Rock Salt Flavor Retrospective: Hyde Park, Winter 2020-2021

We’re approaching the end of February, so as the temperatures rise and we part with the harvesting season and prepare for another cycle of cultivation, we at the Chicago Shady Dealer thought it might be appropriate to recapitulate the grand triumphs and blistering disappointments of this winter’s flavor palette. A note on methodology: in our blind testing, sampling teams tasted salts found on streets and sidewalks alike. The results are as follows: 


  • Turquoise: Not the most common find this side of Lake Michigan, but not the rarest either. This has got to be the best rock salt around. As its bewitching hues playfully suggest, so its flavor cuts straight to a crisp, refreshing, oceanic salinity, all while adapting it for Midwestern sensibilities and sidewalks. 3/10
  • Translucent with a hint of golden brown: This delicate and rare sample is rich with notes of ginger and nutmeg. Given its scarcity, it seems to be importedbut it’s well worth the cost of shipping. The pleasing color seems to be a result of its aging in oaken barrels, rather than the typical “pile” or “bag” configuration more common to the region. 2.5/10
  • Purple: Principal merit is size and with it, chunkiness. This sidewalk staple recalls the heady vintages of ’96 and ’97. These nostalgic spirits bring powerful texture and flavor, a bit overpowering for many modern preferences. 2/10
  • White: Classic. Ubiquitous for a reason. Strong reminiscences of quintessential Morton ’67 are present throughout and enhanced by modern crystallization and harvesting techniques. Sacrifices boldness for refinement and precision. 2/10
  • New! Pale green: This year’s most publicized release burst late onto the scene with high expectations, which, unfortunately, it failed to meet. Its strength lies in appearance; this compound is even chunkier than its purple competitor. With a discerning eye, one can even find the rare palm-sized nugget. The flavor, however, leaves something to be desireda little bit of kick would go a long way. 1/10
  • White but funny little egg shapes: Year after year, the “funny little egg shape” approach raises expectations then proceeds to disappoint. This season’s batch trended towards even tighter clustering of pellet-like crystals, harming its scores in both visual appearance and our tasting process. Maybe next year. 0.5/10
  • Grey: Nope NOPE nope this is just gravel, cannot recommend. -1/10