Such a wide variety was the norm up until the 20th century, when the U.S. firm Morton Salt used an evaporator to make salt white, fine and uniform, says Mark Kurlansky, author of Salt: A World History. "It's an irony of history," he says. "What saltmakers wanted to do was to have this consistent, pure, white salt, and once they succeeded, we got completely bored with it." Out of hundreds of salts, here are some regional delicacies
|FLEUR DE SEL, FRANCE
Long considered the Dom Perignon of salt, it's gathered from the top of ponds on an island in Brittany. It's clean, dry and light, with a nice crunch, no aftertaste and great meltability.
|ALAEA SEA SALT, HAWAII
Once used only in religious rituals, this salt, the pink color of which Captain James Cook hated, has clay impurities. It's a bit harsh and lingers on the tongue.
Our favorite, this sea salt is preferred by chefs and is cheaper than the others. It looks like tiny pieces of shaved ice. Mineral with a long finish, it has a slight crunch and dissolves slowly.
From Sicily, these fine crystals, which dissolve immediately, are extremely powerful, almost stinging the tongue. Even a small sprinkling feels like swallowing a gallon of seawater.