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Sea Salt and Fleur de Sel


vandan
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Fleur de Sel is harvested by hand off the village of Guerande in Brittany in July and August, when the sea is calm and the weather conditions are just right. It is a waste to cook with this salt.

Sea Salt is a catch all term as it may be highly specialized as in Fleur de Sel or as ordinary as Morton's the only stipulation being that it must come from seawater therefore not "mined".

Kosher salt has no additives and is crystaline therefore has a large surface area, and some say. a distinctive flavour.

I advise buying a box of both fine and coarse sea salt - something inexpensive to start (Italissima is reliable) and experimenting.

''Wine is a beverage to enjoy with your meal, with good conversation, if it's too expensive all you talk about is the wine.'' Bill Bowers - The Captain's Tavern, Miami

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Okay, i wouldn't call myself an expert by any stretch, but here is what I know:

Fleur de sel is sea salt.

Sea salt is not necessarily fleur de sel.

Fleur de sel, at least the kind I have used, is an unrefined, hand harvested salt, usually from Brittany or Camargue. Very natural, with fairly coarse but light crystals. There are several brands out there, all of which are outrageously overpriced.

I don't know if you need to have fleur de sel, but I have it because I have a salt fetish and it would just feel wrong to me that there is a kind of salt out there that I don't own. I like the results I get with it. Especially a little bit sprinkled on a fresh heirloom tomato....

Kosher salt is salt used for koshering, I think. I don't know a lot about it, but I do know that despite the fact that it looks like coarse sea salt, the two cannot be subbed in equal parts for each other. Coarse sea salt just packs way more salty punch.

editing to add:

obviously I type too slow and someone who knows what they are talking about has already answered your question. But I'll leave my answer anyway.

Edited by Kayaksoup (log)

< Linda >

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Okay, i wouldn't call myself an expert by any stretch, but here is what I know:

Fleur de sel is sea salt.

Sea salt is not necessarily fleur de sel.

Fleur de sel, at least the kind I have used, is an unrefined, hand harvested salt, usually from Brittany or Camargue. Very natural, with fairly coarse but light crystals. There are several brands out there, all of which are outrageously overpriced.

I don't know if you need to have fleur de sel, but I have it because I have a salt fetish and it would just feel wrong to me that there is a kind of salt out there that I don't own. I like the results I get with it. Especially a little bit sprinkled on a fresh heirloom tomato....

Kosher salt is salt used for koshering, I think. I don't know a lot about it, but I do know that despite the fact that it looks like coarse sea salt, the two cannot be subbed in equal parts for each other. Coarse sea salt just packs way more salty punch.

editing to add:

obviously I type too slow and someone who knows what they are talking about has already answered your question. But I'll leave my answer anyway.

I am not sure but will add something ( bracing myself to be shot down ) but I thought that fleur de sel was what was scraped off of the top dried sea salt - it being the "cream" of the batch. The lighter and finer crystals that rise to the top.

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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I was reading a package at Gourmet Warehouse on Sunday, yes, the fleur de sel is skimmed off the top of the sea by cute French maidens or something poetic like that.

I use sea salt in my salt grinder, and I don't actually have fleur de sel in the house as I don't have much need for it at home, but I love to have it as a finish on a dish at a restaurant, it's got a very ...clear sort of taste, IMO.

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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quote from the container:

"Fleur de sel salt crystals, harvested in the Camargue region near Provence, form on the surface of crystallizers early in the morning with a little help from the sun.

The salt master's art consists in patience and waiting for just the right moment to carefully collect this delicate gift of Mother Nature, since a gentle breeze is all it takes to blow away the fine flakes."

How romantic.

< Linda >

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quote from the container:

"Fleur de sel salt crystals, harvested in the Camargue region near Provence, form on the surface of crystallizers early in the morning with a little help from the sun.

The salt master's art consists in patience and waiting for just the right moment to carefully collect this delicate gift of Mother Nature, since a gentle breeze is all it takes to blow away the fine flakes."

How romantic.

Probably some grumpy old man with an old garden hoe scraping whatever settled on the surface of the crystalizer, be it bird crap or leaves, into a bin to sell to unsuspecting North Americans :biggrin:

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

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It's my understanding that mined salt can be referred to as Sea Salt as it resulted from the evaporation of sea water.

The whole concept of a salt grinder escapes me...

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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thanks so much for your informative responses so far, now, other than urban fare where would be a good place to buy these products?good selection, reasonably priced etc..

The bulk food place on Granville Island has a number of different salts, also the spice place (I'm so good with names - I call my house "the living place") on the Island has a number of different salts - prices are much better than "Should I take out a second mortgage for a Leg of Lamb?" Meinhardts.

''Wine is a beverage to enjoy with your meal, with good conversation, if it's too expensive all you talk about is the wine.'' Bill Bowers - The Captain's Tavern, Miami

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It's my understanding that mined salt can be referred to as Sea Salt as it resulted from the evaporation of sea water. 

The whole concept of a salt grinder escapes me...

I don't like salt shakers except for the salt I use for baking. My grinders match on my table.

*shrug*

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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I can understand pepper mills because peppercorns retain their flavor in volotile oils which they retain better if left unmolested until just prior to their use. Salt, on the other hand is just salt, and grinding it may change the texture, but there's no inherrent benefit as far as flavor goes.

I suppose the asthetic appeal of matching spice gadgets can be considered.

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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I can understand pepper mills because peppercorns retain their flavor in volotile oils which they retain better if left unmolested until just prior to their use.  Salt, on the other hand is just salt, and grinding it may change the texture, but there's no inherrent benefit as far as flavor goes. 

I suppose the asthetic appeal of matching spice gadgets can be considered.

...oh, thanks.

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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It's my understanding that mined salt can be referred to as Sea Salt as it resulted from the evaporation of sea water. 

The whole concept of a salt grinder escapes me...

I don't like salt shakers except for the salt I use for baking. My grinders match on my table.

*shrug*

Same here, I know the freshly-ground salt doesn't taste any different, but I think most regular salt shakers are ugly, so I bought a matching set of s&p grinders.

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It's my understanding that mined salt can be referred to as Sea Salt as it resulted from the evaporation of sea water. 

The whole concept of a salt grinder escapes me...

I don't like salt shakers except for the salt I use for baking. My grinders match on my table.

*shrug*

Same here, I know the freshly-ground salt doesn't taste any different, but I think most regular salt shakers are ugly, so I bought a matching set of s&p grinders.

There's one place where a salt grinder can be very functional. If you use large-crystal sea salt - like, say, a cheap but tasty sel gris de Guerande, which won't pass through the holes on any salt shaker I've ever seen - and you want to put a light dusting of it on something - say, on a plate of tomatoes - a grinder is the way to do it. Gets rid of the big crunchy bits, and saves money over buying vastly more expensive flaked sea salts.

I'm still trying to figure out why my bag of sea salt has an expiry date on it...

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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btw folks where can one buy italisimma sea salt products?

One of the Pasta places on Granville Island carries them - the one across from the bulk food place.

''Wine is a beverage to enjoy with your meal, with good conversation, if it's too expensive all you talk about is the wine.'' Bill Bowers - The Captain's Tavern, Miami

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We've presently got three sorts of salt in circulation at our house: fleur de sel (from the Camargue, harvested in Aigues-Mortes) in its original groovy tub, fine sea salt (Bevia, Spanish, in its nondescript shaker), and Morton's in a salt shaker (because my husband objects to the coarseness of the sea salt, even though it's officially "fine").

I mostly use the fleur de sel on top of salads.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Fleur de sel (or flor de sal, but more about that below) is the fine grained salt that forms on the surface of the salt pond. When the weather allows (eg, not too wet or windy), it's raked off the surface. The salt crystals that sink to the bottom, from where they too are eventually raked, are 'just' sea salt. The only differences are the physical structure and, sometimes, the presence of additional minerals from the sediment at the bottom of the pond.

The 'flower of salt' gets its name from the fact that it is the initial precipitate to 'bloom' from the increasingly salty solution, although some also say it's the result of some canny marketing. It isn't solely a French product, but they were the first to sell it as an upscale condiment.

I learned about this salt after reading Corby Kummer's article in the Atlantic a couple of years ago. He wrote about a Portuguese firm called Necton that had received a Slow Food Award. (That story is available only to subscribers, but another version is here.)

I realized that, along with olive oil, good salt was a key component to the food I was making at home. So I tracked down Necton, emailed them for awhile, and after about a year was able to import some of their salt.

There are several flor de sal producers in the Algarve. But because of a Portuguese law dating to the 1970s that requires table salt to be 99% sodium chloride, they can't sell their best stuff in their own country. So much of the Portuguese flor de sal goes to France and becomes fleur de sel. As I understand it, EU partners are not required to include country of origin info on product labels, so if you have very white fluer it may in fact be flor.

The production methods for sea salt vary widely. Large producers use machinery to scrape the ponds, some of which cover a few square miles. Smaller producers, like those in the Algarve, use hand harvesting techniques, and some have received certification from the French organization Natur et Progress that their salt is free of industrial contamination.

I sell the Necton flor de sal from my web site (Real Good Food link below), and it's easy to ship.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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