Sel de Guérande / Fleur de sel de Guérande (Guérande salt)
IGP Sel de Guérande / Fleur de sel de Guérande are hand-harvested sea salts originating exclusively from the salt marshes of the Guérande peninsula in France. They are unrefined, unwashed and additive-free sea salts. They mainly consist of sodium chloride crystals, but also naturally contain other mineral salts and trace elements. The production of ‘Sel de Guérande’ and ‘Fleur de sel de Guérande’ is based on a natural process of concentration of salt in sea water, which circulates through a series of pools until it reaches the point of crystallisation in the final basin, the crystalliser or salt pan.
Sel de Guérande
‘Sel de Guérande’ is a grey sea salt consisting of salt crystals which form on the natural clay base of the salt pan. It is harvested by hand from the brine in the salt pan using a special tool. After storage and sorting, the ‘Sel de Guérande’ salt can be packaged either as it is, or after drying or grinding, in order to obtain salts of different granule sizes and moistness.
Fleur de sel de Guérande
‘Fleur de sel de Guérande’ is formed of light, fine, brittle crystals which, under favourable climatic conditions (wind and sun), form on the surface of the brine in the salt pans producing grey salt. The fleur de sel (salt blossom) is harvested by hand by skimming the surface of the salt pan using a special tool, before it can sink to the bottom of the pool, where it is no longer harvested as salt blossom. The salt blossom differs from grey salt as it crystallises on the surface of the salt pans and is white in colour (it has no contact with the base of the salt pans). After storage and sorting, it is packaged either as it is, or after partial drying to improve its flow.
Specific steps in production that must take place in the defined geographical area
— the harvesting of the ‘Sel de Guérande’ or the ‘Fleur de sel de Guérande’ salt
— the bulk storage of the ‘Sel de Guérande’ or the ‘Fleur de sel de Guérande’ salt
— the first packaging process which allows the products to be traced if they are re-packaged at a later date outside the geographical area
The IGP Sel de Guérande / Fleur de sel de Guérande are kept in a cool, dry place away from heat and light; the container in which they are stored must be securely closed after opening. It is a product that has always appreciated in cuisines from around the world, not only because it is an essential condiment, but also for its culinary and gustatory virtues. The subtle flavour makes it possible to enhance the taste of food that it accompanies. In addition to including in savoury dishes, in French cuisine it is also widely used for making desserts such as Mini-crêpes de sarrasin, or Sauce au chocolat et sel de Guérande.
Reference: The European Commission