Seasonal Foodie Featured Maker
Meet Portland Salt Co. Co-Founders, Rebecca & Justin Christiansen
Portland Salt Co. was founded on the notion that life’s too short to eat uninspired food. Their artisan blends are made with pure sea salt from the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean and all-natural spices to bring out the very best in your cooking.
We caught up with Co-Founders Rebecca & Justin Christiansen to learn more about why they started their business and what they hope people experience when they cook with their blended salts.
What inspired you to start your business?
We have always enjoyed cooking and hosting parties; we really love the way that food brings people together. Over many years of dinner parties, we developed seasoning blends that became consistent components of the meals we served and enabled us to execute more efficiently. The first was Portland Steak Salt, which is a vital staple of any party host as steaks can be quickly executed and guests always leave impressed. When the COVID lockdowns occurred, friends and family members found themselves cooking much more often than they used to. They began to ask us to ship the steak salt in larger quantities and with increasing frequencies. Portland Salt Co. was born out of the support and desire of our friends and family to use it.
What do you love most about food and cooking?
Food for us is experiential. We love how a great meal can establish everything from memorable life experiences to lasting friendships. Some of our best memories as a family are centered around experiences at the dinner table and it has served as a foundation for relationships with others who love to cook and/or eat as much as we do. When we travel, we often book our plans around meals first. You can learn a lot about culture, regional ingredients and history as well as meet incredible people who are eager to share their passion and knowledge about the cuisine with you.
What is your go-to comfort food?
For Becca, it is a cheese board. It doesn’t matter if it is a snack, meal or dessert! She loves to pair it with honeycomb, cornichons, crackers and wine. For Justin, it’s a Kouign Amann. The buttery, flaky goodness of a croissant with a caramelized sugar and a little salt. Could anything be better?
What is your hope for people experiencing your product for the first time?
We really want people to enjoy a delicious meal that is capable of being an experience by itself, but also enables the home chef to spend time with their guests enjoying their company. Too often, we would (and still occasionally do) over commit ourselves to the meal preparation and were unable to properly prioritize the time spent with our guests. You don’t have to choose between preparing restaurant quality food and being a great host, it is possible to do both! We also know that dining at home, often in front of a screen between meetings, has become increasingly normal as we work from home. It really is exciting to be able to quickly level up simple dishes like toast, hummus or potatoes with an incredible seasoning that makes working from home meals taste better.
Describe your dream dinner. Who’s there, what are you eating, what are you drinking?
This is a tough question! We really enjoy dining with our close friends on global travel, and we would certainly want a few of them there. We also enjoy meeting new people, it is fun to learn about them and it keeps the conversation flowing with so many new areas and connections to explore. Having people who are equally as passionate about travel, food and wine would make the dinner even more enjoyable. As for what we would be eating, is everything an acceptable answer? We really miss traveling and at this point, coming out of the pandemic, it would be amazing to have a multi course meal featuring dishes from around the world, paired with an amazing, local wine or spirit. Perhaps we could do a week of dinners with each influenced from a different region? If sticking to just one meal… We really miss eating in Japan so that would be a great start. We adore French cuisine and always have fun pairing wines. Perhaps a Japanese-French fusion meal!
Are you a wine drinker? Any particular kind of wine you’re loving right now?
We definitely are! Similar to food, we really like to explore regions and flavors. We primarily choose reds and are most likely to select a Napa Cabernet, Bordeaux blend or a Pinot Noir from Oregon. The dark fruit and vanilla forward Cabernets with strong tannins and balanced acidity are our favorites. Hundred Knot Cabernet is a great choice for us for those reasons. We also love to drink Brunello, Burgundy, Rioja and Syrah. For whites, we most often drink Napa Chardonnay. On our last trip to France, we developed a love for Chassagne-Montrachet which is a chardonnay that pairs as well with food as it does the beach. We are really excited about a planned trip to Greece this summer. We are not familiar with Greek wines and just began trying Assyrtiko and have been really impressed.
What most excites you about this food and wine pairing?
The breadth of wines that Hundred Knot offers and the versatility of the Portland Salt Co. blends provides so many options! You could do a new food and wine pairing with the combo every week and still never run out of ideas. We love the simplicity and perfection of a nice steak paired with Cabernet. You can really surprise your guests’ palates with the Portland Pita Salt (a Za’atar style blend) on grilled salmon paired with the Hundred Knot Grenache for a Mediterranean inspired meal. We love the combinations so much that we will continue to try new combos and post them on our Instagram feed throughout the year!
The RD Winery + Portland Salt Co. Seasonal Foodie Box is available to members for a limited time.