Popcorn is serious food for most of us. It’s one of those snacks–the more fun you have making it, the more serious the result. A dance of fluffy crunch, butter, and salt, there is probably no food better suited to stuffing with child-like abandon into your mouth. But getting back to the serious part. Making great popcorn means using great salt. Indulging in alternative popcorn face-stuffing experiences means exploring different salts. The Meadow’s Popcorn Salt Set is the ultimate popcorn eater’s companion.
Papohaku Opal Sea Salt – This is the “beautiful, super fruity, buttery salt from Hawaii” we raved about in The Oregonian. This is hand harvested sea salt from Molokai Hawaii, one of the more beautiful salts you are likely to find anywhere. We recommend that you grind this salt onto your popcorn, for a flavor combination of “super-buttered movie theater popcorn, amusement park caramel corn and something you might nibble on in the plush shadows of the Ritz bar in Paris.”
Amabito No Moshio Sea Salt – Adapted from a 2,000-year-old method for salt making in Japan, this is probably the first salt ever regularly made on the island. Salt was made by dragging seaweed from the ocean onto the rocks on the shore, letting the brine dry off, and then repeatedly sprinkling water on again and letting it dry, until a thick crust of salt built up. On the seaweed. Water was then gingerly rinsed off to make a concentrated brine that was then evaporated over fire to yield salt. The resulting superfine, almost moussey crystals have a savory flavor called Umami, which the Japanese have for centuries distinguished as a flavor category of its own. Sprinkled on popcorn, Amabito No Moshio provides a hearty, savory flavor almost like pasta speckled with Parmesan cheese minus the pasta Parmesan: it’s only the intensity of the flavors that you experience.
Fleur de Sel Camargue Sea Salt – If you ever find yourself unexpectedly hosting a cocktail party and are unprepared to receive the guests ample platters of cheese fruits and slices of bresaola and prosciutto, just whip up some popcorn, lavish it with sweet cream butter, and speckle with fleur de sel de Camargue. Serve in your finest Waterford crystal popcorn bowl. Fleur de sel de Camargue is made in the southwest of France, where it is hand harvested during the summer months and sold throughout Europe as a mainstay of the table. Sprinkled on popcorn, the result is both tactful and impressive, an instant, timeless elegance.
Kala Namak Fine Rock Salt — Everybody needs adventure in their life, even in the security of their own home. Heady and rich, Kala Namak is like pumping up the volume on a new home audio system and throwing in a new Blue-ray of Vesuvius erupting over cowering residents of Pompeii, enveloping you in the exotic sensations of faraway lands… as they are being destroyed. Kala Namak (aka Nirav Black Salt or Sanchal) is ubiquitous in the foods of Northern India, where it is ground up into fine powder and eaten as a regular condiment. Speckled on top of popcorn, it’s like trying to eat scrambled eggs off a subwoofer.
Iburi-Jio Cherry Smoked Salt Sea Salt – Do you like crackling-juicy barbecue? Do you like bacon? No? Skip this salt. Yes? Read on. Iburi-Jio is a cherrywood smoked salt from Japan with warm, deep flavors that hover between meatiness and fire, between the animalian flavors of the living world and the eternal brightness of the elements. With popcorn, butter, and some finely grated sharp cheddar cheese, you have the popcorn equivalent of bacon-bit encrusted mojo potatoes. More simply, with popcorn and sweet cream Irish butter, you have to wait a few minutes for your eyelids to stop flapping around as you adjust to the intense hearthfire of savoriness unfurling in your mouth, sort of the way a returning hunter might feel after stepping in from the blizzard of an arctic expedition.
Black Truffle Salt – Man and beast alike have been driven mad by the aroma of truffles. Made with black truffles and sea salt, this salt transforms popcorn into the food of the gods–who have also been driven to distraction by the galloping feast of flavors lurking within the innocuous little tuber. In truth, the charms of the truffle are welcome additions to everything from steak to French fries to pasta (on a fried egg the term “biblical” comes to mind), so we won’t hold it against you if you divert some of your supply toward other meals. But be sure to keep some on hand for popcorn for those times when you crave a truly primal flavor experience.
Swing by The Meadow to grab yourself a Popcorn Salt Set for a supply of finishing salts that makes popcorn an important part of your Holiday Season and a constant companion all the toasts to success that 2010 holds in store.