Europe | France – Please Pass The SALT
GUéRANDE / BATZ SUR MER
Mommy, where does salt come from ?
Yeah, can you answer that question? And you cant say the store!
Well Timmy, I dont know everything, but I do know that there are at least two possible options. A mine (from a rock) or from a marsh (sea salt).
Yes, you are about to read more than you ever wanted to know about salt.
I really think this stop merits its own page though.
So go on and finish reading please!
The Marais Salants en français, or salt marshes on the Atlantic is where I stopped next. However, I only realized my ignorance of the regional artisanal product because I just eat it and never really take the time to appreciate it. Seriously, think about it! We put it in and on EVERYTHING and what if someday someone took it away? Yeah, never thought about that, huh?
During the earth’s formation, the Guérande salt ponds in Brittany, northwestern France, were part of a bay in the Atlantic Ocean. The gradual retreat of the sea left behind a series of floodable pools. Two kinds of sea salt are produced in the ponds: Coarse Gray Sea Salt and Fleur de Sel.
Salt harvesting became prevalent from the 10th to the 15th centuries and the tradition has been carried on by artisan paludiers using an ancient Celtic method developed 2,000 years ago. (They use a thingy that is a cross between a rake and a paddle.)
A gigantic mosaic of salt ponds, the Guérande peninsula retains and subdues the ocean’s tides. The twofold action of the sun and the wind bring into existence sea salt, a completely natural and unprocessed source of trace elements and taste.
“GROS SEL” or Coarse Gray Sea Salt
These salt crystals are formed on the bottom of the salt pond. Using a large rake-like tool, the salt gatherer detaches the crystals which he will eventually haul out of the water and pile into a pyramid shape to dry. Each salt pond section can produce approximately 50 kg per day. We recommend coarse salt as a replacement for ordinary salt in cooking. In France, table salt as we know it is rarely found. The more natural and highly salting coarse salt is used both in home cooking and fine cuisine by professional chefs.
FLEUR DE SEL
When the wind blows from the east, fine crystals form on the surface of the salt pond, forming
“fleur de sel” or literally, “the flower of salt”. This is the very top of the line, the best salt on
the planet. Several grains suffice for flavoring an individual serving. When harvested, fleur de sel
is pale pink in color. It becomes white after drying naturally in the sun. The salt gatherer harvests it with a special rake. Only 1 kg is produced for every 80 kg of coarse sea salt.
Fleur de sel, with its subtle taste of violets, is wonderful used at the table to replace ordinary
I quote again
“Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again? It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.”Matthew 5:12-13