7.05 ounces Guérande, France
"Fleur de sel," which literally means "flower of the salt," refers to the highest grade of natural sea salt. This fleur de sel is harvested by hand
from the salt marshes of Guérande in Brittany, France, a salt-producing mecca for over a thousand years. This fleur de sel has fine, white grains with subtle violet aromas. It is essentially a finishing salt, ideal to enhance dishes from simple to elaborate.
How is sea salt different from ordinary table salt?
Sea salt is harvested directly from the sea water in coastal areas. Artisan sea salt, like our Fleur de Sel de Guérande, is harvested by hand using traditional methods, and it is dried in the sun, rather than through mechanical harvesting and drying methods.
Table salt, on the other hand, is mined from underground deposits of salt-bearing rock, and processed mechanically on a huge industrial scale. It is supplemented with iodine, and starch or phosphates may be added to keep it from clumping. The final product has a far less nuanced flavor and texture.
About the Artisans
Our supplier, Sylvain Leduc, operated a family salt farm in Guérande for 20 years. He was the first instigator of the artisan charter "nature et progrès" (nature and progress), which defines a strict mode of production and a guarantee of origin for the salt. This charter aims to preserve the particular identity of the Sel de Guérande, including the natural environment and the traditional artisan work that goes into harvesting this salt.
About Fleur de Sel
In the vast coastal reserve in the Guérande, "paludiers," or sea-salt farmers, channel sea water from the Atlantic Ocean into successive clay basins. Eventually, the water reaches the shallowest areas of the basins, where wind and sun crystallize the salt along with other minerals.
Fleur de sel is the particular salt that forms at the very surface of the water. This occurs in the early afternoon, when evaporation from the sun's heat is intense. The small crystals congregate in a corner of the shallow basins, called "oeillets," where they can be delicately hand-harvested.
From July to mid-September only, the sea salts are harvested and sun-dried, and some varieties are separated by hand through a fine mesh.