Fleur de sels are pinkish purple salt crystals that look a lot like small grapes. They form naturally on the shore when warm salty water combines with heat and rainfall. The crystal salt gives off a light salty odor similar to the odor of baking bread or the sea. As it evaporates, fleur de sel turns white and is more concentrated than ordinary salts. It’s a fine-grained crystalline salt with a pungent odor resembling that of baking bread.
Fleur de sels have been harvested since ancient days, and has been traditionally utilized as an essential salve and purifying salt. It’s now commonly utilized as a fining salt in casseroles and foods, in place of other salts like rock salt or table salt. In fact, you’ll be hard pressed to find any cookbook which does not include some variation on a fleur de sel recipe. It naturally imparts a salty taste to food, especially fish, meats and seafood. It enhances the flavor of soups and stews and adds an extra dimension to marinades, cheese sauces and salad dressings.
Fleur de sels are harvested from seawater in the Dead Sea located just north of Jerusalem, Israel. During the Second World War, the Dead Sea was utilized as an experimental testing ground for weapons development. The salts were said to have been excellent as far as conducting experiments went, but the salt was also well utilized as an aquarium natural remedy for curing sea sickness.
A variety of products are manufactured with fleur de sel as the main ingredient. These fleur de sel salt products vary in texture and consistency depending on the method of harvesting the salt. In harvesting, a thin film of the salt is peeled from the seawater. This film then undergoes various chemical treatments such as electrochemical etching. Once it’s cured, the thin layer of salt is shaved off the crystal structure of the fleur de sel.
As mentioned, fleur de sel is used for a variety of products and can even be found in many kitchens. Many people enjoy experimenting with various flavors and textures to enhance the taste buds in their mouths. In fact, many chefs prize fleur de sel the most because of its smooth texture and delicious flavor. When combined with different condiments or seasoning such as garlic, it creates a unique taste that some find quite tasty.
Not only does fleur de sel have a wonderful texture but it also has a wonderful flavor. It’s most popular for use in seasoning and breads because it has a natural sea saltiness to it. Other uses include in garnishing cocktails, desserts and in adding minerals to drinks. Because of its texture, it’s commonly placed on drinks and breads to help bring out the flavor. The minerals in the salt also help make drinks taste better, especially lemonade flavored drinks.
Fleur de sels come in a variety of different colors and sizes. Each one has a different texture and various levels of “oomph”. The biggest differences between the various fleur de sel colors are color intensity and the presence of high moisture content. Generally speaking, the larger the size of the fleur de sel particles, the higher the moisture content so it helps to create a rich flavor with a unique aroma.
Because of its delicate texture, fleur de sel is often added to desserts in the form of fleur de sel ice cream or fleur de sel sponge cake. It has a flavor that is highly reminiscent of champagne and chocolate. It also has a very unique aroma that is pleasant to the taste. As fleur de sel melts it takes on a silvery color that resembles silver. Silver fleur de sel is often found in crystal wine glasses because of its beautiful appearance and sophisticated flavor.