Hostess gifts that stray beyond wine or chocolates inevitably end up buried deep inside junk drawers. But not this season, because we’ve got the best idea for a small token of your appreciation: sea salt.
Fancy salt is a
little luxury that most people wouldn’t buy for themselves. It’s something your hosts will keep front and centre on their kitchen counter and reach for over and over again, reminding them of your impeccable gift-giving abilities. If you don’t know your hosts and their tastes well, sea salt is a safer bet than wine or chocolate since it’s gluten-free, vegan and suitable for households that are leaning into the low or no-alcohol sipping trends.
Unlike everyday kosher salt,
sea salt is used sparingly to finish dishes and desserts to give them a little extra zing. The Chatelaine kitchen team uses it in its pesto-burrata salad, salted caramel ice cream and double chocolate brownie cookies.
Sea salts are pricier than their table and kosher salt counterparts, but as a gift they’re as affordable as a bottle of Merlot. A box of Maldon Sea Salt Flakes (the standard for chefs and foodie-types) goes for about $10 and can easily be found online and in specialty grocery stores. If you’re really ambitious, you can flavour it yourself using chili flakes and paprika, lemon zest or herbes de provence, and then package it up in a mason jar and festive bow. Le Saunier De Camargue Fleur De Sel is another trusted brand (with its own nice packaging), and Loblaws sells it for $11.
If you prefer to buy Canadian, there’s a burgeoning homegrown sea salt industry. The companies are still quite small (the Newfoundland Salt Company in Bonavista and Pure Sea Salt New Harbour, Newfoundland currently take orders via email), but many ship across the country, making it easy to order a few jars or gift sets to bring to your next holiday party.
Below, a few Canadian sea salts you can buy online.
This B.C.-based business sells a variety of salt products, including classic fleur de sel and flavoured salts. This Canada 150-themed gift set goes for $38 and features salt in a beautiful range of colours, thanks to flavourful mix-ins, such as berries and kelp.
Vancouver Island’s SaltWest sells 40-gram bags of sea salt — including fleur de sel, solar-evaporated sea salt, roasted garlic and sweet smokey maple — for $6.50. Not only would these be great as a host gift, but you could use them as party favours or stocking stuffers.
This Halifax-based company fills little jars with sea salt straight from the Atlantic. For a rustic-looking gift, go for a sampler box ($20), which includes three different flavours of sea salt.
Originally published November 2017. Updated December 2018.