By now, it’s likely that you’re familiar with our beautiful Pyramid Salt. Its flavor is pure and pristine, and the texture of the delicate flakes is unmatched. But we can’t deny that there are other options out there. There are many other salts on the market, some great, some not so great. We’re going to dive into one brand in particular that has possibly made the largest splash in the world of finishing salts: Maldon. Yes, the name is synonymous with high end finishing salts. Used by chefs and serious home cooks all over the world. Let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between Maldon and our own Pyramid Salt.
Maldon Salt is made in Essex County England, in the town of Maldon, by the Maldon Crystal Salt Company. They’ve been making this world class salt here for a long time – since 1882! The techniques they’ve been using have been passed down for four generations – and the company still remains in the original family.
To make the salt, seawater is taken from estuaries. In situations of prolonged rainy weather, during which the estuaries are more filled with fresh water coming down to the sea than saltwater lapping in, they have to send barges out to bring seawater in. This kind of weather explains why from time to time the salt will be hard to find in stores. Dry weather is good, as then the salt content in the estuaries will be high. The water is filtered, then put into large salt pans the size of several bathtubs together. The pans are heated to a boil, then the heat is reduced. Crystals form, and drop to bottom of the salt pans. About 16 hours later, the crystals will float back up to top, at which point the heat is turned off. The pans are allowed to cool overnight, then in the morning the salt is raked off the top. It is allowed to drain for 2 days, then it is dried in an oven.
The salt itself comes in large, thin, uneven, crunchy flakes with a very clean, pure salt flavor. Because of its large size, it’s primarily meant to be used as a finishing salt. However, the flakes do melt quite well despite their size, so if crumbled, it can be used to season food as its cooking.
Our own Pyramid Salt on the other hand is a bit of a different beast. A true Mediterranean delight, it hails from Cyprus Greece. Officially called the Republic of Cyprus, it is an island country in the Eastern Mediterranean. The third largest and third most populous island in the Mediterranean. Cyprus is a beautiful place, and the art of making salt there dates back centuries. Early Cypriots would use the newly formed sea salt to preserve various meats, fish, and even vegetables. One popular dish from the area involves cooking a whole fish – packed entirely in the famous local salt.
The unique pyramid shape of the Pyramid Salt is created through the process of solar evaporation of sea water where the water is channeled into a chain of shallow ponds or lagoons and then into large pans where the water is gradually heated, forming the pyramid shapes of the salt. The process continues until the salt reaches 3% humidity, and can take up to two years to complete.
Pyramid Salt is known for its dazzling and distinctive pyramid shape, light texture and mild taste. This gourmet flake salt is ideal for use in cooking, baking, and as a garnishing salt for fish and vegetable dishes. The delicate crystals can be crushed in the fingers to make a finer grained salt, or the whole crystals can be used for a toothsome crunch. Use it to top a slice of rare seared beef or add some texture to a caramelized sea scallop. It also works wonderfully on pastries – like a savory spanakopita or a rich dark chocolate mousse.
You can see why, although the salts are similar, they’re in fact two very different seasonings! It would be fun to experiment with the two together. See what salty flakes work better on which ingredients and preparation. Believe it or not, salt is a wide spectrum, and Pyramid Salt and Maldon are just two of the tools in your bag. Get cooking!