What is Fleur de Sel? Find out everything about it in this complete guide. What does it taste like? How to use it and much more!
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What Is Fleur de Sel?
Fleur de Sel is harvested by hand on the surface of the water of the salt marshes. It is formed under the combined action of sun and wind.
After salt-makers carefully harvest the delicate Fleur de Sel crystals, these are placed on special tables to dry naturally under the sun. These fragile crystals that form on the surface of the water are prized for their bright white color and exquisite flavor.
In France, it is harvested only in certain region: Guérande (Brittany), Noirmoutier Island, Island of Ré and Camargue (Southern France).
Fleur de Sel vs Sea Salt
Is Fleur de Sel the same as sea salt? Fleur de Sel is a rare and expensive form of sea salt that is harvested in parts of France. It is delicate and flaky. It is composed of delicate salt crystals.
Fleur de Sel is a noble salt reserved for the table and preparations of Culinary Art. In other words, it is a finishing salt: perfect for adding to dishes just before serving them.
Fleur de Sel meaning
Fleur de Sel (pronounced "flur-de-sell") is a French name that literally means "flower of salt."
How to use Fleur de Sel
Fleur de Sel shouldn't be used as an ordinary seasoning. It is a gourmet finishing salt. It adds a final flourish of texture and flavor to a dish. You can sprinkle it on a steak, vegetables, Poireaux vinaigrette (French leek salad), Beetroot carpaccio or add it to your French Hot Chocolate.
It is often used to make luxury caramels (Caramels à la fleur de sel), chocolates or pastries.
Substitute for Fleur de Sel
What Does It Taste Like?
According to my patisserie teacher, Fleur de Sel does not give your dishes a salty taste but a salted taste. Although salty and salted seem to name the same thing, once you have tried Fleur de Sel, you will understand the difference between those 2 words. Fleur de Sel is flaky and has a crystal-like texture that impacts its taste. The difference is very obvious when you compare it to finely powdered salt. In other words, Fleur de Sel has a more delicate taste than regular sea salt.
Where to Buy Fleur de Sel
Well, if you're visiting France or if you live in France, you can buy Fleur de Sel at any supermarket. You will find it next to the regular sea salt.
If you're not in France, it is available from online retailers, as well as specialty food stores. Here are authentic French products:
- Fleur de Sel de Guérande (from French Northern region Brittany)
- Fleur de Sel de Camargue (from French Southern region Camargue)
- Fleur de Sel de l'île de Ré (from the Island of Ré, near La Rochelle)
Yes, it is pricey compared to regular sea salt, but don't forget that it is a finishing salt, for garnish. You won't use it to salt your pasta water.
How to Store Fleur de Sel
Most of the time, Fleur de Sel is sold in a cardboard container with a lid (as you can see if you click on the links above). In this case, let it in its container and store it in your pantry.
It is also sometimes sold in a fabric bag. In this case, it's best to store it in a jar with a lid. Store the jar in your pantry as well.