Cazuelas, terra cotta dishes, have been used in Spain since antiquity. They are the oldest manifestations of domestic life -- and can be seen at every archeological dig dealing with Iberian housing. Cazuelas are one of the original vessels used for a developing cuisine. Our cazuelas are clearly the best you can buy. They are made according to a Roman formula which has been employed for centuries in this area of Spain near the Pyrenees. Although terra cotta is nothing more complicated than moistened clay, fired with an interior glaze so it can hold liquids, this particular cazuela is made of a special clay to which small pebbles have been added to strengthen the bowl and increase its heat retention. They are fired at a higher temperature for durability. These handsome cazuelas may be brought to the table straight from the oven. An 8-inch diameter dish is a good size to roast almonds, serve fabada stew, calamares, or other traditional dishes. The glaze on the cazuelas is lead-free: safe for the stovetop or oven. How to Cure Your New Cazuela for Cooking: If you are planning on cooking with your cazuela, you will need to soak and cure it using the following directions. Soak the entire dish in water to cover for 12 hours. Drain and wipe dry. Rub the unglazed bottom with a cut clove of garlic (we are not sure how the garlic works, but why argue with tradition?) Fill the dish with water to 1/2 inch below the rim, then add 1/2 cup of vinegar. Place the dish on a flame-tamer over low heat and slowly bring the water to a boil (no flame tamer? Crumple a sheet of aluminum foil and create a ring that you place over your burner to create about an inch of space between the heat and the cazuela). Let the liquid boil down until only about 1/2 cup remains. Cool slowly and wash. Your cazuela is ready for use - the garlic has created a seal. This technique has been used since the Middle Ages. It seasons the pot, kills bacteria and hardens the unglazed parts.