Last time Sterling Canyon was discussing the various salts that are found throughout the world. Bolivia owns the motherload of the salt we use in our food. There are many other salts to be sure. A few stand out and are about to be described here. According to Smithsonian magazine, the various colors that salt comes in is due to the “dirt” that is in the environment where that particular salt is found. As described in Smithsonian:
“Himalayan mineral salt; gray salt—sel gris—from Brittany; English Maldon; charcoal-black and brick-red salts from Hawaii; and samples from Trapani, Cyprus and California, Jurassic salt from Utah, and the celebrated fleur de sel—flower of salt—from Ibiza in Spain and the Camargue and Brittany in France. The last is said to be harvested by gatherers—paludiers—who hand-rake at sunset, for a light, airy salt of exceedingly delicate flavor and, like most sea salts, with some 80 minerals intact.
The Himalayan mineral salt harvested from mountain mines is a favorite, partly for its silvery pink glow, which suggested crushed rose quartz, combined with its mild, fresh salinity.
Color aside, the fleur de sel from Brittany and the Camargue would vie for first place, with its virtually identical, beautifully sparkling, diamond white grains and quintessential sea breeze flavor, with only the least tang of bitterness. The grains are so delicate they are perhaps wasted on the lustiest foods, such as roasted meats and poultry, and more suitable to salads and fish. Fleur de sel from Ibiza was a bit more intensely salty and softer in texture but still quite pleasant.
Sel gris, from Brittany, is almost as delicate as the fleur de sel, but a bit softer in texture. It has just enough mineral underpinnings to make it a more effective seasoning for meats, as it is used by Eli Kaimeh, the chef at Per Se in New York City.
Maldon salt, though beautifully glittering and glassy, had an overpowering bitterness, but the crunchy texture of its large flakes makes it a lovely contrast to paper-thin slices of raw scallops and tuna.
Hawaii’s black and vermilion salts were salty all right, but without special distinction other than their colors.The salts from California and Utah were less distinguished than the others and had slightly more mineral accents but were still preferable to processed table salt.
Trapani salt was especially snowy and fine-grained and would be very good sprinkled on tomatoes or raw cucumbers, as would the larger, slightly duller flakes from Cyprus.
There you go folks! Sterling Canyon has now provided the basics of salt. Don’t use it to clean your jewelry. You’ll ruin both.