We have done it! It has taken us nine months of hard work, writing business plans, submitting development applications, installing and commissioning equipment, but we can now happily say that we have made sea salt. And (even if I do say so myself) what great salt it is. From the results of our many small test batches and slightly larger pilot plant runs, we knew that it could be great. But recreating those fantastic white sea salt flakes on a large scale, with a lot of equipment that was totally new to salt making… when we first arrived here in Tassie nine months ago that seemed like merely a pipe dream. However, I am delighted to say that all expectations have been exceeded and, having sent some very fine sea salt off to market, we are now feeling rather pleased with ourselves.
So how to celebrate? My first thought was, of course, champagne (or rather, of the excellent local Tasmanian sparkling wines that I have come to enjoy just as much, if not more…). Taz, however, has other ideas about what constitutes celebratory fare and instead insisted that all we needed was some homemade bread. Bread, as this possibly suggests, is Taz’s passion. Eating bread, baking bread, even just looking at bread – he loves the stuff. He once had a sourdough starter (a naturally forming yeast that makes a sourdough what it is) which he nurtured so tenderly, day in day out, that my grandmother nicknamed it his ‘baby’. Sadly, he did eventually kill the baby (a treat of two weeks away with no thought of the baby ultimately did for it) but luckily his obsession with bread has been in no way diminished by this tragic end to his sourdough pretentions.
Today’s celebration of salt making calls for something a bit different, a bread that will put our crunchy sea salt flakes front and centre… the Focaccia. A simple Italian olive oil dough, stretched out flat and scattered with whatever delicious bits and pieces you feel like at the time. For this occasion we simply want olive oil, rosemary and a liberal sprinkling of Tasman Sea Salt flakes.
Focaccia with Sea Salt & Rosemary Recipe