If you are considering a house warming gift for the holidays, and you are invited by those who fancy themselves to be gourmets, here is a relatively inexpensive but thoughtful idea for you: Gourmet Salt!  Understanding the varieties of gourmet salts can also give you social currency, as a luxury real estate marketing professional,  among those in the know on this topic.

One of the latest gourmet treats is to finish a dish with a particular type of salt.  For instance, Fleur de Sel, a French salt is gathered with a special rake to harvest only the top layer of the salt bed.  This work is usually done by women because of their delicate handling of the rake.  The name "Fleur de Sel" comes from the aroma of violets that develops as the salt is dried.  Fleur de Sel is recommended when baking chocolate cake to enhance its taste.

The list of gourmet salts is quite extensive.  Peruvian pink salt is the one for that beefsteak tomato you just picked from your garden. Nazuna sea salt, from Japan, transforms the taste of fish and seafood. Hawaiian pink salt is great for grilling your meats. 

The fascination with salt is not a new one.  Until the 1900s, salt was considered a currency.  Salt was often taxed, and some clever bakers (the Italians) figured out how to make bread without salt, so they would not be taxed.  The Romans paid part of their soldiers‚ wages in salt.  The word "SALARY" is derived from the Latin word "salarium" meaning a payment made in salt.  The 12th century Mali Empire in Africa valued salt so much that paid for its weight in gold.

Salt is also used for bathing.  For instance, salts from the Dead Sea, the second saltiest body of water in the world, were used by Cleopatra for bathing.  She paid for and obtained exclusive rights over the Dead Sea area, so she could continue her beauty regimen. She also built pharmaceutical and cosmetic factories near the Dead Sea.  The ruins of these factories remain to this day.


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