Call us crazy, but when we went up to Sonoma recently, we weren’t expecting to meet Egyptian-born Ashrf Almasr selling all manner of exotic tagines, cazuelas, casseroles, and clay pots from around the world. Bram is the name of the store, and Ashrf is its co-founder and owner, together with his wife.
Maybe this store resonated with us because we’re both suckers for all kinds of cook/serving ware,…or because one of us had actually been in the market for a small clay pot for a Japanese rice dish (and been unable to find it in Japantown). But maybe it’s because this store carries some of the coolest, most beautiful handmade oven/stovetop to table pieces we’ve seen.
Clay pot cooking has been around for millennia, but it’s gaining a following (particularly in this part of the world) because of its slow food associations, our favorite multi-culti traditions (from Latin America to the Middle East to Europe to Asia), and the recent publication of Sonoma resident Paula Wolfert’s book on Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking.
Go browse their website, but then you’d be missing the store itself. It’s truly gorgeous, presenting the clay pot tradition in a contemporary light, and layering eclectic vintage furniture with modern fixtures. In addition to the pots themselves, Bram stocks a wide array of Mediteranean-themed cookbooks, cooking and serving implements, tea sets, vividly colored tablecloths…basically everything you need to slow down and enjoy life a bit.
493 1st Street West. Sonoma, CA