Finishing Salts, Pink Himalayan Salt, Cabernet salt, Fleur de Sel, Beechwood Smoked Salt from Lafayette Spices

Lets talk about the Essential Finishing Salts!!!

Katherine Loffreto

These for Finishing Salts, are the most have for any kitchen...Pink Himalayan Salt, Cabernet Salt, Fleur de Sel, and Beechwood Smoked Salt, will make you look GOOD.

Imagine a salt that tastes as good as Fleur de Sel, with even more nutritional power, and a stunning color! You’d say that’s a perfect salt huh? You’d think a salt that wonderful couldn’t possibly exist huh!? Well guess what… it does! And its name is Pink Himalayan Salt! That’s right, this trendy topper is one of our most exciting offerings – here’s why… Pink Himalayan Salt originates from the Kashmir region of India and the Punjab region of Pakistan. Its iron rich content lends this salt its pink color by means of oxidation. This high mineral content of this salt has made it a go-to for the healthy conscious. Local legend traces the discovery of the salt deposits to the army of Alexander the Great (around 300 BC) but the first records of mining are from the Janjua people in the 1200’s.

Chemically, Pink Himalayan Salt is similar to table salt and has been shown to contain between 96% and 99% sodium chloride. It’s the mineral impurities, more specifically magnesium, calcium, and potassium content that makes the salt its stunning pink color. You can grind this beautiful stuff onto nearly everything, but we recommend grating it over some freshly sliced summer tomatoes, or hot buttered sweet corn. Because the crystals are too large to use as a finishing salt, they must be ground into a finer powder. This naturally lends itself well mixing into sauces and soups for that extra boost of flavor and minerality.

Think you know all there is to know about salt? Think again! Fleur de Sel is here to blow it all out of the water- quite literally. First of all, what is Fleur de Sel?? This salt is a rare sea salt – that can only be harvested from the coasts of France. Like certain cheeses and wines, it must be from a precise location and meet an exacting set of requirements to be considered Fleur de Sel. There are two methods typically used to harvest salt for human consumption: mining and sea water evaporation. Mining involves digging deep into underground salt deposits that have been left by ancient salt water lakes, rivers, and oceans. The salt can be dug out of the ground – much like coal or other minerals. It can also be removed through a fracking process, similar to oil, where water is pumped into the ground above a salt deposit, then the salt infused water is pumped back out. Alternatively, salt can be harvested from ocean water, through a collection and evaporation process. Fleur de sel production utilizes this procedure, but the process is much more time consuming. It involves scooping thin sheets of salt that rise to the surface of shallow pools along the coast of France.

Because of the labor intense processes involved with harvesting Fleur de Sel, it is considerably more rare and therefore more expensive than average table and sea salts. It forms naturally only under certain weather conditions, and it must be skimmed off the surface by hand – using special sieves. Ordinary sea salt is made by evaporating sea water and then collecting the remaining salt. Fleur de Sel is first and foremost, salty – but it also contains a host of other nuances that make it so special. It has a fairly high moisture content (not totally dry) and retains some of those mineral sea brine flavors. Because the cost of Fleur de Sel is fairly high, it’s best used as a garnish, rather than something you’d mix into a recipe. Plus, you don’t want to lose those beautiful crunchy crystals! Use it to top some gooey brownies or rich creamy caramels – or even a freshly torched crème brulee. Makes a perfect gourmet garnish when added to sliced beef or lamb. Sprinkle it over a fresh summer salad, juicy ripe tomatoes, or a piece of crispy skinned fish. Any way you use Fleur de Sel is guaranteed to make your food shine. Its iconic appearance, crunch, and flavor gives a chef automatic credit – that they choose the best ingredients the world has to offer.

Have you been looking for a finishing salt that screams with intense flavor, has a stunning color, and an excellent texture to boot?! Look no further, than our very own Cabernet Salt! This bright purple stunner is an incredibly classy and delicious finishing salt. True French Guerande sea salt is soaked in rich cabernet wine, then dried – it’s an infusion that will really knock your socks off. Loads of intense wine flavor in every crystal - little flavor bombs! The bright purple tones of this exquisite salt pair beautifully with sliced red meats, roasted vegetables, and sweet ripe summer tomatoes. The salt used to create is harvested in the Guerande region of France, a city on the western coast of the country – known for its salt marches. In these marches, salterns have been built, where workers collect up to 15,000 tons of cooking salt each year and approx. 300 tons of fleur de sel or “flower of salt” per year. The process is quite simple, tides feed the water reservoirs with sea water, where it gets trapped and begins to evaporate. That process of evaporation continues until there are only a few centimeters of sea water left. Ultimately, the salt crystalizes and produces fleur de sel and coarse salt.

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world’s most widely recognized red wine grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing region. Surprisingly, the origin of this delicious grape variety was an accident! In the 17th century in southwestern France, an accidental breeding occurred between a red Cabernet Franc plant and a white Sauvignon Blanc plant – Cabernet Sauvignon was born. The plant is known for its thick durable skin and it’s resistance to the elements. This luscious grape is loved worldwide for its elevated tannins (making it a good candidate for aging), full body, and medium level of acidity. Generally speaking, this incredible finishing salt is going to pair well with foods that already pair well with Cabernet Wine. Flavors of this salt range from green pepper and tobacco to hints of cassis, dark fruit, and cherries. Pair it with red meat like steaks, burgers, beef short ribs, and grilled or roasted lamb. It also makes a fantastic pairing with umami rich foods like mushrooms (especially Portobello) and cheeses like gorgonzola, aged cheddar, and gouda. On the other end of the spectrum, this salt would pair beautifully with a rich chocolate pot de crème or even a sprinkle on a dark fruit pie.

Have you found yourself searching for that last bit of something special to complete a dish, not sure what it is, but know in your heart that it just needs an extra pop of flavor? We’ve got your solution right here! It’s Beechwood Smoked Salt! It’s got an intense smoky flavor that’s going to kick your dishes up a few notches, guaranteed! You’ll be amazed at how it transforms an average dish into something really extraordinary. Beechwood Smoked Salt is harvested in the Guerande region of France, a city on the western coast of the country – known for its salt marches. This coarse Guerande salt is finished with a 10 day beechwood smoking process. Beechwood makes an excellent smoking wood, though it’s more typically known as a firewood than a food smoke wood. Beech is a hardwood, which means that it doesn’t produce large levels of thick smoke that come from softer woods like pine or fir. Those soft woods can also produce the potential for acrid tasting buildup on foods, and potentially harmful compounds. Beech wood provides a light smoke that is mild, sweet, and nutty. The elongated smoking process ensures that the flavor not only adheres to the outside of each salt crystal, but also penetrates deep inside for an intense, smoky finish. The true beauty of this salt is in its versatility.  You may immediately think of putting it on smoked or grilled foods – which is a great place for it! But where this salt really shines is on foods that don’t already have those smoky/grilled characteristics. Think for instance about oven roasted vegetables – a little sprinkle of Beechwood Smoked Salt, and suddenly it’s like they were roasted over an open fire! Or perhaps a few crystals on a rich chocolate pudding. The smoky salt would play beautifully with the sweet cocoa notes of the pudding. Finally, consider a little bit of the Smoked Beechwood Salt on crudo or raw fish preparations. The two make an incredible combination - delicate flavors of raw fish and intense smoky salt crystals are a match made in heaven!

As you can see, these four fantastic salts aren’t anything to mess around with. They each have very powerful flavor characteristics that make them one of a kind delicacies. Their range of uses goes well beyond the average table salt. However you choose to salt your food, the important thing is that you’re using a high quality salt that enhances the food you’re preparing – not distract from it. You can be certain that any salt from our Essential selection of Finishing Salts is a surefire way to create an incredible masterpiece of a dish!