Rows of dark-glazed pottery for sale: round baking dishes, pots with spoons, and ceramic pigs.

Pottery for sale in the village of Pomaire. Photo © Steven de Polo, licensed Creative Commons Attribution.

Map of Santiago and Vicinity, Chile

Santiago and Vicinity

About 70 kilometers southwest of the capital via Ruta 68, the dusty village of Pomaire produces many of the clay pots that contain cazuela de ave, paila marina, and pastel de choclo (traditional Chilean foods) in homes and restaurants throughout the country.

Foot-powered potters’ wheels and wood-heated kilns are still the rule, but electrical equipment is supplanting some of the traditional technology. Before attempting to haul any of this fragile material home, get it well and tightly packed.

Pomaire is busiest on weekends, when excursionists from Santiago crowd the streets and fill good but unpretentious eateries. Traditional hearty Chilean dishes such as pastel de choclo (meat-filled casserole with a crust of sweet corn) are the standard—no Santiago pseudo-sophisticates here.

From Santiago’s Terminal San Borja (San Borja 184), Buses Melipilla (tel. 02/7763881) has frequent bus service to Pomaire, continuing to Melipilla.

Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon Chile.