A Taste of Vancouver Island
"Sure, you can watch me boil saltwater," says an upbeat Andrew Shepherd, founder of the Vancouver Island Salt Co., when I ask if I can visit his artisanal sea salt headquarters in Cobble Hill on wildly beautiful Vancouver Island. Instead of using solar energy to evaporate the seawater as many traditional salt harvesters do in warm coastal regions, such as France's Brittany coast or the Algarve in Southern Portugal, Andrew heats the cold saltwater in large steam kettles using spent vegetable oil from local restaurants as biofuel. The Vancouver Island Salt Co. is Canada's first artisanal sea salt company and Andrew Shepherd is one of only a handful of sea salt makers in North America who harvests fleur de sel, the delicate top layer of sea salt that's prized as a premium finishing salt.
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