Fleur De Sel with Espelette Pepper - France
With just enough AOC Piment d'Espelette to kick it up a notch or two, this could be the perfect table condiment and you may never use plain old salt and pepper again!
There was a time when the paludiers, or salt farmers, on the coast of the Isle de Noirmoutier harvested only the grey salt, and the white crystals that accumulated on the surface were considered a nuisance because they slowed further evaporation.
Then French chefs discovered the wonderful qualities of this salt, and a market for Fleur de Sel was born.
Aware that nature only offers this gift erratically, the paludiers quickly and gently gather this light salt from the top of the water during warm, sunny days when a gentle breeze skims surface.
To this amazing salt we add one of the world's truly great peppers: AOC Piment Espelette from the French Basque region.
The pepper is significantly hotter than Hungarian paprika, but not so hot as cayenne, with a whisper of smokiness (but less than Pimenton de la Vera). This red pepper is one of the most useful to keep on your shelf.
Espelette is commonly chosen over black pepper, specifically in French Basque country. However, the pepper is also popular with chefs all over the world for its prickly, non-aggressive heat.
It is an amazing table condiment for grilled foods, especially meats and poultry.