Sometimes when you’re away from home a thing finds its way into your life that you find so engaging, so joyful, so essential it comes to define your future and maybe even who you are. Because when you come home and you find the thing isn’t available you decide, with the fervour of the newly enlightened, that you’ll just make the thing yourself. And so the research begins and with your disciple’s eyes you see evidence of the thing wherever you look – secret words, forgotten techniques, special equipment. You stumble across revered pioneers and their guides laying out the journey ahead.
A previously secret door has opened and you speak in tongues about the thing to bemused friends. You find yourself on pilgrimages to odd places to attend thing workshops, open days and product demonstrations. You try out your experimental batches of the thing on unsuspecting family members and spend your Christmas break fixing up a kitchen or a workshop or buying some specialised piece of thing-making equipment that costs more than a decent used car.
Then you’re being supported by an understanding partner, working your regular job 2 days a week, selling the thing from a market stall and cold-calling businesses to ask if maybe they might be, possibly interested in buying a wholesale quantity of the thing. And then all of sudden when somebody does actually order your thing and some other people seek you out to get some for their shop and others come to write a thing article or invite you to run a thing workshop and you realise you’ve become the thing person.
Bonnie Halliday discovered her thing was cold smoking rock salt and of course she couldn’t find any locally and of course she became the cold smoked salt person.
Bonnie learned through trial and error that apple wood made the best smoke and found her best salt took a whole day to smoke. She found her special equipment in the form of a Butch cold smoker, a tall heavy duty steel box connected by copper tubing to an old oak wine barrel.
Like a true believer Bonnie cold smoked anything she could think of; dairy, meat, nuts, fish, honey and salt of course. And then one day Bonnie discovered that although almost everything tasted good with cold smoked salt there was something that tasted really, really good with cold smoked salt – it was fudge.
Bonnie brings her fudge to the Fair Food warehouse in this large Tupperware container. She transfers the small hand wrapped parcels of fudge into a cardboard box and takes her Tupperware home.
When Alex, Fair Food’s grocery buyer, first brought a pack of Bonnie’s fudge over to try she apologised for the inevitable addiction she was about to enable. God! Fudge, was there ever a more onomatopoeic word? After eating half the pack I had to ask for it to be taken away to another part of the building before I slipped into an artisanal fudge coma. And in that moment with my mind swimming in a fug of smoky sweetness I struggled to articulate my thanks to Bonnie for discovering her thing.
Bonnie sells her salt and fudge at markets around Melbourne – you can also find Smalt in the webshop.