From the Sea: Namotu’s Very Own Sea Salt

rich tuohy namotu sea salt

Saltwater is our bread and butter. Not much happens here that doesn’t revolve around it, good or bad. We spend all day in it, on it or sometimes just cursing it for the never-ending maintenance nightmare it creates. Saltwater is the bane of our existence.

With so much salty water all around us, it seemed crazy that we were spending hundreds of dollars importing sea salt for the restaurant. Namotu even has its own fancy desalination system that gives us fresh water and the byproduct is, of course, salty water. Usually, the salty brine is returned to the ocean, but guest chef and the man behind the incredible Byron Bay Cacao artisan chocolate brand, Rich Tuohy, suggested we take that byproduct and make our own sea salt. This would mean we have our own zero miles and locally produced sea salt.

Rich did a sample batch in 2023 and had it tested for any contaminants. The results were excellent – pure sea salt with high levels of magnesium, sulphur (really good for you!), potassium and calcium. So in February this year, after quite a bit of planning, design and procuring, Rich and our Engineer, Charles, were ready. Rich flew from Australia and built the first two beds, setting up the processes and teaching us how to turn our filtered brine into a flakey sea salt fit for the restaurant and bar.

First we take the filtered brine from the desalination system and pour it into the trays. These are left for around a week depending on the weather and kept covered to avoid any leaves or dust blowing in. Once nearly all of the water has evaporated, the salt is harvested and flavoured by our kitchen team. The pure salt is packaged straight away, the coconut smoked is smoked in our Traeger grill with Namotu’s own mature coconut husks, and the lime and chili is combined with dehydrated local bongo chilis and limes. Each batch takes around a week but we end up with plenty of salt for the kitchen, bar and even the boutique.

Our new sea salt products, a result of Rich’s idea and hard work, are now available in the boutique. Crafted from our own filtered brine, these sea salts are not just the perfect little slice of Pacific Ocean, but also packed with health benefits. Our three unique flavours – plain, coconut smoked, and chilli lime are all perfect accompaniments to our signature margaritas.

When you next visit, we invite you to indulge in a refreshing margarita or explore our sea salt range in the boutique. We are truly proud of this new addition!

Massive thank you to Rich Tuohy for making this happen as well as our team in engineering, kitchen and admin for keeping it all moving. Charles, Simeli, Onni, Miri, Mary and more. Thank you also to Rob King for taking these photos in April. Vinaka!