Move over, wine tasting; salt tasting is the fun new way to spend a day. Saltopia is a new gourmet food experience in Hackettstown, and it offers something truly unique. Inside the 11,000 square-foot infused sea salt manufacturing center, you’ll find a number of things to do; these include a salt tasting room, cooking classes, farm-to-table meals and even a Himalayan sea salt cave.
You can start your visit with a cup of tea. Then taste one of the more than 120 sea salts and raw sugars infused with flavor. A popular salt is “Kitchen’s Keeper,” which is sea salt blended with garlic, onion, basil and parsley. Meanwhile, one fan favorite sugar is “Sugar Shack,” which is maple-infused sugar. Owner Kimarie Santiago also suggests “Mouthful of Magic,” which infuses sea salt with garlic and… more garlic.
Saltopia will also have two new gourmet sugars, “Crazy for Cranberry” and “Pumpkin Brown Sugar,” coming this fall. But there’s more on the way in the future, including new tastes in time for Thanksgiving.
In addition to the salt tasting, frequent special events include a multi-course farm-to-table dinner featuring local foods. You can also take classes to learn how to make your own sauce and dressing. They even offer cooking classes for kids; for example, there is a vegetarian lasagna class this fall.
For something a little different, you can take a Salt is Life production facility tour with Santiago. During the tour, you’ll learn where pure salt comes from and how Saltopia works its magic. Santiago also debunks salt myths and explains why the mineral is essential to our bodies and our food.
Finally, you can visit the Himalayan Salt Cave. They say stepping into this cave works wonders, bringing about a sense of peace and stress relief; that’s because the salt’s negatively charged ions improve your mood, making it easier to breathe and help you feel better.
On your way out, you can pick up an authentic Himalayan salt lamp crafted from ancient salt. The lamps emit those same negative ions, which offer the extra benefit of helping purify the air.
How it All Began
Santiago began infusing salts as a hobby. “I created Saltopia based off personal needs,” she says. “I was spending extra money to buy organic goods. All the while, I was coming home to add the number one, most commonly used ingredient in all my recipes—salt.” Family and friends love her creations so much they encouraged her to start a business; which she did in December 2011.
Success came quick, and she went from selling at New Jersey farmers’ markets and local shops to nationwide. In fact, she now presents regularly on QVC. After moving her manufacturing facility to a larger space in Hackettstown, she realized she had room for a storefront. Now, Saltopia is ready to welcome guests looking for a new kind of experience.
Images: © Saltopiasalts / Instagram