In the shadow of Portland, Oregon’s twisting highway overpasses lies an industrial area of train tracks, breweries and warehouses. Inch a little farther along historic N. Mississippi Avenue and the landscape begins to change to one of urban renewal and artistic expression. Restored Craftsman cottages in a dozen hues neighbor modern lofts and trendy eateries. Furniture designers set up shop next to eco-boutiques and a world-famous light bulb store.
In a charming courtyard storefront you’ll discover The Meadow, an absolute jewel of a shop owned and operated by husband and wife team Mark and Jennifer Bitterman. With a second store location in New York City’s West Village, the team is rapidly making its mark on the specialty gourmet scene.
When one thinks of the finest things in life, we imagine treats that stimulate the senses. The Meadow shop offers just those treats, combining more than 100 carefully chosen exotic salts and handcrafted chocolates from all corners of the world with a select offering of wines, bitters and specialty syrups. Anchored by an assortment of ready-to-wrap fresh-cut flowers and stacks of Himalayan salt blocks, the cozy store is also an art gallery for featured artists.
For a flavor enthusiast like me, The Meadow is the best and worst kind of shop in the world – I wanted everything! Sadly, I could not take it all home wrapped in a pretty parcel. When you visit, be sure to ask plenty of questions (the staff is wonderfully knowledgeable and friendly) and taste everything you can. Your palate will be astonished.
“As you eat, food and salt combine. First a flash of salt, then the flavors of food, then again a spark of salt – with the food and the salt interacting and interlacing in a different way with every bite. The results are increased intensity of flavor, greater complexity, and even a heightened awareness of the very process of tasting food,” says Mark. As the James Beard Foundation award winning author of Salted: A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral, With Recipes, Bitterman understands the critical nature of this mineral — and I wholeheartedly agree with his assessment. Who can live without salt?
For salt novices, The Meadow has assembled two distinct tasting selections, available in tins, corked bottles or jars. I purchased The Meadow Set which includes finishing salts Ilocano Asin, Sel Gris de L’Ile de Re, Marlborough Flakey, Haleakala Ruby, Bali Taksu and Halen Mon Gold representing salt harvests from many continents. I also bought Soy Salt, and a delicious variety I’m dying to try in desserts, Bitterman’s own blend of Chocolate Salt.
On the specialty chocolate front, I tried Corallo Cocoa Nibs, a Venezuelan bean to bar chocolate by Cacao Atlanta Chocolate Company called Patanemo, and Olive and Sinclair sea salt Southern artisan chocolate. Reviews on all to come shortly. . . .
Keep watching Savor the Salt in weeks to come as I feature each one of these finishing salts and cocoa nibs in recipes. I’ll also meet up with Mark Bitterman and chat about his eye-opening book.
As I close this post, let me just say this. Thank you Mark and Jennifer Bitterman for creating a divine retreat for foodies like me.
Good news for all my readers – The Meadow delivers to your doorstep! Simply log onto the website or call 1-888-388-4633 to discuss your custom order.
3721 N. Mississippi Avenue, Portland, OR 97227 (503) 288-4633
523 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014 (212) 645-4633.