If there is royalty amongst sea salt
Fleur de Sel (French Sea Salt) would be it.
French sea salt is acclaimed by top chefs the world over and is also the most expensive sea salt there is.
However with so many gourmet sea salts in the world, what makes French sea salt so special, and why is it so expensive?
Literally translated as "flower of salt," Fleur de Sel salt is one of the finest and rarest salts in the world.
It is defined not only by its collection method, which is by an ancient type of hand-harvesting, but also by its location in France.
If you're wondering why anyone would pay so much for simple salt, just try Fleur de Sel.
Try La Saunier De Camargue Feur de Sel here
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I guarantee you'll find you've been missing out.
Salt has been harvested in Guerande France as early as the year 868.
Because of its mineral complexity and coarse grain size, sel gris can be used both as a cooking salt and a finishing salt.
Being much denser than table and kosher salt, there is a lot more salt in an equivalent volume of sel gris.
Because it is a moist salt, it does not suck all the moisture out of food when used as a finishing salt, unlike kosher salt (which is designed to absorb blood and other fluids from meat).
Selmeliers tend to pair sels gris with heartier foods like steak and root vegetables due to their mineral complexity.
Fleur de sel is harvested from water on top of the salt marshes, whereas sel gris is harvested from the bottom.
It is no surprise, therefore, that the former is white in color while the latter is grey, reflecting a higher level of “impurities” or minerals.
Salt was being harvested in Guerande France as early as the year 868.
The salt was gathered by women only, since men were considered too rough for the delicate work, and it was carried into town in heavy bowls which the women carried on their heads since the paths were too narrow.
By the year 1500, the salt marshes had expanded to cover over 1200 hectares, about 80% of the current size. They're currently so big that they actually show up on some maps of France.
Guerande's salt marshes with their lady harvesters supplied most of the salt throughout Brittany until the mid-1800s, when a salt mine was built and provided heavy competition.
Together with a tax imposed several decades prior by Napoleon Bonaparte himself, this led to the Guerande's downfall as a purveyor of table salt throughout the region.
Natural celtic sea salt is light grey in color, which comes from the sea minerals and clay found in the salt flats. The clay ionizes the minerals in the salt, making it even more beneficial.
There are several other towns in Brittany that also manufacture a product of the same name, but their methods are slightly different, so the product comes out a distinctly different.
In addition to the French salts, a similar salt has also been hand-collected in Portugal and Spain throughout history.
A fleur de sel is also been hand-collected both in Canada near Vancouver Island and in Brazil.
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