I am still relatively new to the north Wales area and am just getting to know a few like-minded people and producers. I have recently met a few ‘foodies’ up in these hills and they all rave about the local produce, normally mentioning Halen Mon Salt from the Isle of Anglesey. I have rarely seen people so passionate about their seasonings! Heston Blumethal and Barak Obama are converts. I felt compelled to know more.
Halen Mon is definitely our kind of supplier, the business started with a pan of sea water being heated on the Wilson family stove. Now, a few years later, they are suppling top restaurants and chefs around the world.
Having gone off salt for a while, figuring that the food we eat contains enough of it, Halen Mon Salt has made me realise that a pinch of good seasoning can make all the difference. Like anything, quality matters.
Their salt is made with charcoal filtered seawater that has passed through a mussel bed and a sandbank! Sea salt is simply made by heating the water and drying until crystals form. They are then washed in brine to make them shine.
Halen Mon have a fine selection of salts made by a lovely bunch of people. We have been using a selection of them in our cooking. The celery salt adds a distinct flavour to light salad dressings and the Tahitian vanilla salt compliments dark chocolate perfectly (see our ‘Bitter Chocolate Ricotta’ recipe). I have used their ‘Welsh Oak’ smoked salt on roasted vegetables and haloumi and the flavour is delicious.
Our favourite salt recipe at the moment is spiced nuts, using their ‘Sea Salt with Organic Spices’. Mix a few pinches of the salt with hot oil in a frying pan, pour in a selection of your favourite nuts and bake in a medium over until well roasted (15 minutes or so). This salt can also be used to liven up the humble roast potato. Having a range of salt like this in your larder increases your creativity as a cook.
The Halen Mon site has some informative, unbiased info on the pros and cons of salt in your diet (http://www.halenmon.com/faq.aspx). Basically cut out the processed food made in factories and cook your own, with a sprinkle of Halen Mon to bring out the flavour.
Quality sea salt is pure and contains non of the anti-caking agents and other dodgy additives found in normal table salt.
Halen Mon is the finest salt I have tasted. I love using it in dishes with a subtle flavour. Salt is something that we normally just throw into food, every time I use Halen Mon, it reminds me of the importance of each ingredient in a dish.
The Beach House overlooks the Irish sea, which is blue today under bright sunshine, we are very lucky to be using such brilliant produce made from that very water. Without producers like Halen Mon, cooking would be so much duller and our food certainly less tasty.