distinctive pottery and massive empanadas.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Pomaire is famous for its clay ceramics. Photo by Lorena Torres Angelini / Flickr
A humble town brimming with artesans, delicious Chilean fare, and unique tradition, Pomaire is the perfect destination for a day-trip or a quick getaway from the bustling, modern capital of Santiago.
Walking down the main street, stores overflowing with handmade clay ceramics — known as greda — line both sides for as far as you can see. This is perhaps what Pomaire is best known for. Everything is made from a distinctive clay—a rose tinted earthen mixture that is both warm and rustic.
Artisans craft the clay into casserole dishes and bowls ideal for preparing traditional Chilean dishes like cazuela, porotos, and of course, pastel de choclo. In fact, if your pastel de choclo is cooked in anything other than a Pomaire dish, it is not quite authentic.
Also found on every shelf of the various shops are chanchos, or little clay pigs. These cute crafts are a traditional good luck charm and come in various shapes, the bigger ones styled with cheeky poses and various designs. The traditional smaller chanchitos range from only a couple inches to the size of your palm and make ideal gifts for anyone on your souvenir list.
If you work up an appetite browsing the many artisan shops, there is no shortage of great dining options— all serving the traditional and beloved fares of the region. The humitas, a corn mixture cooked inside a corn husk, or the pastel de choclo, a sweet corn casserole complete with onions, chicken, meat, and spices, are not to be missed.
If you are truly daring—and have room in your stomach— you could attempt to take on one of the gargantuan empanadas Pomaire is famous for. Weighing in at one kilogram (2.2 pounds), these jumbo-sized versions of the Chilean classic come in the typical varieties but you could need some friends to help you finish it!
Pomaire is just over 30 miles from Santiago, making it easily accessible for a fun day trip adventure. The best way to get there is by bus. A direct bus to Pomaire leaves daily at 9:30am from the San Borja Terminal (Metro Line 1 Estación Central). Another option is to catch one of the the regular buses to Melipilla, also at San Borja, and tell the driver you’ll get out at the road to Pomaire where you can easily find a taxi that will take you into town. The direct bus returns in the evening around 6 pm.