Salt is a unique addition to chocolate, amplifying flavours inherent in the chocolate and enhancing sweetness without compromising on the simplicity or purity of a recipe. Unlike the growing importance given to the origin of cocoa beans, the provenance of salt in chocolate is rarely discussed. Provenance is intimately related to ethics and sustainability, with greater traceability in both beans and salt illuminating the practices of bringing them to market. Just as not all bread or chocolate is created equal, neither is salt. At Pump Street, we feel it is important to take salt as seriously as we do bread and chocolate, which is why our sea salt bars use exclusively Halen Môn Sea Salt.
Halen Môn sea salt is made exclusively from the clean, clear seawater of the Menai Strait using hand-harvesting methods to retain the beautiful distinct crystals, whilst preserving traditional salt making’s place in food history and culture. In 2014, Halen Môn was awarded the same Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status as Champagne and Parma ham. This certification provides a mark of tradition and provenance that parallels the parameters with which we select our chocolate origins.
Jess Lea-Wilson of Halen Môn describes Pump Street and Halen Môn as being united by a shared belief in the importance of provenance, principles and pleasure.
“We both start with incredible raw natural resources and make something pretty magical out of them. Pump Street really celebrate each of their growers, and where they are in the world. Halen Môn is a celebration of place too – when you taste our sea salt, you are tasting Wales.”
Today, Halen Môn’s salt can be found in more than twenty-two countries across the globe, yet importantly, it is still sold at their very first stockist – the local butchers Swains in Menai Bridge – just as Pump Street will always be firmly rooted on the opposite British coast in Orford, Suffolk.
At the heart of things, the close relationship between Halen Môn and Pump Street is a reflection of the synergy between flavours when salt is paired with chocolate. The trinity of bread, chocolate and salt is so simple yet full of potential. The results will always be a tribute to the ever-changing natural world and the communities who work to turn raw ingredients into artisan products. In the words of Joanna Brennan, co-founder of Pump Street Chocolate,
“Adding salt to our chocolate accentuates the delicious interplay between flavours and elongates the enjoyment you get from eating it. It brings us great pride to add the particularly beautiful salt that is Halen Môn to our chocolate, as it is made in a traditional way and supports a local community while being committed to the best quality, just as we are with our bread and chocolate making."