The simplest, most humble, and perhaps underappreciated ingredient in kitchens around the world is salt. A pinch can transform a dish, bringing depth of flavor to what would otherwise be bland and boring. It can be surprisingly easy to take such a simple substance for granted, ignoring the fact that it goes beyond the typical salt shaker, coming from exotic places like Salta, Argentina, and Hokkaido, Japan. Salt comes in different colors, sizes, and flavors that are exciting to explore. As with wine, salt can be paired with food to showcase its unique flavors, making it the perfect theme for your next party. Here are some ideas to increase your salt knowledge and get your own salt-tasting party underway.
What’s the difference?
You may be wondering what separates one salt from another. While subtle, the differences may surprise your taste buds. Red Hawaiian salt, for example, can be milder than traditional salt. Others, like black sea salt, offer a subtle smokiness. Texture is another factor. Grey sea salt often contains more moisture, changing the mouthfeel. Pink sea salt may have larger granules that add a little crunch to a dish. Flake salt, perfect for finishing, dissolves on the tongue softly. The fun part about all these different types of salt is that there are no rules. Sure, there are classic combinations (fleur de sel caramels, for example), but the options are endless. Experiment with different combinations and share your discoveries with your guests.
Choosing Salts: Deciding which salts to feature for your tasting is a perk of being the host. There are no rules here, but if you like guidelines to help with the decision-making process, you can stick to salt from a specific region like Hawaii, South America, Asia, or Europe. Another option would be to create a theme around the color of your salts. For example, you could try pink sea salts from different regions, focusing on the subtle differences created by each environment. If you have the time, you can do a combination of these themes. An easy combination to use, especially for beginners, is simply using three types of salt like white, red, and black. There are obvious contrasts that are easy to pinpoint. If there is enough interest, you can expand to a greater variety of salts at a later date.
— Rachael White, Menuism
For more tips on how to host your own salt-tasting party, visit Menuism!