Chocolate and salt is a match made in taste bud heaven. When prepared properly, it creates a multi-faceted flavor of the two opposing, yet complimentary flavors and creates the perfect sweet treat.
The human tongue can detect 5 basic tastes: salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and umami (popularly called savoriness). Adding salt to a dish causes salty receptors on the taste buds to react, but adding salt to a dish also counteracts bitterness by prohibiting bitter taste buds to pick up on all the bitter flavors.
Salt’s ability to counteract bitterness makes it especially popular for use in chocolate. Cocoa beans, the beans from which chocolate is made, are naturally bitter. The name chocolate is believed to have derived from the Aztec word xocolātl, meaning “bitter water.” When the drink was brought to Spain the Spanish would counteract the bitterness of the cocoa beans with milk and sugar, the same thing that is done in modern chocolate processing.
Sea salt is the most common salt addition to chocolate. Sea salt if harvested by allowing sea water to evaporate until only the salt crystals remain. Sea salt is less dense than table salt, and sea salt crystals are also larger than refined table salt.
Pink Himalayan sea salt is mined from ancient sea beds at the base of the Himalayas. The salt is rich in iron oxide, giving it a pinkish hue. The sea beds are located in remote locations that are not tarnished by pollutants. Pink Himalayan sea salt is widely believed as the purest salt in the world.
When combined with chocolate, high quality sea salt, like Pink Himalayan sea salt, compliments the natural sweetness of milk chocolate and counterbalances the bitterness of dark chocolate. Each bite packs a small, salty punch that creates a complex flavor in an already delightful treat.