After years of iodine-infused mass production, salt has gone back to its high-end roots. Once so valuable it was used as currency, the only salt that most of us modern folk know has a little girl with an umbrella on the carton. Thankfully, there’s been a sea change in the works for a while now, and gourmet salts are popping up in fine food stores everywhere. Salts from around the globe are touted for their individual flavors and can be purchased from such far-flung locales as the Netherlands, Guinea, Cornwall and Bali.
Colored salts are especially en vogue, and in the same vein as colored diamonds, bring a unique flavor to something you thought you knew. Grey salt and Fleur de Sel- also referred to as the caviar of salt- hail from Brittany, France, more specifically Guérande region. These salts are noted for their mild taste, and similar to Champagne, authentic Fleur de Sel comes exclusively from this area. Alaea, or Hawaiian sea salts are also becoming increasingly popular. The Alaea salts’ distinctive red coloring is derived from a volcanic mineral which leaves natural deposits of iron oxide in the salt, giving it a mellow, slightly earthy flavor. Hawaii is also noted for its black salts which contain activated charcoal and have a very subtle sulfur taste.
Global varietals lend a flavor of exclusivity to gourmet cuisine, and their distinctive flavors vary based weather conditions, geological make up and unique harvesting techniques. Gourmet sea salts are an easy way to change up run-of-the-mill dinners and also make wonderful, much appreciated gifts.
Visit Dean & DeLuca to explore a wide selection of gourmet salts.