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A new salt arrives from a South African desert

If you are interested in artisan finishing salts, there’s no shortage of choices

Oryx Desert Salt from the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa.Candice Douglas

If you are interested in artisan finishing salts, there’s no shortage of choices from white, pink, black, pale gray, and blue — harvested from regions across the globe. Recently, a new salt has become available in the United States — Oryx Desert Salt. The sun-dried salt is harvested from a remote 20-square-mile salt pan, or salt flat, in the Kalahari Desert of South Africa formed by an ancient underground salt lake replenished by flowing streams. Pure and unprocessed, and mineral-rich, without additives, the translucent white crystals have an exceptionally soft but full and fresh briny flavor. Samantha Skyring of Cape Town, South Africa, founded the company more than a decade ago, inspired by a journey there she took years before. On her trek, she encountered oryx gazelles, a type of antelope with long, speared horns. The animal, she learned, can survive for months without water but can’t go for long without licking salt — hence the name of her company. Skyring sells her salt in Europe and widely throughout her country, largely to chefs (8.8 ounces, $7.99 to $8.25; 3.2 ounces in a grinder, $6.99). In addition to the coarse salt, she’s added smoked and wine salt in refillable grinders and Madagascar Black pepper sourced from small-scale farmers. The company donates a portion of profits to the Khomani San and Mier, indigenous communities living in the Kalahari. Available at Whole Foods Market locations and amazon.com.



Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at anntrieger@gmail.com.