Mushroom Salt

Mushroom Salt

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?

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  • Amy C.

    I’m such a fan of these little spice mixtures! I currently use “Atmosphere” – the lavender scented salt; “Herb Garden” which is great on…anything; and your basic pepper mill (sans mushroom and other fungi).

  • Similar grinders showed up here several years ago – though nothing quite so exotic as those you describe! I’ve only tried the pepper and the cinnamon. I love being able to have fresh ground pepper where ever I am. I keep one in my desk at work and I’ve taken them on picnics and vacations as well.

  • What a find! As soon as I thought of how this would taste over my breakfast eggs, my heart swooned….

  • RhiannonStone

    What a wonderful idea! Now that I know it exists I don’t know how I lived without it. I must have some NOW.

  • Salut Clothilde!

    The Cape Herb & Spice Company is one of my favorite spice brands. Last September I picked up at Grande Epicerie De Paris one of their blends. Its called Biologique Piment Fort. Its a mix of Piments Rouges, Poivre Noir, Poivre Doux, Gingembre and Ginseng. Its brilliant! I use it on eggs, grilled meats, fish and poultry. Even on stews and soups. Lovely flavor and fantastic, peppery heat.

    In April, while in Paris, I found, at Hediard, another one of their blends in the useful grinder bottle: Grains of Desire. This one is grains de poivre noir, muscade, clous de girofle, écorce d’orange, pétales de rose, graines de paradis (a favorite of mine) and ginseng. Highly recommend this one too! I’ll have to pick up the Musroom Salt soon! Thanks! :-)

  • Julie

    I too am a big fan of Cape Herb and Spices. My favorite blend is one of their Rubs, which has been discontinued, alas, at least here in the U.S. Bed of Roses contains: ginger, roasted garlic, sea salt, caraway seeds, sugar, roasted sesame seeds, cumin, paprika, cassia (cinnamon) chillies, coriander, black pepper, turmeric, mint, nutmeg, grains of paradise, rose petals, and saffron. It makes an amazing roast chicken! Fortunately I stocked up when I learned they were going to be discontinued…

  • Sonia

    I did a little research and discovered through the distributor that no stores in my part of the USA (Maryland/DC/Virginia) carry these, which made me overwhelmingly sad. But my mood was restored when I was told that I could buy these through (I don’t know if they ship outside the US). Whoo-hoo! It looks like they even carry the Bed of Roses rub. My pantry is already full to bursting but I must find some space for these!

  • Estelle

    You might want to check on to get this brand of spices. I am sure you’ll find a way to get them, good luck!

  • I would’ve got it just so that I could say something like “which I bought at the Grande Epicerie de Paris.” Sounds so, classy. I feel so much more, I don’t know . . . cultured for having read this. I’m going to go sip some tea.

    . . . Grande Epicerie de Paris? Grande Epicerie de Paris. Grande Epicerie de Paris!!

  • Amy – I was wondering about the lavendar thing, glad to know you like it.

    Cathy – Mmh, pepper and cinnamon sound like a great firy pairing!

    SBV – Both of these sound great, I’ll look for them too!

    Julie – I’ve never seen their rubs here, but I can understand how the one you describe would be sorely missed!

    Michelle – Your comment made me smile : the name is indeed pretty cool, though not half as cool as the store itself!

  • RhiannonStone

    O sad day! After emailing Cape Herb and Spice and then their US distributor, I found that the Magic Mushroom salt has been discontinued in the US. I’ll be trying some of their other products, but I was really excited about the mushroom salt!

  • Hi Clotilde

    These spices are among my favourites – and as you say, the cute names just add to their attraction! Being South African, I am lucky in that I can always get people to send me supplies – but I am glad to see that some stores here in London now stock them – I believe I’ve seen them in Selfridges. I also remember being deeply, patriotically impressed when I found these little grinders at the museum shop at the Pompidou Centre in Paris!

    When I first came to the UK in 2000, my friends here had never seen these grinders – we had a dinner partyand I had a pepper grinder on the table. The guests were fascinated when I told them to turn it upside down & twist. One complained that nothing was happening despite his twisting – of course, when he FINALLY took the cap off he got a about a tablespoon of freshly groud pepper all over his food!! :o)

  • Mats E Flemstrom

    Just a day after reading in your blog about the Cape Herb & Spice grinders I found that our local supermarket here in Canada has begun stocking them! Did you arrange this?!
    I bought one of their Thai Stir-Fry mixtures that tastes great even before cooking. Thanks for the advice.

  • Samantha

    Hello Clotilde,

    I was shopping over the weekend at a great market in NYC ( and discovered these spices at Chelsea Market Baskets ( I immediately bought the Magic Mushrooms and the Tha Chi (sea salt, garlic, sugar, paprika, onion, pepper, chilli, basil, ginger, lemon grass, coriander leaves, lime zest). For all US readers, Chelsea Market Baskets is now importing all these spices… hooray!

    Thanks for your tip about these months ago! And have fun in Cannes.

  • Art

    the salt/spice blend with the lavendar is wonderful on Vegies and baked potatos. it may sound strange but it is fantastic!

  • iel

    just bought dried mushrooms from the Wonderfull Market of Valencia to bring back to Holland and I was wondering what to do with them to have Maximum effect of them. I just read the above post(ings) and now I have decided to grind them and mix them with the seasalt from the Camargue I brought as well. Not as fancy as in a ready-made grinder, but hopefully great in taste as well!

  • jp

    Is it okay to use dried mushrooms for this without cooking?

    • Yes, I think all mushroom salts are made from dried, uncooked mushrooms.

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