My go-to place for souvenirs when I am traveling is the grocery store. I usually find small gifts that are local and edible so they leave no trace! My latest favourite gift to bring home is salt. The flavour is very regional and is fun to experiment with once you get home.
Several years ago we were in the southern Portugal region called the Algarve. I noticed huge piles of salt on the beach, similar to the way we would see sand piled up to spread on the road in winter. I bought some salt to bring home with me and loved using it- it was a wet, mild salt.
Last fall when I was in Botswana, I brought home salt from the Kalahari Desert. I purchased it in the airport and had already checked my bag so I threw it in my carry-on. When I went through customs at JFK, they opened all three bags of salt and tested it, causing me to almost miss my flight. My advice? Buy your salt in time to put it in your checked bag! The salt from Botswana was very dry and in large pieces which meant it was more concentrated, not great as table salt but perfect for cooking since you only need a small amount to get the taste right.
I have salt from Marblehead MA that lists the location it’s from on the jar. Just recently when we were in the Azores I went to the grocery store to buy my local salt. I found Azorean salt and was thrilled to find Algarve salt too! I bought several different varieties, plus a handmade ceramic salt dish!
I recently made a batch of salted peanut butter cookies and the big decision was which salt to sprinkle on top! I went with the Marblehead Salt Co.
A friend of mine recommended the book Salt: A World History and I am actually going to get it out of the library. The enticing blurb about the book says… as the only rock we eat, salt has shaped civilization from the very beginning, and its story is a glittering, often surprising part of the history of humankind. No wonder I love salt!