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In 2011, Don and Judit Tydeman heard the same piece of advice over and over. “Virtually everyone we knew said, ‘Don’t open a salt store,’ ” recalls Don, who can chuckle now, because the Tydemans own a little jewel box of a salt boutique. The Salt Cellar, located down a flight of stairs off a small side street in Portsmouth, N.H., proves the doubters wrong. In fact, the duo opened a second Salt Cellar in Portland, Maine, a year later.
Much of the glow emanates from Himalayan pink sea salt, sold here as cutting boards, blocks, lamps, shot glasses, and — a Salt Cellar innovation — salting cubes, 2-inch cubes threaded on nylon ropes, handy for swirling through soups, stews, and pasta water. Another specialty here is finishing salts, in flavors ranging from vanilla and espresso to sriracha and habanero. Use them to jazz up popcorn or spice a pitcher of Bloody Mary. The couple suggests sprinkling a bit of lemon or espresso salt over vanilla ice cream. The salt theme carries over into an array of bath and spa products, but don’t expect to find any brand extensions like olive oil or pepper here. “If it doesn’t have a connection to salt,” says Don Tydeman, “we won’t sell it.” The Salt Cellar, 7 Commercial Alley, Portsmouth, N.H., 603-766-1616, and 172 Middle St., Portland, Maine, 207-761-2122, www.salt-cellar.com