Salt. A Precious Mineral.
Posted: Oct 04 2012
If you've ever baked, you know that in cookies, cakes, and pastries there is a goodly amount of salt. Without it, our sweets taste flat, murky, and dull. Check the back of most of your favorite chocolates, and chances are good you'll find more than your fair share of sodium. Yes, salt is in food as a preservative and a certain amount is necessary for good health, but the primary reason we find so much salt in food is because salt tastes incredible.
The taste of salt itself is a very interesting, despite its strong flavor it does not mask other more subtle ingredients. When I spend time to whip up fruit dishes or reduction sauces, the taste is never as vibrant until I add a touch of salt. It's a light I shine on a meal, and a white backdrop to bring the other colors into sharper relief. In the world of chocolate, there have been some chocolatiers who have really run with the idea of salt in their mixes.
Taza Salt and Pepper Discs Taza is a local company up in Sommerville that we've talked briefly about before. They use a distinctive stone ground process on their chocolate which results in a more granular chocolate. While for many this is an acquired texture, it is the perfect match in their Salt and Pepper Chocolate Discs.Chewing this course chocolate releases a depth of cacao flavor. Coupled with grains of salt, the discs stimulate the tongue with an increased intensity. The pepper enters into the mix, subtle at first, but quickly adds to the invigorating experience. The flavor builds very quickly as the grains break apart and dissolve.
Christopher Elbow Macadamia and Hawaiian Sea Salt We got a shipment in recently of Christopher Elbow chocolate bars, from a chocolatier who is well know for his chocolate bon bons. I was personally excited to see a Macadamia bar from the company. Being a California boy transplanted in New England, I love Macadamia but seldom find it. This milk chocolate bar is heavily accented with Hawaiian Sea Salt. The chocolate melts quickly around Macadamia, and but the salt flavor remains adding depth to the nut. By itself a Macadamia can be bland, but in the right mixture it can have incredible flavor. Christopher Elbow's use of salt and nut creates a buttery flavor that is both light and creamy.
Vosges Black Salt and Red Salt Bars. Vosges carries two strictly salt bars: Black Hawaiian Sea Salt and Pink Himalayan Salt.Both bars accent the salt flavor with a light sugard caramel, but the salt is the predominant flavor. The Pink Himalayan Salt has a more delicate flavor, with a broader profile and a milder bite. The Black salt bar has a stronger salt flavor that delivers a robust impact to the senses. The strength of these bars are both quite strong and hearken back to the ideas behind salted French caramels. Showcasing the salt flavors reveals intricacies in our favorite mineral that you'd be hard pressed to discover out of a shaker.