Fleur de sels are a salty salt which forms as an oily thin crust on the exposed surface of water when it evaporates rapidly. Fleur de sels has been collected for millennia, and has traditionally been used as both a salve and purifying salt. In fact it is used to this day in many kitchens as both a garnish and a flavoring salt.
Unlike table salt, fleur de sel is not a natural occurrence in seawater. Fleur de sels are formed by high pressure under high temperatures from evaporation of seawater containing magnesium and calcium salts. These salts are exposed to high temperatures which cause them to crystallize, thus creating the fleur de sel we use as an essential ingredient in many cooking recipes. These salts do not adhere well to most synthetic fabrics, as they form a black powder like substance when mixed with water. It is therefore important that the salt is placed in a special container made of glass, metal or plastic to avoid the absorption of stains from kitchen tools and other materials.
Fleur de sels can be used both as an essential ingredient in recipes and as a garnish. It has a light salty flavor which goes well with sausages, eggs, cheese, fruit and meat. Many chefs love the light salty taste it lends to a dish and use it frequently in their cooking. As a finishing salt it has a slightly bitter but distinctive taste which goes well with dishes containing berries, cheese and cream. This quality which makes fleur de sel a very versatile salt makes it an ideal addition to your kitchen pantry, especially if you are considering making it part of your regular salt collection.