1 On the morning of day two in Medellín, we went to a local market to experience a bit of the local 'color' and flavors.
2 Constantino is the son of Alicia and Nicholas Diez, and grandson of my dinner hosts, the Londoños. He loves everything, is very curious, and was a great guide through the market. Here he is intrigued by the alcancia - locally made clay piggy banks.
3 Maurizio was such fun during the whole trip. The youngest son of the Ardilas, he's entering the family business in Bogota, after getting his education and business experience in the US. He has a feature movie coming out soon, starring Peter Facinelli, called Gallow's Hill He was one of the producers.
4 The market is full of the most incredible fruits, vegetables, and herbs.
5 These are cargamanto, a fresh shell bean, quite like our cranberry bean. They are a favorite for stews and soups.
6 Many booths in the market have a good variety of vegetables and fruits. Here, fresh corn kernels are sold along with strawberries, star fruit, eggplants, and avocados.
7 Blackberries (mora) were in season and were used in drinks and desserts.
8 Platanos are a common staple food. Related to the banana, platanos are bigger, less sweet, and need to be cooked. They are fried, boiled, steamed, and pureed.
9 The red pineapples (pina roja) were so sweet and delicious and quite different from the pineapples we commonly buy in supermarkets.
10 This cluster of fruits is called chontaduro, the fruit of a palm tree that is native to the region. Cali is said to be the chontaduro capital of the world. A very nutritious fruit, it is considered to be an aphrodiasiac.
11 One of my favorite fruits is the guanabana, which makes wonderful drinks and sorbets.
12 Salvia, or aloe, as we know it, is a favorite salve for cuts and bruises.
13 Hierbas, fresh or dried herbs, are essential in Colombian cuisine.
14 These blackberries were even riper than the others. I would have liked to make jam out of these fruits.
15 This was a wall of neatly tied dried herbs, which smelled so fragrant!
16 Dried corn kernels are ground into meal and flour for stews, soups, and arepas.
17 This is a pile of dried corn silk. I believe people use it for medicinal remedies.
18 There were stacks of fresh farm eggs and every egg I tasted in Colombia was very good.
19 These are stacks of flour and corn arepas, the flat bread so popular in Colombia. Mexico has its tortillas and Colombia has its arepas.
20 My friends were busy shopping and were bargaining for bags, pottery, and other indigenous craft items.
21 This is a typical breakfast counter in the market. Customers were enjoying eggs, chorizo, soup, juice, and arepas with cheese - all delicious!
22 What a great looking meal - carne asada, arepas, y queso.
23 A closeup of what I ate for breakfast in the mercado
24 This is the booth which makes such good juices and meals.
25 Kathy and I enjoying our arepas
26 Constantino devoured two arepas with cheese.
27 This person was making juices of lulo and mango. Lulo is an orange fruit that has a pineapple and lemon flavor.
28 We also shopped at the local retailers. This is the interior of Exito, a mass market store.
29 There was plenty of RTA, or ready to assemble furniture, which is typically sold at mass market stores, like the Home Depot, here in the United States.
30 There were very nice white-ware dishes and serving plates offered by the piece.
31 The Ardilas own the local glass maker, Cristar. These products are sold everywhere in Colombia.
32 Everyone needs containers for food and storage. In Colombia, many types are offered.
33 We went to a second chain, which is more upscale. It was a very neat and well ordered store focusing more on the interior of the home. Cristar is like Pyrex in the US.
34 There were good quality utensils for kitchen use.
35 I bought several of these lemon/citrus squeezers for gifts. They are wonderful and we sell my blue version at Macy's.
36 These pots are my favorite for cooking rice. I have many from my days as a caterer.
37 There was a very good assortment of white bath towels, my personal favorite.
38 We saw fun bed covers in bright colors.
39 There are some popular, but unknown name brands outside of Colombia. Jacky Millan is one.
40 It was so odd that the name of the store was not what one saw on the facade of the building. Instead Welcome and Credit were posted.
41 Later, we drove about 45 minutes to Rionegro. While we were there, we visited Carmen de Viboral, a small town known for its ceramics.
42 The town creates pottery in a very good and careful way, using techniques of painting, glazing, and firing which makes the pottery more long lasting and viable for export. The patterns are rustic and colorful.
43 The pottery we visited is Ceramica Renacer, a community of artisans that uses traditional ceramic techniques to improve the quality of life of these individuals.
44 This is a new design called hydrangea.
45 The pottery is made primarily with local materials, using the white clay that Carmen de Viboral is famous for.
46 Some pieces are hand-thrown on a potter's wheel.
47 Other pieces are formed in molds.
48 Designs are hand-painted using special glazes.
49 These pieces have been glazed and are awaiting their firing time in the kiln.
50 This artisan is putting the finishing touches on a platter.
51 This is what the platter looks like after firing.
52 This is a very traditional lemon pattern.
53 A great cow design
54 A menagerie!
55 Kathy Sloane loved these dishes and ordered a whole set for her Beaverkill home. They'll be so much fun to eat off of.