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Keeping it Salty with Steel City Salt Company

Have you ever noticed that the scent and taste of certain foods can trigger memories of people and places? The parts of our brains that process emotions, learning and memory also process our sense of smell and taste. John Tarallo, who is the founder and owner of Steel City Salt Company along with his wife Candy, knows this very well. He grew up surrounded by family members who are passionate about good food and is an accomplished cook himself.

John's Grandmother, Florence Viola was born in the Strip District to a huge Polish family. Her kitchen was the heart of her home where she prepared Pierogies, stuffed cabbage, halushka and baked up a storm. As she married into an Italian family, she also mastered Italian food made with love, and a bunch of produce from her husband's prolific garden. Grandma Flo, as she was called, would bring a sandwich every weekend to the Strip where John began Steel City Salt Company. The aromas of Grandma Flo's kitchen bring back some of his sweetest memories and as a tribute to her, he created the Pierogi Salt Blend with garlic, roasted onions, chives and dill.

John met his wife, Candy in the Strip District where she worked at her sister's Peruvian restaurant, Chicken Latino. On the weekends, John volunteered with his Grandfather parking cars in a nearby lot. After seeing Candy every Saturday, he asked her out and the rest is history, as they say! Together John and Candy began Steel City Salt Company.

Candy is from Peru, and the couple visited the beautiful country and fell in love with a particular spice and salt blend that was a key component in the delicious food that they tasted everywhere that they went. After they returned home, they experimented with varying ingredients and amounts and figured out that a certain pepper that is native to Peru was missing. They reached out to family and other contacts and were able to procure the famous Aji Amarillo Chili Peppers that were the final component in the blend. Just as they captured Grandma Flo's essence with the Pierogi Salt Blend, they gathered the smells and flavors of Candy's Peruvian cuisine and created their famous Peruvian Inca Blend as a way to enjoy them at home and share them with customers.

During their visit to Peru, they also visited the Maras region of the Andes mountains where the famous crunchy pink Peruvian Salt is harvested and were able to meet with the salt farmers. Steel City Salt Company is the only purveyors of Peruvian Salt directly from the source on the East coast.

One of the best aspects of using specialty salts is that they are much less processed than commercial salts so that when you use them with whole foods, your meals will have better flavor with healthier sodium levels.

Salts from different origins vary by size, texture and salinity levels so the type of salt that you use affects what you eat. Some salts are better added as you prepare food while others varieties are best for finishing or sprinkling on meals after the food is cooked.

The Steel City Salt Company sources unique salts from around the world in order to obtain the highest quality ingredients for customers to enhance the natural flavors of their meals, not overpower them.

In addition to their specialty salts, Steel City Salt Company offers small batch blends, infusions, freshly ground spices, sugars and more! You won't want to miss the Pumpkin Pie Spiced Sugar in your upcoming Fall recipes!

Their business model couples exceptional quality with top rate customer service. As Tarallo says, "When you do what you love, anything is possible."

Songbird Artistry is proud to carry a variety of products from Steel City Salt Company in the shop and in our online store. Here are a few of our favorites:

Black & Gold Blend: One of their most famous blends, named after the colors of our home teams here in Pittsburgh making this perfect on foods that you eat during gameday or everyday! Smoky-sweet with a touch of citrus, you can use this on just about any meat or vegetable making whatever you cook mouth-wateringly delicious!

Dill Pickle Salt: Their newest salt blend that has taken the company by storm! Hand-mixed using Trapani Sicilian Sea Salt as a base with fresh ground spices and lots of dill, you will find yourself putting this on everything. Popcorn, fries, eggs, chicken, salmon, potatoes...or mix 1TB Dill Pickle Salt with 1cup Sour Cream or Yogurt to make the best chip and veggie dip!

Steeltown Garlic & Herb Blend: Their #1 seller in the company, Pink Himalayan Salt is hand-mixed with lots of garlic, spices and herbs. You cannot go wrong with this blend!

Come into Songbird Artistry and let us show you our collection of Steel City Salt Company's products. You can also order online at

As Tarallo says, "Always remember to use salt."

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