Monday, 8 October 2012

Monday Feature: The Salt Cellar

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. A time spent with family and a time to reflect on the last year and remember all the ways in which we have been richly blessed. This past year we were blessed with a newer place to live, a healthy, beautiful daughter, and continued provision and health, just to name a few. We are truly thankful.

Thanksgiving is also a great time to partake in some delicious food. Many of us over-partake, but so far this year, I've been pretty good at keeping myself in check, yet still enjoying the festivities. My husbands family, being from Trinadad, keep Thanksgiving unique and fun with food items such as curried chicken, roti, and a soup like mixture containing pig knuckles (which I couldn't bring myself to try), as the main staples of dinner, instead of a huge turkey. Thanks to my one Auntie's boyfriend, we also had curried moose! It was delicious :)

As many of you know, I've been doing a lot of fun cooking and baking myself as of late. I'm loving the experimenting and discovery of new and fresh flavours. It's not been without it's bumps, of course, as not everything turns out to perfection, but practice makes perfect.

Along with this new found love of cooking, my husband and I have also begun to traverse down a new road of eating habits and taken healthy eating to a whole new level. I mention this, because today's feature fits right into this newly adapted lifestyle and also goes hand in hand with all my cooking exploits.


Without this glorious, delicate, yet simple, spice, most food would be rendered bland and unappealing. Most reach for the closest salt at hand, iodized table salt, which is one of the worst salts you could put into your body. It's kiln dried, highly processed, and a toxic to our bodies. Rather, we should only be using the purest form of salt, sea salt. But not just any sea salt (as some store bought sea salt is also processed and kiln dried, losing all it's good minerals), sea salt that is dried of the wind and sun. These salts have all their natural minerals intact and aid in a healthy diet (used in moderation of course). Himalayan and Celtic are two of the best Sea Salts, and thankfully, today's featured business, The Salt Cellar, carries both, among a plethora of other fantastic, high-quality sea salts!

The Salt Cellar has a quote which says it all: "Salt is born of the purest parents: the sun and the sea" ~ Pythagoras (580 BC - 500 BC) So true.

I came across The Salt Cellar while perusing the Millarville Farmers Market. I was drawn in to the booth, and there before me was an array of pure sea salt, infused with such flavours as lemon twist, black truffle, garlic and spicy habanero, just to name a few. I was intrigued. I sampled several of the flavours and was astounded at their delicate and perfect balance of flavour. Since that day, I've had the pleasure of bringing several different flavours into our home and have used them in an array of cooking. It's brought out delicious notes in my food that I would have never, otherwise, discovered. For instance, some of the garlic infused sea salt on raw avocado brings out a lovely, smokey flavour that was divine!

Owner and creator of The Salt Cellar is Virginia Marion, a friendly woman who knows her stuff when it comes to salt. Virginia does some blending herself, and it doesn't take a genius to see that, she herself, is a genius.

Virginia's childhood played a role in her decision to pursue this business. She recalls, "Growing up in Montreal, antiques were always a part of my life. My mum and dad had a beautiful antique store and in it were many objects of interest including salt cellars. We always had salt on the table in pretty containers, but they did not contain the more colorful and healthy salts that are becoming more prominent today".

As the years passed, Virginia's interest evolved into the culinary field, which eventually led her to the George Brown College in Toronto. "I apprenticed in many restaurants, learning the skills needed to create a great meal. I spent 5 years as the owner/operator of my own restaurant, where I had a free hand to create and modify recipes."

Virginia soon discovered that her talents extended beyond just cooking in the kitchen and she knew she needed to teach others. Virginia proceeded to earn her teaching degree and then taught the culinary arts at the high school level for many years. "My desire to educate continues to grow, by sharing my passion and knowledge of food and incorporating healthier components into every bite."

"My partner is a very talented musician and woodworker. He has created a wonderful array of exotic wood products to display the salts in different formats." All of The Salt Cellar's salt containers make wonderful gifts for that cook or baker in your life, but be sure to get one for your kitchen as well. They add class to any kitchen.

All of The Salt Cellar's hand-crafted gift boxes are made from exotic woods from around the world. "It's always a surprise at what you'll get. Canadian Curly Maple is used throughout, but you may also get different trims from other woods, such as Brazilian Jatoba, African Zebrawood, Wenge, or Hawaiian Koa."

"There is no doubt that salt is a necessity in the kitchen, but using healthy, unprocessed salts make all the difference when it comes to bringing out the flavour of your ingredients." Remember my experience with the avocado's beautiful smokey flavour :)
"I came upon a flavoured salt blend when in Edmonton and thought that I could absolutely do that myself." Virginia started researching where she could obtain salts from around the world and began to import and blend the salts herself, honing the craft that she has perfected. The salts that are infused with flavours are done by those with proper technology, as I'm told it's a complicated process.

"My husband built me a salt cellar in our home, which I had inspected, so that I could share my love of salts with friends, family and beyond."
Virginia was just in the beginning stages of starting up her business when she had a serious car accident that laid her up for the better part of a year. During that time, however, she was able to begin researching packaging and build her website.
"Packaging is very important to me. As with food, the eye sees first and then comes the pleasure. I have worked extremely hard despite my numerous injuries, and I hope to be an inspiration to my children. I am not in a hurry to grow my business because I like the personal touch and I am proud of the fact that I stay in contact with my customers and ensure they have what they need. Quality before anything else."

Virginia does hope to expand further into Alberta and then, perhaps Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Then more people will be privilaged to partake in her most enjoyable and complimentary salts. The Salt Cellar is sure to have a flavour to tantilize the palates of everyone. Along with the delicate, savoury salt, Virginia also offers some delicious, flavoured cane sugar as well.

Virginia operates The Salt Cellar out of her home, on an acreage in Cremona, Alberta.
For more information on The Salt Cellar, products, pricing, to shop online, or contact Virginia with any questions you may have, please visit her website at

The Salt Cellar also has a facebook page, so check it out and "like" it here. Stay updated with the newest flavours and products and be the first to try it out! You can also follow The Salt Cellar on Twitter.

The Salt Cellar has products available at the Kingsland Farmers Market in Calgary, Ab, which is open all year, Thursday's thru Sunday's. Product can also be found and purchased at the following stores: Bite Groceteria in Inglewood, White Raven Emporium in Didsbury, Mountain Mercato in Canmore, The Creative Cleaver in Lethbridge, and CTR Refrigeration in Calgary and Edmonton.

You can find Virginia and The Salt Cellar at both the Millarville and Spruce Meadows Christmas Markets, and she will be at the Westener in Red Deer on Dec 1 & 2 for the annual Christmas Bazaar.

Now for your special PROMO CODE, just for Growing Green readers!
Enter the PROMO CODE: Ilovesalt when you make an online order with The Salt Cellar and choose one of two options.

Option A: Get Free Shipping anywhere within Alberta


Option B: Get 15% off your online order.

This PROMO CODE expires Dec 31, 2012.

The Salt Cellar's product will make great Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers, so hurry and order today! If you can't make it out to a market, be sure to order online.

I know I'm excited to try out some new flavours I just got this past weekend and there are many more that I look forward to trying in the future as well. Enjoy!

Next week's feature hint: curds of goodness

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