Unable to find anything that rivaled the hand-harvested sea salt she tasted at a Parisian food fair, Karen Pevenstein decided to import it herself. The Francophile teamed up with Morel et Le Chantoux—the independent paludiers she met in Paris—and spent time with the uncle-nephew duo in Brittany’s Guérande marshes before establishing the Boston-based Louis Sel to bring their small-batch goods to the U.S. “While it’s a luxury product, it’s really meant for everyday use to make even the simplest of foods feel luxurious,” Pevenstein says.
The company currently offers two varietals: Fleur de Sel ($13) and Sel Marin ($15). Known as the “caviar of salt,” Fleur de Sel is skimmed off the water’s surface, retaining a pristine color because it doesn’t touch the marsh’s floor. This coarse sea salt comes in two types—the Vent d’Ouest, larger crystals shaped by the West wind, and the Vent d’Est, a delicate salt formed by the drier East wind—and is used to finish dishes. The Sel Marin’s gray crystals are raked with clay and minerals from the marsh bottom, then combined with organic Provencal herbs such as thyme, oregano and rosemary to create a fragrant cooking or finishing salt. Shake things up with Louis Sel’s accessible indulgences, available at spots like Siena Farms and Blackstone’s.