Shopping & Reviews

Finding the Finish: A quick guide of some of the most exotic finishing salts.

The increasingly popular—and seemingly indistinguishable— world of finishing salts gets even more accessible thanks to the great specialty shopThe Meadow. I stopped by their recently opened Manhattan location for a visit with "selmelier" and store co-owner Mark Bitterman for a quick tour through the world of finishing salts. Here are some of the more exotic and unique salts I found. —Maxime Iattoni

Pangasian Star Fleur de Sel,_ The Philippines._ Fleur de Sel, an exquisite all around sea salt, has great crunch and moist texture thanks to it's irregular crystal structure. This salt can be used for finishing almost any food from buttered toast, to cheese, to steak. Available at The Meadow.
Black Truffle Salt, _ Italy._ Flavored salts should be used when the flavor profile desired can't be achieved with just the ingredients available. This Trapini, a finely textured sea salt--deeply flavored with flakes of Italian summer truffles-- is an amazing way to impart a deep earthy flavor all year round. The salt extracts the truffle flavor better than oil, or a butter, it works great on fries, pop corn, eggs or pastas. Available at The Meadow.
Halen Mon Gold, Wales. A wonderful flake sea salt, smoked with wood from an eight hundred year-old Oak tree. It's crystal structure--a large surface area with little mass--quickly distributes on the palate imparting a wonderful smokey finish. Think bonfire on the beach, this salt is great for lending a slight "barbeque" taste without the charcoal. Works great with pan seared fish or lamb, adds great depth to soups like gazpacho or a sweet corn chowder. Available at The Meadow.
Maboroshi Plum_ Japan._ Day-glow Pink, and a slightly fruity aroma, this far-out Shio salt from Japan gets its natural color from_Umeboshi_ a pickled Ume (a Japanese fruit similar to Plum), that is packed in salt, weighed down, and then pickled with the juices extracted from the plum. The salty sweet juice is then dried, resulting in this salt. A visual feast, try some on sashimi, a white flaky fish, or any dish that needs some color. Availiable at The Meadow.
Djibouti Pearl, Republic of Djibouti. These naturally forming spheres of salt, from the supper-saturated lake Assal, in Djibouti, are a unique find. The combination of the salt, minerals and the movement of the lake create these smooth "pearls" that range in size from tiny "grains" to hefty 'balls". The uses are limited only by your imagination, and can give a playful shape to nearly any dish. Cover them in chocolate, leave a few floating in a soup, or even drop a boule in the bottom of a cocktail for a savory finish. Available at The Meadow.
Amethyst Bamboo 9x (Coarse), Korea. One of the craziest salts that I tasted. This bay salt from Korea gets its extremely sulfuric flavor--and smell--from being packed and repeatedly baked in canisters of Bamboo and eventually liquified. The resulting, re-constituted, salt has a beautiful deep-amethyst color and a pungent, eggy flavor--like a powdered egg salad--it is oddly delicious and very expensive. It comes in coarse (pictured) or fine ground available at The Meadow.

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