Most of us use it every day without even thinking twice about it. We're talking about salt. Chemically, salt is NaCL. But walk into a spice store and you'll see there's a lot of variety in NaCL: Online retailer and New York's famous spice store Kalustyan's, for instance, has more than 80 varieties of sea salt alone. What makes them all different?
A lot of things. First, just like terroir makes a difference in how wine tastes, place and source explain why salts have different flavors and colors — and uses. So, just like all wine is fruity (it comes from grapes, after all), all salt is salty, but there's more to the way we perceive what we eat than that.
"The key components of flavor are taste, aroma, mouthfeel (e.g., texture + temperature), and what we term in 'The Flavor Bible' as the 'X Factor,'" Karen Page, author of "The Flavor Bible," said in an email. Her book (she co-authored it with Andrew Dornenburg) is a go-to index that helps chefs and other culinary professionals pair ingredients in dishes and meals.