Almost every recipe calls for salt because even a very small amount serves to enhance most dishes imaginable, from the simplest to the most sophisticated. Indeed, “salty” is one of the four flavor groups detected by our taste buds. In the past few years, we’ve seen a resurgence of many high-quality salts used by famous chefs and amateur cooks, which bring a touch of distinction to their creations. Review our selection of international gourmet products.
We’ll review four premium salts from different corners of the globe, each with its unique flavor and texture: English Maldon, Himalayan Pink, Hawaiian Black and Persian Blue.
One of the most frequently used premium salts in the world, it is found in the ancient mines of Maldon, in the British County of Essex. Fully artisanal, and collected by hand, it comes in small, highly pure crystals of a strong salty flavor with no bitterness. Since it dissolves quickly, we recommend adding just before serving the dish. Maldon salt is excellent to season tomatoes with olive oil, and also for meats and seafood. It must be used sparingly due to its high purity.
Also known as pink Himalayan salt, it comes from the foothills of the Himalayas, where the atmospheric pressure has built a concentration of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron. Its distinctive pink hue is due to a high concentration of iron. Coarse-grained, it is necessary to crush it before using. With a subtle salty and bitter taste, it is perfect for baked fish and grilled steaks.
Hawaiian black salt
This surprising sea salt—of extraordinary color and silky texture—originated on the island of Hawaii. It owes its color to the abundant black lava rocks in the ponds where salt is naturally deposited. The crystals are thus impregnated with the activated carbon in the lava, which gives the salt its digestive and antitoxic properties. With a slight nutty flavor, its color adds a touch of originality to any dish, especially fish and seafood. Many Japanese restaurants use this salt to give an exclusive and unique flavor to their sushi dishes.
Persian blue salt
In the mines of a remote mountain in Iran— once bathed by the sea— we find this unusually blue salt. Its lovely color comes from rock crystals with bluish tones, formed by a natural fossilization process caused by the specific conditions of this unique place. Persian blue salt is created over the course of 260 million years, making it one of the most exclusive salts used in haute cuisine. Its flavor is mild with a thick texture, and in the mouth it doesn’t taste very salty. It adds a touch of glamour to the rims of cocktail glasses, on sauces and beef or shrimp carpaccio. ■