"It is a true saying that a man must eat a peck of salt with his friend before he knows him." -Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
Artisan salt-making doesn't sound like the most exciting trend-- until you taste the difference. Delicate, flaky and bright, a pinch of Jacobsen's Salt might just change the way you think about this tabletop staple.
Portland's Jacobsen Salt is at the forefront of the latest development in the slow foods revival: a return to traditional methods for gathering salt from natural waters. In 2010, founder Ben Jacobsen left a career in software to pursue a more hands-on way of life and livelihood. Inspired by a vial of handcrafted English salt he acquired while studying in Copenhagen, Jacobsen decided to find out what the Oregon waters had to offer. Hand-harvested from Netarts Bay, his salt captured the attention of the local food community before garnering a national audience.
From dark chocolate brownies and caramel to creative ice cream flavors and salt-crusted potatoes, these days salt plays more than a supporting role in a wide range of dishes.
In Cervantes' time, "a peck of salt" shared between friends was a gesture of hospitality, not to mention a vital means of food preservation. Today, traditionally-harvested finishing salt is more than a gesture toward bygone days. It's an essential ingredient for the whole-foods table, and one worth exploring for yourself.