French Grey Salt "Fleur de sel"
Country of Origin:
Our French grey salt "fleur de sel" is pretty much the ultimate high end artisanal salt you can have. On the table to enhance the taste of your dishes, to dip raw vegetables in or lightly sprinkled just before serving, our fleur de sel from Guérande is delicately harvested, according to traditional methods, from the eyelets on the water's surface by local salt marsh workers.
Le Guérandais fleur de sel is harvested with great care by the Guérande salt workers from the surface of the crystallization ponds, using skills and a method that are over a thousand years old. Fleur de sel is naturally white, rare and of an outstanding quality. Its crystals are left uncrushed and unwashed. The incomparable flavor of le Guérandais fleur de sel from Guérande is particularly popular with gourmets and chefs.
What is Grey Salt?
- Grey salt is the official name for this salt but two companies have registered Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). One is our supplier "Le Guérandais" founded in 1972 who has the registration for "Guérande salt". The other is "Celtic Ocean International", founded in 1976 who has the registration for "Celtic salt". Both products are French grey salt.
- Guérande salt has always been hand-harvested using traditional methods and is well known for its culinary virtues. Less salty than Mediterranean salt, Guérande salt is softer on the palate and richer in flavor which makes it the salt that cooks prefer for salting stocks and the water used for cooking vegetables, and also for barbecues and meat and fish cooked in a salt crust. Unwashed, unrefined and additive-free, it adds flavor to traditional family cooking.
- In the last few years, Fleur de sel has gained a certain reputation amongst food lovers. Very white, with fine, snow-like crystals and a very slight hint of violets, it enhances meals by bringing out the taste of even the finest dishes. Only a pinch should be used on raw or cooked food.
- Fleur de sel is harvested in the Guérande salt marshes, late in the afternoon during very dry weather. Under the combined effect of the sun and a dry east wind, a fine skin of crystals forms on the surface of the "œillets".
- This skin, which is a pure white as it has never touched clay, is carefully gathered by the salt workers using a special rake known as the "lousse à fleur". The very special weather conditions and the small quantity produced make it a rare and much sought-after product.
- Fleur de sel has been recognized by great chefs as a great, flavor-enhancing treasure for many years, and is now available to everyone thanks to the work of Le Guérandais.
- This makes sense if you think about how fleur de sel differs from ordinary sea salt. Ordinary sea salt is made by evaporating seawater and then collecting the remaining salt into mounds.
- This high cost means that it shouldn't be used as an ordinary seasoning. Instead, think of it as almost a garnish or condiment. A few crystals of fleur de sel sprinkled over a dish add a burst of flavor, visual appeal, and even texture. A little bit truly goes a long way.
- Once you've procured a stash of fleur de sel, you will want to use it carefully. For one thing, it is very delicate and will quickly dissolve, so it really should be added to a dish immediately before serving. You'll still taste it after it dissolves, but you won't see it or feel its distinctive texture.
What makes "Le Guérandais" Salt Special ?
- The first salt marsh farming on the peninsula can be traced back to the iron age. However, it was a little later that the monks of landévennec abbey, when studying the tides, wind and sun, revealed the salt marshes' true face and features. Salt farming helped uphold guérande's prosperity and reputation for many centuries.
- If a handful of workers had not stood their ground, the Guérande salt marshes would surely have disappeared, in flavor of tourism enhancement projects. Deeply attached to their land and trade, several salt marsh workers decided to join together and show solidarity. They created a group holding in 1972 and founded a cooperative in 1988, with a dual objective: sustainable salt farming and the promotion of local salt.
- Based on key values such as mutual help, equality, fairness and solidarity, the cooperative boasts an incredible group spirit, given that it is exclusively owned by member salt marsh workers. The members of the cooperative elect their Board of Directors during a General Assembly. The Board, divided into specific commissions, works in collaboration with the Chairman and employees to ensure the cooperative's development.
- The Salines de Guérande cooperative currently counts 75 employees.
- Member of the "Nature & Progrès" label since 1989, they are very attached to it. Indeed, it corresponds to the original values of their cooperative:
- A participative societal dynamics.
- An economy of human-sized division.
- The practice of a peasant agriculture respecting the natural balances.
- An environment-friendly human activity.
- "Nature & Progrès", is the main organization of organic farming in France and in Europe with as peculiarity the respect for the Nature without the refusal of the Progress what puts it at the forefront of the agrobiologique development. It groups producers, transformers and consumers who guarantee the respect for its charter and specifications.
- Since 20 March 2012, quality procedures have been reinforced on a European level through the obtaining of a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) for "Guérande salt" and "Guérande fleur de sel".
- The designation "GUERANDE" has finally become protected within the European Union, and this PGI provides customers with a guarantee regarding the origin and quality of Guérande salt and "fleur de sel".
- By complying with strict specifications, the salt marsh workers within the "Salines de Guérande" cooperative produce manually-collected sea salt, that is not washed after harvest and to which no additives are added.
- The definition of Guérande "Fleur de sel" now officially states that its light, fine and flaky crystals are formed and harvested on the water's surface.
- Store below 65% humidity.
- Mason jars make great storage containers.