Just when you thought that some things, like salt, couldn’t be improved upon, someone has to go out and invent mushroom salt!
This pretty grinder, which I bought at the Grande Epicerie de Paris, contains thick crystals of sea salt and chunks of dried mushrooms — chanterelles, porcini and African caesar mushrooms — so that the seasoning you grind out is a very pleasant blend of salted mushroom flavor. This is, as you would expect, particularly good on eggs and tomatoes, on potato-based dishes and buttered toast, but I tend to pretty much use it on any and everything, these days.
It is made by a company called The Cape Herb & Spice Company, based in South Africa, interestingly enough. They offer different kinds of spice-based products, including this line of grinders, called Elements of Spice, mixing sea salt and peppercorns with a variety of herbs, spices, seaweed or even flowers.
The blends have well-designed labels and imaginative names, which account for half the attraction, I’m sure : mine is called “Magic Mushrooms”, and for my next acquisition I have my eye on “Darling Buds”, a blend of sea salt, rose buds and petals, lavender and chamomile flowers. Or wait, let’s see, maybe “Fruits Alfresco”, with sundried tomatoes, roasted garlic, olive, bell peppers and red onion? Or maybe both?