Do You ‘SEA’ Salt?                       

Have you ever seen a ‘salt shaker’ like this?

When you’re on a cruise, you become accustomed to being ‘wowed’ at meal time.  Sometimes it’s the food that excites your taste buds in ways they have never appreciated before.  Other times it’s the exceptional service that just makes you smile and want to pack up that special waiter and take him/her home with you so that they can, you know, keep waiting on your for the rest of your life. (Sigh)  Many times it’s a combination of both that makes the evening spectacular and memorable.  And sometimes it’s only the table salt.

Just when we thought we’d seen and experienced it all, our dinner group on a recent Caribbean cruise was quite delighted when we discovered a little treasure cache sitting in a plain white ceramic dish at the center of our table.  What we discovered under the lid of this intriguing piece not only added a surprisingly tasty element to the gourmet meal, but it has also been the topic of many food conversations since that night.  And all it contained was salt!  Yes, the food staple that is already present in almost everything we eat was served up to us in the grandest of fashion proving that even an item of simple, basic nature can be elevated to another level.  See for yourself in this photo snatched on my IPhone:


So, you might be scratching your head (as we did) trying to identify exactly what this intriguing little container was holding.  Enter our Serbian waiter, Dan (yes, Dan – most likely an American version of a Serbian name?) who explained what this thoughtful presentation of ‘salts of the world’ consisted of while pouring us each a lovely glass of Malbec that smelled just as rich and heavenly as it tasted. (Oops, I know I’m supposed to use the word ‘aroma’ when referring to ‘smelling the wine’; oh well. How about ‘it was pleasing to the nose?’) Ah yes.  Welcome to cruising in style on the Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas.  And while I honestly can’t hardly remember what my meal consisted of that evening (did I mention the heavenly wine?), I most certainly can further explain the selection of salts.

There was a red rock version cultured from Hawaiian lava, a Hibiscus Rose-scented one and also a black crystal choice, both from exotic mines found in foreign lands (hey, the wine was already flowing at this point so I wasn’t writing notes!), an Indian offering that was pungent with the smell of chopped eggs, a delightful herbal mixture from the lavender fields of South France, and then one that was just, well, plain white salt, although I’m sure it was of the finest quality ever produced of um, fine, white salt.  And to enjoy this experience to it’s fullest, Dan instructed us to tear off one bit-size piece of the bread selection of choice, spread some unsalted butter on said piece, and then proceed to gently drop some salt from one of the tiny spatula-like utensils found in each of the six individual salt cellars located within our table centerpiece.  Ok, got it?  Bite size bread, spread soft butter, delicately sprinkle selected salt.  Place in mouth.  Savor taste. Wash down with Malbec.  Repeat, again and again.  Now do you understand why I can’t even remember what my main course was on this evening? Even when it was served up on this jaw-droppingly gorgeous gold plate?


Isn’t this charger/dinner plate gorgeous? For sure it was too pretty to eat on!
 Truth be known, I’m basically a bread and butter kind of gal so proteins be damned! as I had already reached my Utopia on the second bite of bread with this heavenly silky butter and yummy variety of salt sprinkles.  So yes, I do love my bread, and now have added ‘must discover more new salts of the world during future travels’ to my never ending trip lists.
And in the end, our ‘great salt adventure’ at dinner that night was as memorable as the cruise itself because for us, travel is about more than just the sights and sounds of another country.  It’s also about the tastes and experiences that make up each meal on the journey.  And learning that salt, one of the most basic staples of all in the kitchen, can open up new worlds of discovery was a trip all of itself that night.  Thanks, Royal Caribbean, for dropping those ‘pearls of sea salt’ during an already wonderful cruise.

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Just your average middle age gal trying to deal with career/life/family changes and issues while studying people and places, one lobby bar at a time.

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