Balancing on heavy wooden beams, Gregory Marshall gazes through a massive branching lining the walls. The water droplets drop down at a discontinuous rate. An exhilarating sea breeze reminds me of walking A Normandy beach.
Here we are in the heart of the Tower of Blackthorne Salt, facing the sea The Scottish City of Ayr. An eight meter high structure, unique in the United Kingdom and one of the few in Europe, is still in operation. Filled with blackthorn branches, the building operates according to an old industrial process: a graduation of namkeen. idea? On a large vertical surface, seawater evaporates to produce soft salt flakes. Nothing else.
These salt crystals, almost intact, are presented to visitors to the site. © Julian Marsault, Hans Lucas
We wanted an eco-responsible method that uses very little energy, Gregory Marshall, 44, explains. Several years ago, this professional architect decided to embark on this adventure with his wife, Whirly, a former lawyer. Today it is one of the only salt manufacturing in the country.
A multicultural law
This method, once used in Germany, Poland and Austria, is several hundred years old. For Gregory Marshall, it is tops to reconnect with a family tradition. “My great-grandfather worked in the export of salt in Glasgow”, Now it states “Master Salter”.
Gregory Marshall is still exploring the tower, built two years ago with locally sour ingredients.
Working in this way is to rely on the weather and not control it. We are doing the best we can. With patience and determination.
After the finished product passes in an oven, the off-white salt of blackthorn salt. © Julian Marsault, Hans Lucas
If their production is far from rivaling the huge amount produced by industrialists, the marshals tend to focus more on quality. Off-white crystals, irregular shape, smooth and less neutral in taste than traditional table salt. And this is due to the low concentration of sodium chloride.
It is as if this salt is slowly spreading on your tongue, without that abrasive side. Does gourmet want to win people’s hearts? Nothing is sure.
After the Kovid-19 pandemic began and entered the country, the Blackthorne Salt got off to a rocky start. As with many businesses in the UK, the shortage of tourists takes a toll on turnover.
But with the influence of imagination, the couple managed to make themselves known in early 2021. Today, their product is used in Edinburgh for extravagant salted butter or high-end restaurants, such as the five-star The Fifth Arms, in Brother. Gregory Marshall recommends tasting it with ease,
Sprinkled on some tomatoes or a nice steak. In the company of some good friends.
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