Some 40 mi/65 km southwest of Santiago, in the rolling hills of the coastal range, is the one-horse town of Pomaire. Now covered by a four-lane freeway, the short drive is a good way to get a glimpse of the Chilean countryside. But the real reason to go to Pomaire is for its clay pottery. Anyone who has eaten a pastel de choclo in Chile will recognize Pomaire's reddish-brown clay bowls, which are synonymous with traditional Chilean cooking.

Pomaire's one main street is lined with workshops and stores selling pottery and ceramics in all shapes and sizes—from rough-hewn teapots and planters to giant glazed collies to guard the front door. Practically empty during the week, Pomaire explodes on Saturday and Sunday as seemingly half of Santiago goes out for a leisurely day in the countryside. After loading up on souvenirs—wrap them well, they're fragile—be sure to head to one of the many restaurants for pastel de choclo or one of the town's famous half-kilo empanadas (meat pies).

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