Alaea, Hawaiian sea salt, in coarse and
fine grains. Photo courtesy Saltworks.us.
||“Sea salt” is not a generic product. There are many different varieties evaporated from different bodies of water worldwide, from England and France to Greece to Japan.
The salts have the “goût de terroir” (goot duh tur-WAHR)—the flavor of the particular waters from which they are harvested. Each body of water has a unique mineral content, which can be tasted in the different salts.
Since most sea salts are unrefined, they deliver the nutritious traces of calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and zinc from their local waters.
Alaea, or Hawaiian sea salt (from the island of Kauai), takes its name and color from the area’s red volcanic clay. The sediment of iron oxide-rich red volcanic clay, called alaea, seeps into the ocean from Kauai’s rivers. When this red ocean water evaporated in tidal pools, alaea sea salt was born. In addition to its beauty as a garnish, alaea has a complex, earthy, mineral flavor.