French Sea Salt -Fleur de Sel
Literally translated as "flower of salt"
French Sea Salt
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?
So let's have a look and find out if all the hype about French Fleur de Sel is warranted.
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.
Why is Fleur de Sel so expensive?
If you're wondering why anyone would pay so much for simple salt, just try Fleur de Sel.
- Salt crystals from this area, Fleur de Sel De Camargue, are hand raked and harvested.
- Each reservoir produces barely 2 pounds of the Fleur de Sel sea salt per day, which amounts to a paltry 300 tons per year.
- The top layer is what we're interested in, and it is these crystals that float on the surface and skimmed off by hand using a rake called a lousse a de fleur.
- Passionate foodies, chefs, connoisseurs and every one who loves unique artisanal products are willing to pay extra for this delicate flavor and texture which is produced by intensive and laborious hand-gathering.
Try La Saunier De Camargue Feur de Sel here
Purchase from Amazon in this beautiful container, and compare with that big box of manufactured table salt you've been using.
I guarantee you'll find you've been missing out.
Sel de Guerande
Salt has been harvested in Guerande France as early as the year 868.
- Sel de Guerande is a coarse granular sea salt and comes from the same solar evaporation salt pans as fleur de sel but is harvested differently.
- Sel de Guerande is allowed to come into contact with the bottom of the salt pan before being raked, hence its gray color.
- Sel gris is coarser than fleur de sel but is also a moist salt, typically containing 13 percent residual moisture.
- Rich in magnesium and trace elements, Le Guérandais Guérande Salt does not undergo any form of washing or chemical treatment and is air dried naturally in the salt marshes of Guerande.
How to use Coarse Sea Salt - French Sel de Gris
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.
What is the difference between Fleur de Sel and Gris ?
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.
History of French Sea Salt
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.
Is Fleur De Sel Harvested Anywhere Else Besides France?
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.
How to Store Salt - Salt Boxes
Fill these beautiful and convenient salt containers with your gourmet salts.
Either black marble dual compartment salt box or beautiful bamboo salt box is better for the environment, an incredibly durable material and it is a renewable resource which grows quickly and doesn’t require pesticides, clear cutting, artificial irrigation or replanting
Smart design with swivel lid; lids that close firmly with magnetic lock and opens easily with just one hand for quick access t your sea salt while cooking.