Artisanal salts come in different colors, textures, and flavors than plain old table salt. The colors vary from black to grey to pink, and the flavors can range from alderwood smoked salt to Chardonnay salt. They impart new taste in food. We've found them to be stronger than table salt, so if you're substituting artisanal salt for regular salt in a recipe, add gradually and taste as you go to be sure you don't overpower your dish with salt.
Artisanal salt harvesting is more environmentally-friendly than commercial artificial salt production. Also, buying artisanal salts often means you are supporting a local business.
If you live in San Francisco, artisanal salts can be found in the bulk bin at Rainbow Grocery. You can also buy them online. One such example:
(Image: Marc at No Recipes)