Terracotta has been around as long as ancient civilization. It has continued to be popular ever since it was discovered. terracotta, in many languages, translates to “baked earth”. It is basically a high grade of aged or weathered clay which is combined with sand, or even fired clay that is pulverized, moulded into shapes and then baked at very high temperatures. This results in a beautiful reddish-brown clay that is very versatile in its properties and uses. The Earthen and vintage look of terracotta has been leveraged in almost every sphere of life, right from our ancestral periods. It is almost like the celebration of an untold tradition.
What’s to love about terracotta?
- Natural and recyclable: It doesn’t harm the environment and is perfectly safe to use. It is devoid of all chemicals
- It is durable. It is capable of enduring high temperatures
- Frost resistance makes it ideal for storage purposes
- Impact-resistant and strong
- Low thermal diffusivity: This particular characteristic contributes to a stable indoor temperature that is cool during summer months
- It is a good absorber of sound, which makes it a good noise attenuator
- It is available in various textures and finishes that make it usable for decorative and aesthetic purposes.
- It is UV resistant and thus a great material for architectural designs.
- It is soft and pliable which makes it easy to mould into intricate designs.
Terracotta has found its foothold in various aspects of our lives due to its unique yet versatile properties. Terracotta is extensively used in the following:
- Decorative figurines and artifacts
- Building exteriors
- Roof and tiles
- Decorative vases
Due to its properties, terracotta has found many uses in various domains. In fact, to prove it, there is the Terracotta Army in China, which was considered as one of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century. It consisted of over 8000 different life-sized figurines (of which no two are alike) and this is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. terracotta has found its place in various walks of our lives owing to its versatility.
Terracotta in kitchens around the world
Just like all other aspects of the world, terracotta has undergone transformation and evolution. The kitchen has been a hub of this transformation. More and more people are looking to terracotta for their kitchenware, be it pots and pans or plates and glasses. Unlike the olden times, terracotta is more than just a reddish-brown clay today.
They are available in various textures and finishes like sanded, matte, glazed, grooved, etc. which has added to the variety of choices available. It is aesthetically pleasing and adds to the vintage theme of your kitchen set up.
Terracotta is available in different variations such as shapes, sizes, colours, textures, purposes, etc. If you are a foodie and you love to cook, you can fill up your kitchen with terracotta and also zoom in on the aesthetic value.
Cooking in terracotta pots gives you an authentic flavour of the cuisine. Some dishes are designed to be prepared in terracotta cookware because this method of cooking will perfectly incorporate the flavour in the dish. terracotta balances the pH of the food being cooked and also controls the moisture content.
Authentic dishes are preferred to be made in terracotta cookware because the flavours of the food are not lost as vapour or steam. It is retained in the dish, making it flavorful and authentic. Serving in terracotta dishes is a great idea for a vintage theme, and additionally, because the food stays fresh and warm for a longer time in terracotta.
The naturality of it can enhance your experience of authentic dining and cuisine. Not just home kitchens, but various eateries and restaurants aim at vintage themes that throw light on heritage and earthen ideas. terracotta cookware, in addition to all other terracotta items, is a nice touch in this case.
Various cuisines all over the world depend on terracotta cookware for the signature taste and flavour. Many Italian and Spanish dishes call for the use of terracotta, especially for authentic dishes. Cazuela and Tajine are some of the most commonly used terracotta cookware. They are so popular that the name of the delicious dishes prepared in them share the same name – Cazuela and Tagine, or tajine!
Earthen value of terracotta in India
In India, North Indian cuisine, especially the bread, is popular for its authentic taste and texture, thanks to terracotta. Vernacularly, terracotta cookware is known as ‘tandoor’ in most parts of India and the dishes prepared using it are classified as ‘tandoori’. Grilled, smoked and roasted dishes of India are generally prepared using terracotta.
The versatility of terracotta is that it can be incorporated in most cuisines because the food can be ideally boiled, sautéed, cooked, stir-fried, baked, roasted or fried in terracotta cookware. Some cookware is designed in such a way that the same pot can be used to cook and also to serve the dish.
Terracotta is also great to store water, serve sweet dishes, make curd, etc. in an ideally vintage way. Curd that is made in terracotta is thick and sets beautifully. Water stored is cool and refreshing. Food served hot remains hot for a longer time, just like the olden days.
If you are looking forward to a truly vintage experience of cooking and serving, terracotta is your versatile, yet specific answer. Every Indian household has grown up with this piece of earth. terracotta ghadas or roof tiles, our baked earth has sheltered us with goodness. At Ellementry, we bring back culture and age-old traditions passed around the table for generations in our country. And we reimagine them to fit into our everyday lives. Take our terracotta range for example. As it’s porous, it breathes and keeps anything that it stores fresh. Join us as we bring forth the revival of terracotta!