Salt. It’s been a desired through civilizations and has even led to bloodshed. It’s kept communities from starving through winter as a handy preservative. It’s in the oceans, the mountains, and our own make up. It carries flavor from the lands and seas it’s mined. It’s a part of us, and perhaps like thirst, we quench for its flavor.
Our spice cabinet is filled with an array of salts; lava salt, sea salt, Himalayan salt, truffle salt, each adding their unique texture and flavor.
Norður Salt, Iceland
We came across Norður Salt on our trip to Iceland last year and can’t get enough of it here at home. Its large, crunchy flakes are a delightful addition to anything from grilled salmon to buttered bread. This Icelandic salt is collected through a sustainable geothermal production method which is unchanged from the first time it was tried in Iceland and Denmark in 1753.
Assorted Icelandic salts
I love this array of flavored salts; pictured above from left to right: rhubarb, blueberry, black lava, and garlic. We picked these up in a cool basement shop with assorted crafts and fresh boosts (fruit smoothies) around the town of Kirkjubæjarklaustur. Admittedly, I haven’t found which recipe which specifically calls for the fruity salts, perhaps they are best suited for dessert. If you have one, please send my way! The star of the salts for me is the black lava, it has a sharp, spicy flavor and even touching it will turn your fingertips black. My favorite way to have this salt is on a soft boiled egg along with Japanese hot pepper.
Moving east, we shift from Iceland to France. La Baleine Sea Salt is our absolute go-to when it comes to cooking with salt.
Using good salt, even in the water that is boiling your pasta, will make all the difference in taste.
Moving southeast to Italy…
Obviously, I couldn’t leave out truffle salt, with its poignant, distinguished smell and intense flavor adding sophistication to any dish.
Last but not least, we head to the northwest of Italy to find Sale aromatico ai fiori. This is a wide crystal salt embedded with dried flowers. This salt is extra special as it was purchased in the mountains where I’ve spent Christmas since I was a child in the dolomites.
Sale aromatico ai fiori, pictured next to our epic Peugeot black pepper grinder purchased in the same region
I’ll have to dedicate another post to the pink Himalayan and Hawaiian salts!
Don’t forget to ‘pass the salt’ and when you do, place it down on the table rather than hand to hand. It’s good luck!