Selmelier sel·me·lier (noun): An expert in gourmet salts who advises customers on salt varieties, flavor profiles, and food pairings.

A recent article in the Guardian on gourmet sea salts quotes Alison Lea-Wilson, founder of the Halen Mon Anglesey Sea Salt company, on the growing market for for artisan salts and the emergence of selmeliers:

When the Lea-Wilsons started 15 years ago, business experts said there was no market for artisan sea salt. But over a decade in which many people have become more interested in what is on their plates, the company's success – demand has always outstripped supply – does not overly surprise them. "There are even restaurants in America that employ 'selmeliers' to advise diners on which salt to choose for which dish," says Alison.

The most oft-cited selmelier is Mark Bitterman, the author of Salted: A Manifesto on the World's Most Essential Mineral, with Recipes and the owner of The Meadow, a gourmet shop in Portland, Oregon, that specializes in specialty salts. An Associated Press story profiling Mr. Bitterman and his devotion to salt noted his status as a selmelier: "Using the language of wine, Bitterman talks about salts that are 'unctuous,' that impart 'spiciness' or 'butteriness.' He refers to a salt’s 'meroir,' the qualities it derives from its ocean, and calls himself as a 'semelier.'"



These selmeliers seem very passionate about their jobs which is a very good thing; however, I never thought about salt being talked about in that way. Although it is very important of our everyday lives to have salt I never thought of it a very expensive luxury. I wonder whether this is the salt that Wendy's fast food restaurant always advertises on their commercials about the fries with sea salt?


Lea Wilson, the person who finally proved people wrong about the artisan sea salt, proves through her company and others that the demand for different kinds of salt is at it all time high. There have been wars fought over salt, and now during the 21st century if you would look at linear data you could see the line forming a straight line up in the increase demand of salt. Not only is the demand at in all time high, seasoning in general is craving a lot of attention. People in general like different flavors for their food. Resteraunts are bringing in "semeliers" to advise which salts to use on different meals. Salt is a needed ingredient in our everyday diet; however, too much can lead to heart attack and obesity. Personally, I think our population has gone crazy with all the different food products we sell, and expecially linking food to war. One has to look more into the problems around when war takes place.


Salted: A Manifesto on the World's Most Essential Mineral, with Recipes - very nice book. i've read it. for those who have never heard about it:
Bitterman explains that his love of salt began after eating a sublime steak at a relais on a trip to France. After learning about the cooking method and cut of meat, Bitterman concluded it was the "hefty nuggets of opalescent salt" that were responsible for his unforgettable meal, and he set out to meet the family of salt makers responsible. After opening an artisanal-product boutique with his wife, which includes a showcase of salts, Bitterman takes on the role of official "selmelier." In this entertaining and well-researched volume, he profiles 80 varieties of artisan salts, along with a quick reference guide to more than 150 salts for an easy-to-understand crash course on salt. The text-heavy though beautifully photographed title covers the history of salt and all things related. Recipes round out the work, and although pedestrian dishes such as hamburgers, potato chips, and sauerkraut are included, beginners may be intimidated by sophisticated selections like roasted marrowbones with sel gris; salt crust–roasted partridge with figs and chocolate-balsamic syrup; and jal jeer (an Indian lemonade). An informative and easy-to-follow "Cooking on Salt" chapter just may have the more adventurous home cooks and the DIY crowd running out for their very own Himalayan salt block. (c)


At first this seemed a little weird to me, who can really be a “salt expert” it seems silly. But the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea. Why not have an expert in salt, to ensure that people around the world use the best salt possible. This move towards people wanting to know what is going on there plate is a good thing. Maybe then people will also pay attention to other parts of their dishes and where these things come from also. Like how their meat is processed or what is added to other foods to make and keep them fresh. Then people will take responsibility for taking care of what goes into their body. At least I hope this will happen.


Selmeliers is a term I had never heard of before reading this. Even as I type this my computer is suggesting that word is a spelling error of some sort. It makes sense to have these types of people working at restaurants because they would have other types of food specialists that the consult with. I'm not thinking of making it a career choice, but it is interesting that someone would have such a large passion for salt that they would make it their job.


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