By Steve Mirsky, CityRoom Contributor
On our real vacation to Long Island this weekend, I made a personal vow not to let writing creep into the experience. I was here with my wife to share some quality time…no note taking, asking detailed questions about food, or taking elaborate pictures of everything I was eating. In short, I was to be a normal tourist only interested in generalist activities…beach, wine tasting, hiking, casual window shopping…along with taking time to hold hands, look into each others eyes and take pleasure in the small things. On most fronts it was a success but I couldn’t resist delving into the foodie heaven that are “The Forks”.
For those who aren’t familiar with Long Island’s East End, I’ll go with this metaphor: The North Fork is the pantry and the South Fork is the show kitchen where all the ingredients are combined into a myriad of artfully presented and tasty cuisine. Farms and wineries by far outnumber restaurants and chain stores on the North Fork. One tiny exception to this breadbasket-showcase dichotomy between the two forks is Amagansett Sea Salt Co.. Located just east of the Hamptons where luxe town centres give way to the carefree open spaces of Montauk, Amagansett sea salt is made entirely by hand in small batches from seawater harvested directly from the Atlantic Ocean. It’s filtered, solar evaporated, and packaged…ocean to bottle…right on site.
The entire process is 100% natural carefully balancing solar evaporation and exposure to the wind. Salt crystals form slowly over time producing a mild, sweet, briny flavour and a distinctive crunch. No washing, bleaching, boiling, kiln drying, or anti-caking agents like in mass produced salts. The resulting unrefined sea salt retains nutritious trace minerals that naturally occur in seawater.
Another important distinction between common table salt and Amagansett Sea Salt is that it’s not used during cooking but rather as a “finishing salt.” Dishes are typically made without salt and these finishing salts are only added when serving as a flavour enhancement. In this way, salt crystals have a more intimate contact with your palate resulting in a nuanced boost to the flavour, aroma, and texture of your food. Start imagining the possibilities with their East Hampton Blend mixed with Herbes de Provence, Montauk Blend mixed with fresh lemon zest, or Southampton Blend soaked in Madagascar Vanilla, perfect for topping desserts like chocolate ice cream….or homemade caramel candies?
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