My brother and his wife give me unusual gifts each Christmas, she must have been anxious as to what I thought of it, as she prodded me as to what I thought of the salt bottles that were on her stove. I did take a look at them at the time, there were several different kinds, some of different colours, but I didn't remark on them. Little did I know that she had gifted me with my own set.
I am a fan of sea salt, I don't use the process iodized version that is common on supermarket shelves. I think that it is like white flour and white sugar, all the goodness has been taken out of it. I use two kinds, one of them called Celtic sea salt, it's Celticness comes from its origin of Britain, more than it being from that ancient tribe. It's a "dirty" or unwashed sea salt, so that most of the minerals and other good things are still in there. The other kind I have is just labelled sea salt, it looks much like the iodized salt mentioned before. The bottles include:
Fleur de sel de France
I've read this on other blogs, they recommend this. The description reads that it is often referred to as the "caviar of the salts". It is harvested by hand as well. It can be used to enhance the flavour of all dishes, or as a finishing salt. I can't wait to try this one. Also called Flower Salt.
This one looks most like the Celtic sea salt, though it gets its colour from the clay that lines the evaporation ponds where it is produced. It has a high concentration of minerals and can be used on most dishes.
This is another French sea salt and is good in most dishes.
Hawaiian salt or Alaea
This is the oddest one of the bunch, its crystals are really red. It is rich in minerals and is great for grilling meats and fish, giving an authentic "island" flavour to spice combinations as well.
Salt and Pepper blend
Now, this is the oddest one of the bunch, as it is whole peppercorns as well as sea salt crystals. Now, I see several problems with this, one being that the ratio of pepper to salt may not be correct for the dish, two being that salt grinders are different than pepper grinders, you can't put them together in one. I imagine that I'll end up picking out the peppercorns, it would have been nice too if they had provided different kinds of peppercorns as well, but I guess that would have been too weird. According to the directions, this is supposed to be good for marinating, creating vinaigrettes or for grilling, though I still have a problem with the proportions.
Salt of France
It seems there are many different kinds of sea salts that come from France, this is the third kind, though this salt is from the Mediterranean Sea, and is only French in that the saltworks where it is produced, Aigues-Mortes of Camarque since 1856, are in France. This is ideal for filling salt cellars and grinders and is an excellent seasoning for all food.
This is the second most interesting sea salt, colour-wise, it is supposed to have a light and delicate peach colour. It also has a mild flavour and can be used as a finishing salt, sprinkle a few flakes on food just before serving. It also can be used as a replacement for salt in most recipes, and melts quickly and evenly so it can be used in baking and cooking.
This sea salt is harvested in the blue waters of Brazil and finished in Belgium. Due to its high resistance to humidity, it is idea for salt mills.