Svanetian salt is magic. Found throughout Georgia, the salt originates from the northeastern mountain region of Svaneti. It is a complex mix of sea salt, dried garlic, blue fenugreek, dried marigold flowers and chilli powder. There are numerous variations on these ingredients; some recipes include ground coriander seeds and dried dill.
I first tasted this salt at the spice market in Tbilisi. The spice vendor generously let our group taste the two variations she had available in large open bags. The salt explodes on the front of the palate, and the subtle spices follow in waves changing every few seconds. It was like nothing else I had tasted before and knew I had to bring some back home with me immediately.
Days later I ordered a plate of olives to have with a glass of wine. My travel mate, Rhonda, had her spices from the market so I dug into the salt and sprinkled it over the olives. The plain boring canned olives transformed into another dish completely, one that is magical. And thus this recipe was created, out of simple curiosity.
The salt is a burst of flavour. The spices explode on your palate bringing the food alive. Intuitively you would think that olives are salty enough, but this salt brings with it extraordinary hues of flavour. For some added punch you can also add a few sprinkles of adjika spice powder.
You can also use the salt on roasted/fried potatoes, grilled meats, salads, soups and a touch on stews. The spices in the salt blend in beautifully with the fish adding that final magical touch.
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Good quality green olives
A few pinches of Svanetian salt
Drain and pat the olives dry on paper towels. Put the olives on a plate and top it with a few generous sprinkles of salt.
You can add a few pinches of adjika spice mix as a variation.