A friend was cleaning out his kitchen cupboards recently, trying to make some order. He knew he had a thing for salt and had accumulated a lot of it over the years. But he had no idea.
When he pulled all his exotic pink, smoked, otherwise-flavored and miscellaneous salts out of the cupboard, he found more than 60 types! My own collection of maybe six or eight types -- Maldon, Guérande, Himalayan, black Hawaiian -- seems positively austere in comparison.
Buying "gourmet" or finishing salts in small quantities means you pay a premium. For years, I hauled kilo (2.2 lb) bags of fleur de sel de Guérande from a Paris shop in the Marais that sold it at a good price.
I'm not headed to Paris anytime soon, so I'm thrilled to have discovered San Francisco Salt Company, which sells chef's salts in bulk. You can buy 20 pounds of French gray sea salt for less than $50 (now on sale). I say bag it up and give it as Christmas presents.