a field guide
TO SOME OF THE MOST WELL-KNOWN FINISHING SALTS
There is a two-tier approach to using salt: multipurpose salt for basic flavor and finishing salt added for texture and flavor.
FLEUR DE SEL French for “the flower of salt,” this salt has
been hand harvested for centuries in Brittany. A thin crust forms
on the surface of seawater from open-air salt ponds, which are then
raked by hand. The fine crystals that form are prized for their faint
flavor and aroma of violets. Collecting the salt is extremely labor
intensive and therefore it is only produced in small quantities,
making it expensive. The salt contains a higher moisture content
than other salts, which means the crystals stick together and don’t
dissolve immediately, giving rise to prolonged flavor. Pale pink
varieties, from a pink microalga, can sometimes be found.
MALDON SALT This salt has been hand harvested for more
than a century by the Osborne family, from the spring tides of an
estuary in the Black River of Essex, England. The naturally formed
pyramid crystals are its signature characteristic. Maldon was granted
a Royal Warrant by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2012.
HIMALAYAN PINK SALT Mined in the Khewa Salt Mine in the
Punjab region of Pakistan, Himalayan pink salt is only reserved
for royalty. The pale pink color is from the iron oxide found in the
salt. It is touted as one of the healthiest salts and contains around
80 different minerals. The salt is stone ground and therefore results
in larger crystals.
SEI GRIS This “gray salt” is harvested from the porcelain clay
of the same lakes and pans as fleur de sel, but is raked from the
bottom, giving it a gray hue. The crystals are rough and granular
and contain more moisture and minerals than other salt.
LAKE ASSAL SALT PEARLS These occur naturally as little
spheres and are hand harvested from Lake Assal in the Danakil
SHIO SALT Shio has been produced in Japan for thousands of
years, sourced from water 2,000 feet deep, which is heated over
wood-fired cauldrons and agitated with wooden paddles. The
result is pure, tiny, microscopic salt crystals.
HAWAIIAN BLACK SALT Harvested from the pools that form
from lava flows, the charcoal-colored crystals have smoky sweet notes.
CYPRUS SEA SALT Trademark pyramid-shaped salt crystal, Cyprus
is collected from seawater that is pumped in from the Mediterranean
Sea and then gradually evaporated using solar methods.