As you know, Locavore, our culinary boutique, is scheduled to open around Labor Day in downtown Geneva. But what you may not know is that Locavore is hosting a fun and unique event this coming weekend. On Sunday, June 24th, we will be hanging out at the Cracker Factory with some of our local vendors in order to introduce you to some of the fabulous products we will be carrying in the store.
Tahlia originally came up with the idea for a tasting event when we got together with our business partners, Bethany and James and their fabulous girl, Lillian. At one of our business meetings, we all sampled a variety of briny deliciousness from around the world: Bolivian Rose, mesquite, hickory, Cyprus White and Cyprus Black (Mediterranean), Murray River (Australian), another Australian variety called Paragon, Pink Himalayan, Hawaiian-style, and Persian Blue. We were fascinated by the remarkable differences between the varieties. Some, such as Bolivian Rose, offer a mild and smooth taste, whereas the Pink Himalayan has a bit of a punch to it and not as smooth or even in tone as the Bolivian.
Left to right: Bolivian Rose, Murray River, Pink Himalayan.
Each has a different texture.
The Australian varieties also provide quite a different range of flavors and consistencies. The Murray River (one of my favorites), for example, is a flake salt, having a lovely pink-yellow color and crisp, clean and mild flavor that functions very nicely as a finishing and cooking salt. Australia’s Paragon, in contrast, is a rock salt with a much bolder zap that’s more appropriate for foods having robust flavors. Another of our favorites were the Cyprus White and Black varieties, which are visually stunning little pyramids that you may crush with your fingers and sprinkle over food in a finishing salt style.
I love the satisfying crunch that accompanies the little bursts of salt flavor, and the pyramids, crushed or whole, are lovely to see on your food. The Cyprus Black contains charcoal, so your fingers will blacken a bit if you crush the grains in your hands.
The larger point I want to make here, though, is that comparing flavor differences is the key to appreciating the qualities of a single flavor concept. In other words, without comparing different varieties of salt, we might tend to write off salt as having a unidimensional or simple “salty” flavor profile. But when tasted in comparison to other salts, one begins to appreciate the subtleties and unique qualities that characterize each salt. Our palates develop, and we start to imagine how some salts might pair nicely with something sweet such as honey or caramel, while others such as the smoked hickory or mesquite, would bring out the flavor of a grilled steak.
After our various tasting experiments, I got to thinking about how comparisons are typically what we do when shopping for a new car or dentist, when selecting a new shade of paint for the bathroom, or when we go to taste wines. By considering the multiple options open to us, we celebrate the diversity that life offers us. We realize that there is a range of “blueness” even within a single shade of blue; that just as wines vary from dry and oaky to sweet and fruity, or cheeses range from goaty to sweet to creamy to maggoty, such as Sardinia’s casu marzu (EWWWWW!!), salts, vinegars, olive oils, honeys all similarly differ in their flavor range and tone. And most important of all, this is true of life generally—our humanity is made richer when we become familiar with, and celebrate, the differences amongst us, while also recognizing our commonalities.
We hope you will enjoy comparing flavors with us at our event Sunday! See you soon!