Located at the foothills of the Andes mountains, Los Dominicos is a center for typical Chilean arts and crafts. It is my favorite place in the city. I’ve been there so many times, and there are always different artisans but somehow most of my favorites have remained over the years. Pomaire pottery is a traditional pottery found in many homes and restaurants in Chile. You can cook in it on the stovetop or use it in the oven. I have been to the actual town of Pomaire (60 miles west of Santiago) and it was fascinating to see the pottery “fired” in the ground. The pieces are so simple, but so functional and inexpensive, unless you have purchased any of it at Sur La Table where the prices are more than 15 times the price in Chile. Some of my favorite pieces are the smaller ones used for typical Chilean salsas like pebre (cilantro, lemon juice, aji, onion) that is delicious on bread, on anything really. The small bowls used to cook Pastel de Choclo (a typical Chilean dish of corn, chicken, onion and olives) are beautiful with the golden corn topping a perfect contrast against the pottery. I’m addicted…to the food and the pottery. Some of the serving pieces are in the shape of a pig and come with tiny spoons made of the same material. They’re like potato chips…you can’t have just one! Once, my very tenacious mother-in-law managed to transport a very large soup tureen that she had to carry on the plane. I know it wasn’t easy but I so appreciated the effort because I LOVE it!
Another addiction that is easily fed at this marketplace are woven shawls. I have them in so many colors and just like to look at them and feel them. I know it sounds crazy, but if you love textiles it’s just how it is! There are scarves and ponchos (much less practical for Texas weather) and most are still tinted using natural dyes.
The best part of all, sitting down at one of the open air cafes inside the walls of the market surrounded by your recent purchases, sipping a cafecito (coffee), or eating a juicy Chilean empanada with a cerveza or a glass of good Chilean vino and lazily watching the world go by. Life is good!