If it isn’t obvious by the title of this website, I am in love with all things vanilla or lemon. They are the flavours that cause my palate to dance. And not just my palate, my nose too, and my emotions, and sometimes even my booty. Although that last one, I promise, no one will ever witness…
To me, vanilla evokes calmness, reassurance, and no matter where I am when I taste or smell it, I can close my eyes and be home. I feel loved. Yup, I get all that from plain ‘ol vanilla. But plain it is not, in my opinion, and perhaps what I love even more about the vanilla bean is its’ story. Read about it, it’s fascinating.
As for lemon, it is the perfect pick-me-up, the pivotal end to a heavy meal, the splash that can bring life to any dish. Not only are lemons for the taste buds, but the eyes as well. Someone once told me that you should have a little yellow in every room of your house. For the kitchen, it’s lemons.
Ok, onward. But the above will help to explain why I spent $20 on a 4oz jar of salt.
I had always walked right past the lady selling salt at the St. Helena Farmer’s Market, because really, I’m not there to buy salt. Last time though, I glanced a little longer than usual and this word caught my eye: Vainilla. I thought, “that’s not how to spell vanilla, she can’t be selling something with vanilla in it”, but my curiosity was sparked and I walked over. Sure enough. Vanilla beans from the Kingdom of Tonga were infusing little white crystals of Ilocana Asin sea salt.
A finishing salt with vanilla flavour. What dessert would not be elevated?
So I bought the little jar and thanked the lovely lady. Here it is in all it’s salty glory:
When I first tasted it, I almost expected it to be sweet because vanilla has always been associated with sweet. The salty grains were just that though, but enhanced ever so delicately with the oils of the bean. It was one of the most striking contrasts I had ever tasted.
I asked the lady what she puts the salt on and she gave me some of her favourites, but what really brought it home was the message typed on the label that reads: “This unique blend is a combination of sweet and salty flavors, creating a true sensory journey. Its application is only limited by the boundaries of your culinary intrigue.”
Yes, vanilla may be a humble flavour, but it is one my my favourites and I can’t wait to put my culinary intrigue to the test!