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Friday, April 8, 2016

I am a Norwegian Viking, and now I have the salt to prove it.

So... if you know me, or have read even a small amount of this stuff, you'll know that I don't like to buy processed things.  Typically I'm referring to boxed food or 'easy to cook' garbage that removes from the cook the experience and sensation of working with everything from scratch.  

The primary reason is stubborn pride; I believe I can do a better job of making anything than a large food corporation can.  But a wonderful side effect is that it makes my food healthier by using fresh and natural ingredients.

Anyway... this even extends to things like spice blends.

Ever since I was like 21 and looked at the back of a 'chili powder' jar, realized it was just a mixture of pepper, onion, garlic, cumin, and oregano, I said 'screw this noise' to all spices that weren't just single ingredients, and started keeping my own 'blends'.

Indeed, now my spice drawer contains at least a half dozen different blends at any given time.


I was at a really pretentious grocery store the other week, I won't say which, but I will say it's a chef's own grocery store.  I don't know if that means it is curated by said chef, or what, but other than being ridiculously over-priced, and not having a jot of organic produce, it actually is a decent store.

Particularly if you're into jars of stuff.  You know what I mean.  Jars of like pastes and tapanades and stuff... Products which can be surprisingly hard to find in your local supermarket chain.

Well... most of that stuff I steer clear of; reference afore-mentioned penchant for making things from scratch.  But some things are just too hard (or inaccessible) to make yourself.  So, some of the products I buy in this form are things like harissa paste, truffle butter, anchovy paste, olive tapanade, etc.

Stuff which can still be relatively natural or pure (always read labels people), and which actually can store in my fridge for long periods of time.

Anyway... I was browsing their extensive selection the other week, and came across a SALT blend.

Now, remember that I make my own salt blends... and I'm quite good at it.  So my first inclination was to just read the ingredients, and then emulate it myself at home.  Something which I am also kinda good at.

But something about this product changed my mind.

Perhaps it was simply good marketing on their behalf.  Perhaps it was a deep inner calling to my Norwegian ancestry.  Who knows.

The bottom line is that I bought a $10 jar of something simply—yet also, strangely, austerely—named: Viking Salt.

To be honest, the packaging IS quite attractive.  Minimalist and yet elegant.  But immediately upon picking it up to take a closer look, the first thing I noticed was how French was the dominant language placement.  Delving closer, it actually is a product of France.

I mean, it says Norvège, rather than Norway on it.  That's cool.  Plus (in typical French fashion) all the french text is in beautiful scripted fonts... and then the obligatory English translation is there in shitty, bold serif font... almost as an afterthought.


Anyway... I liked it.

Certainly enough to pick it up and read the back.

Again, noticing that English was given secondary concern, I read the french description first, and was intrigued and swept-away with notions of ancient and long-forgotten Viking recipes (heh heh heh... great marketing job, guys!) and finally I read the ingredients.

Fairly simple, and sure I could emulate this at home... but something compelled me to buy it nonetheless.  I don't really keep dehydrated onion anyway... so why not?

Well... I have to say this stuff is beyond delightful.

It makes everything taste like magic.  It has a very warm, mildly and pleasantly pungent flavour that is far closer to 'umami' than to 'salty' in taste.  As such, it goes well on pretty much everything, but some clear favourites so far have been green veggies, eggs, and cooked grains, cereals, and pulses.

Bear in mind that I don't really even put salt on a whole lot of things.  I was raised in a virtually salt-free environment, so my tastes for salt have evolved slowly and gradually over time, and I would say I am still very much an infrequent salt user.

But, I highly recommend this product.  While I still have some in my possession I will be trying to mimic it and attempt a version of my own. 

Vraiement, je suis désolé, Terreexotiquemais je ne peux pas justifier le coût régulièrement. Ne prenez-le pas personnellement, je fais cela avec tous les produits que j'aime.

Although... I worry that if you're weak and not a Viking like me, it just won't taste as good.

Just sayin'...