This Salt-Ash is a specially prepared French product, manufactured from salt and pure vegetable charcoal plus an anti-caking agent. It is a jet-black, free-flowing powder, is food-grade, sterile and odourless and most importantly comes ready for use, with no mixing necessary. The use of Ash is an integral part of the cheesemaker's art and is a vital component in producing the stunning coatings that are found, for example, on many European goats' cheeses. Historically, ash that used to be applied to cheese once came directly from a fire and was mixed with salt before use. The addition of a black vein of ash running right through a cheese looks truly amazing - Morbier cheese from France and Humboldt Fog from California both use the ash in this way. French cheeses, such as the Pyramid shaped Valençay as well as Selles-sur-Cher and Saint Mauré or the Italian Sottocenere al Tartufo all use the Black Ash as an external coating and many artisanal English cheeses now sport a beautiful ash coating too. Apart from giving the cheese a superb visual appearance, coating the outside with Ash also has significant benefits. For example, many cheeses become quite acidic during their maturing process and this can prevent the cheese ripening properly and fulfilling its potential, both in terms of texture and flavour. Our Salt-Ash is alkaline and so neutralises the excess acidity, helping the cheese mature completely. In addition, the vegetable charcoal can soak up any whey on the surface, allowing the cheese to dry more rapidly. The ash also helps the surface of the cheese to become more hospitable to the growth of surface-ripening moulds such as the white Pen. Candidum, allowing the final product to have a subtle, complex flavour that is complemented with a delicate pale grey rind. Keep the Ash pack closed at all times when not in use.