Follow the brick path through trendy Gastown in Vancouver, turn down a shadowy pungent alley way and there hides an alluring hole in the wall. Salt Tasting Room is an underground hot spot for the true wine aficionados. On any given night you are sure to find members of the wine industry tribe, lovers, tasters, worshippers all gather here to sip on the nectar of gods mated with divine petit fare.  Salt  is a simple room with basically not much other than a couple of tables, chairs and a chalk board menu to choose from. This is a place for light fodder; recommended for either before or apres dinner. Salt offers with up various ‘tasting plates'($15) with a diverse spread of  artisan cheese, meat and other tantalizing condiments. With the menu constantly rotating you are sure to never have to try the same item twice on the menu at salt although you may want to. Salt features meats from local charcuterie artisans such as Oyama Sausage Co., Moccia’s and N & Z Deli.  Fine cheeses are also written on the chalk board from local and international cheesemongers such as Poplar Grove from Naramata, Moonstuck Organic Cheeses hailing from Salt Spring Island and Neal’s Yard cheeses from across the pond. Grainy Guinness mustard, sweet pickled onions &  crunchy slices of fig bread are just a few of the palatable choices to put together your tasting plate. Typically a guest chooses a flight of 3 wines accompanied by 3 meats,3 cheeses and 3 condiments. This is not a place to just order the house wine, Salt has an extensive cellar ranging from the sweet and bitter Crab Apple wine hailing  from Elephant Island in Naramata to Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from Robert Craig Wine Cellars.The welcoming and knowledgeable staff  are very helpful in choosing the best pairings,with abundant information on everything listed on the chalk board and then some.  Once you’ve received your tasting plate with wine pairings your server writes out and gives you a list of what you’re about to enjoy and precedes to explain more about the wine to you in which to have a better understanding of it. The pairings are extremely impressive the people at Salt truly are passionate with what they do and it shows. Dessert plates are offered as well in the same fashion as the tasting plates, a sample of usually chocolate ( mousse, ganache etc) or lemon (think meringue, key lime cheesecake) treats are equally mouth-watering. Salt Tasting Room is lovely mix of rawness and sophistication. A true diamond in the rough.

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