Asking for a friend

What is salt, even?
Salt is sodium chloride, an essential nutrient for our bodies. Salt helps balance and maintain our fluid levels.

Why does salt make everything taste better?
Our flavour receptors are designed to sense five distinct tastes: sweetness, sourness, bitterness, savouriness (or umami) and saltiness. Rather than alter the taste of an ingredient, salt works to enhance it. A tomato tastes more tomato-y, chocolate tastes more chocolate-y with the addition of a little sea salt.

Where does salt come from?
All salt is sea salt, but not all salt is created equal. Some is mined from ancient seabeds and some is captured and evaporated in shallow ponds. Maldon salt, for example, is made from brine taken from the banks of the River Blackwater in England evaporated over an intricate arrangement of bricks.

There are so many kinds of salt these days! How do I know which salt to use?
Next, you’ll find a list of go-to salts and their uses. But if this list is still too long, stick with two: flaky sea salt as a finishing salt and kosher salt for pretty much everything else.

Help! My partner used the expensive Maldon salt to salt the driveway. Is it over for us?
Here at Savour Calgary, we believe in second chances. Gently remind your partner that the little cute box beside the stove is finishing salt, meant to bring that last minute briny crunch to a dish. But if it happens again, byeeee!

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We asked Stephen Gollan, locally known as The Spice Merchant at Crossroads Market, for his top pro tips when it comes to salt.

  • Buy quality salt

    Better quality salts tend to increase the flavour of what you’re cooking.

  • Try smoked salts

    Smoked salts carry a punch making it seem like your food has spent time in a smoker.

  • Get to know salt

    Take some time to understand which salts work better in certain situations.

  • Go easy

    Salt can always be added but never removed.

  • Try curing

    Many people forget that salt was originally harvested to cure meat. Bring back the old ways and try curing your own fish


Take it with a grain of salt

To maintain reasonable doubt or skepticism

Salt of the earth

A decent, honest person

Rub salt in the wound

To make a situation even worse

Worth one's salt

A highly competent person
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Table Salt

Otherwise known as iodized salt, table salt is often infused with iodine. Most salt experts find it has a metallic aftertaste and therefore don’t recommend it. It is also made of such fine crystals that it becomes easy to over salt a dish.

Kosher Salt

Often called the workhorse of the kitchen by professional chefs, kosher salt got its name from its ability to pull moisture from meat (i.e. koshering). It contains less sodium than table salt (almost half!) and is made up of pyramid-shaped crystals that dissolve slower than iodized salt. Kosher salt brings out the natural flavour of food without making it taste too salty.

Flaky Sea Salt

Maldon Salt is perhaps the most famous flaky sea salt. Made by boiling sea brine until all that remains is diamond-shaped flakes, Maldon Sea Salt is best used as a finishing salt. Another famous finishing salt is Fleur de Sel which is harvested directly from the shores of Camargue in southern France. This pricier salt melts slowly on the tongue and leaves no bitter aftertaste.

Sel Gris or Gray Salt

Sel Gris or Gray Salt is a coarse salt harvested in France. Unlike Fleur de Sel, it comes into contact with the bottom of the salt pans before being raked which lends it a gray colour. Due to its mineral complexity, gray salt is best used with heartier proteins like steak, roast chicken or root vegetables.

Other Salt Sources

Beyond the salt cellar, there are a number of other salty ingredients you can use that add big flavour. Think soy sauce, anchovies, fish sauce, capers, olives, miso, parmesan cheese or Worcestershire sauce.

Where would we be without salt? – James Beard

Find these salts and others at

The Spice Merchant
Crossroads Market
1235 26 Avenue S.E.
The Silk Road Spice Merchant
1419 9th Avenue S.E.
The Italian Centre Shop
9919 Fairmount Drive S.E.
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