I love all kinds of food stores, from tiny specialty tea or cheese shops to the supermarkets and grocery stores I visit whenever I travel. I love their weird and delicious smells, their endless jars of toppings, seasonings, oils, and exotic sweets, candies and cookies. Even browsing the dried and fresh noodle aisles at the local Asian markets makes me heady with possibility. One of the places I love to go when I am in NYC is the Chelsea Market, and the last time I was there I found a new (to me) shop called The Filling Station where they sell all manner of flavored oils, vinegars, salts, and beers. I had taken the Bolt Bus, and so was not inclined to lug home anything too heavy or bulky, but the 2 oz. jars of salt fit right into the side pockets of my bag.
At The Filling Station you can taste everything, and I was seduced at once by the black truffle salt. I was with my notoriously thrifty brother who was appalled that I would pay $11.00 for salt, but it was well worth it. I use it sparingly, and it has lasted me more than a year. I will be going to NYC soon, and will probably get some of their other flavors like saffron, and maybe some rosemary salt. I tried the green tea salt, as I love green tea as both a flavor and a scent, but the salt’s flavor is so delicate almost anything overpowers it, and the flavor gets lost. I also bought the bacon sea salt for a friend, but it wasn’t quite as exciting as I had hoped.
It is the truffle salt I must talk about! It has the musky unmistakable aroma of black truffles, that is deep and dark, you can taste it before it even hits your tongue. I hope you will not think less of me when I tell you the first thing I used it for was popcorn. I love popcorn, it is one of my favorite movie night treats, and I take it pretty seriously. I have a movie theater crank style popcorn popper. I got it about twenty years ago at a church bazaar in West Stockbridge, MA. My Mom and I were driving past, and on a whim decided to stop and check it out. I found a brand new, still in the box, Brookstone popcorn popper for $.75, one of the best deals ever, which is why I had to add this story. But, back to the truffle salt. I get organic (non-GMO) popcorn, and use safflower oil to pop it. For this event I decided to use butter (unsalted) to add richness, and to help the salt stick. I sprinkled on the truffle salt, and was transported. If I used this salt on nothing else but popcorn it would be well worth it, and I have to give a shout out to my daughter who at only twelve was equally intoxicated by it.
I use this salt wherever I can. It does wonders for baked potatoes, scrambled eggs, and does wondrous things to anything with mushrooms! I could go on, but I’m sure you get the picture. What I love most about it is I can add tons of flavor and depth with a pinch of salt. Indulgences come in many forms. Finding something that can add intense flavor doesn’t happen too often. Many people rely on hot sauce to add intensity, but I don’t like super-spicy food. Flavors like truffle and saffron are more appealing to my palate. So I continue to shop the world’s markets looking for culinary treasures.