Given that I was brought up there I reckon that I might just be able count myself an Essex girl. It’s one of the most maligned of places. But those of us who hale from there are not all orange you know. I for one certainly haven’t ever owned a pair of white stilettos in my life.
You don’t have to delve very hard to find things that the county can be proud of. There’s Tiptree Jam, Grayson Perry, my beloved Southend Pier and the big fat cockles from Leigh-on-Sea. And Maldon sea salt. Not probably the best salt in the world but definitely!
Today’s picture is of one of the handsome Thames sailing barges that can be seen on the quayside in the town. There is a lovely adjacent park that used to be a favourite hangout of my family when I was a kid. It had a funfair and an amazing swimming lake. Alas, when we went there for a reminiscing trip with Mum and Dad, I discovered that you’re no longer allowed to dip your toes.
It’s used to be hard for me to get Maldon sea salt. Lots of the shops here now sell local version from Cornwall, also a fine product with less food miles. But it’s not the same! Once I had a little moan to the Maldon Salt Company about the lack of availability around these parts. Bless them, they sent me a lovely gift pack. It came with a delicious smoked version of the salt. Wonderful on chips. Thankfully my supply problem’s gone away I now buy it in bulk online in massive 1.4kg catering tubs. Here’s the one that’s just arrived.
Maldon salt has a unique flakiness, a satisfying feel on the tongue And there’s a taste beyond the saltiness that I can’t quite identify but seems to me to be the essence of all things seaside. I’m sure if you asked Jamie Oliver, another Essex person, he’d be in total agreement with me!