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11 Best Gourmet Salts: The Ultimate List

Salt is on nearly every table in the country. It is one of the most used spices in every kitchen, and restaurant, and can really transform a dish from basic to fantastic. There are a bunch of gourmet salts that are at the top tier in the salt world. Check out the best gourmet salts the world has to offer with our ultimate list of top picks for head chefs and line cooks.

Price: $ – $
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How to Use Gourmet Salt

We're here to talk about the topic of gourmet salt. This is a category that's different than everyday table salt. It's not what you throw in the pasta water, use in the marinade or pass in the shaker.

Gourmet salt is most often used to finish a dish. Sprinkle it on a steak (that's been rested after cooking) and you'll have that little, salty layer of crunch that will make your guests think you're a genius. Lightly shower your Caprese with salt and you'll be nominated for global prizes. Add it to dessert just before serving and your guests will weep in deep gratitude.

Three Basic Kinds of Salt

There are three main types of salt.

  • Common Table Salt
  • Kosher Salt
  • Sea Salt

When you talk about gourmet salt, you're usually getting something from the third category: sea salt. Some of the salts in the list wouldn't seem like sea salt; Himalayan pink salt, for example, is from a landlocked salt mine in Pakistan. But that salt does come from land that was formerly the site of an ancient sea (that eventually evaporated, leaving all that mine-able salt behind).

Smoked salts are, generally, sea salt that has been flavored through a smoking process. Hawaiian salt is, obviously, sea salt. Fleur de sel -- for those of you, like me, who are not up on their French -- is "flower of salt" and it's the top crust of delicate salt that's leftover from seawater evaporation during the hand-processing that's done to get the stuff.

We've got more at the bottom of this list -- from information about great ways to use salt to info about its health properties. For now, get clicking, then get cooking (and finishing) with your gourmet salt.


The Basics of Using Gourmet Salt

As mentioned in the introduction, using gourmet salt as a finisher is the best use of this delicious -- and expensive -- food. The food writer Samin Nosrat, in her book "Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking," talks about layering salt in a dish.

You might start with water that's been salted with plain table salt. Then you'll take whatever you've cooked in that water and you might add some sea salt when it's complete. Then you might add a sauce that includes anchovies or capers or olives -- foods that are salty in their own right. That's when you're layering and starting to hit the bull's eye on dishes that will have 'em coming back for a lot more.

There's an excerpt from her book in this article in the April 25, 2017 edition of the New York Times.

Latest Scientific Research on Salt Consumption

According to a study in August 2018 by the Population Health Research Institute, the danger of excessive salt intake is lower than thought. The research says that daily sodium consumption of five grams or less does not increase health risks. Of the 94,000 people surveyed (from 21 countries), China is "the only country in [the] study where 80 percent of communities have a sodium intake of more than five grams of sodium a day."

"For the vast majority of individuals, sodium consumption does not increase health risks except for those who eat more than five grams (of salt) a day, the equivalent of 2.5 teaspoons of salt. Fewer than five percent of individuals in developed countries exceeded that level," according to the study.