Ever since Michael read the Salt book, he's an expert on the subject. If someone even mentions a word beginning with sal–, he's there in a flash with a "did you know?" So I knew when I brought him back some Fleur de Sel from Île de Ré, he would be able to give me a brief history of salt making in France. He was also appalled that I hadn't been to the salt works. I had eating to do and only four days, so it hadn't been a priority. Not bothering with the "gros sel", the larger salt that is more for cooking than finishing, I lugged back bags of the lighter finishing salt for him. And he immediately plucked one of our beefsteak tomatoes off the vine to embark upon a taste test with the Rétais salt and our beloved Maldon. Maldon finished off the winner for both of us, but the the Île de Ré salt has a more pungent, salty flavor that worked well with the tomatoes.
The family I stayed with had a beautiful salt cellar and after a little search, I found one at the La Flotte market. It is made in France from porcelain and is perfect for a little fleur de sel, or Maldon, whichever takes your fancy. It's making a regular appearance at our table.