The New Salt: Worth Its Weight

Is salt the new health food? Or just the latest trend?

The slim, dimpled, white platter held six different varieties of salt: vintage merlot, espresso, chipotle, truffle, Spanish rosemary, and garlic.

Each, applied by the pinch to my bransino Mediterranean fish, popped a new taste sensation at Sea Salt restaurant in Naples.

Sea Salt restaurant's retail salt collection

Call it salt-hopping or salting around, this trend by any name takes the tastebuds out for a spin.

Salt, often considered a culprit in the American diet, has nonetheless grown into its own gourmet food group.

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, inNortheast Floridahas grabbed hold of the trend with a salt sommelier, Isabelle Chety, who doles out tastes of everything from citrus-infused salt to Chardonnay salt mixed with wine sediments from barrels at her family’s vineyard in France.

At the resort’s Salt, the Grill restaurant, Chety selects and presents tableside salts to enhance the flavors of each course.  Read more of this post

Salt-Crusted Crayton Cove

Naples’ historic community a local secret

Where boat docks constitute the heart of a community, you are bound to find three qualities that conspire in creating a destination of depth and specific energy: seafood, artists, and storytellers.

The story told of Crayton Cove in Naples begins in the early 1900s as intrepid boatmen and pioneers discovered and settled this final Florida outpost.

Reaching from beach to bay, 12th Avenue South, back then known as Pier Street, was the town’s main thoroughfare connecting the Naples Pier with the docks at Back Bay.

Later renamed for early developer E.W. “Ed” Crayton, the Back Bay community attracted a lively mix of commercial fishermen, workers building the Tamiami Trail, and business folk who started an inn, a grocery store, and Naples’ first pharmacy.

Today, despite Crayton Cove’s deep roots and home to City Dock, the neighborhood has retreated into something of a hidden Naples secret.

“No one knows we’re here,” Nora Butler, a design artist formerly from the Sanibel Island-Fort Myers area, told me. “Even the people who live in Naples don’t know about Crayton Cove.”

Although that’s how John and Joann, snowbirds from Illinois we met at the Cove Inn chickee bar, like it, the dozen or so galleries, restaurants, and shops that today make up the tight little community have banded together in a Discover Crayton Cove movement to heighten awareness of “the original Old Naples.”  Read more of this post