Flor De Sal - The Best Salt Of The Algarve

Posted by Marianne Hoesen on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 Under: food and drink

Salt. What could be simpler than that. We have been using salt for thousands of years to spice up our food and to preserve food as well. But there actually are quite a lot of differences. The salt harvested from sea water in the Algarve if a very high quality sea salt, but the top of the line is definitely the Flor de Sal - the flower of salt. 

What is Flor de Sal? 

Through evaporation by sun and wind, a thin glistening layer of flaky salt crystals will start to float on the surface of the salt pans. This layer is manually removed on a daily basis during the summer months. The 
result of this intense work is Flor de Sal, a delicate, 100% natural gourmet salt that retains all the benefits of the sea. No brighteners or any chemical agents are involved. 

The Algarve Flor do Sal is internationally respected, as demonstrated by the high quality certification attributed to this salt by the French Association Nature & Progres. The climatic conditions of the Algarve are ideal for producing salt. The hot, dry summers guarantee natural evaporation by sun and wind. The harvest ends with the beginning of the first autumnal rain. Most of the sea salt in the Algarve comes from the Ria Formosa Natural Park in the eastern Algarve. 

There are various quality levels of marine salt to be distinguished: Flor de Sal, Sal tradicional and Sal do Mar

Flor de Sal
Flor de Sal is the finest flower of sea salt. It appears as a thin layer floating on the surface of the brine. Artisan salt gatherers use hand-crafted, butterfly-shaped sieves - ‘borboletas’ - to skim the flower of sea salt crystals from the water’s surface. The skilled artisans instinctively know when they have skimmed the very best flakes, by the sound the sieve makes. These first fragile crystals are only sun dried before packing. 

Sal Tradicional
This unprocessed sea salt comes from small traditional crystallizer ponds. Salt crystals originate from the concentrating brine and precipitate to the clay bottom of the ponds. The salt is harvested every 10 to 14 days, by hand with wooden rakes, and shaped into piles beneath the pans. Sun drying maintains the natural moisture and the sea water's minerals. 

Sal do Mar
At the end of the season this quality salt is harvested by small machinery, in most cases by a carefully guided mini loader. The salt cristals are of a more solid structure. Thus, Sal do Mar is often sold ground and is a little less soluble in water.


Superior taste

The young, fragile crystals grow for a few hours only before they are gathered. The way Flor de Sal is produced makes it rich in minerals such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium. It is this specific composition, which gives Flor de Sal its distinctive flavour. A flavour, which is a world away from common table salt and other, processed sea salts.

How to use it

Flor de Sal is the perfect finishing salt for everyday use and brings a special taste to all prepared dishes. Its smooth flakes crumble between the fingers and melt on the tongue. Sprinkled over any prepared dish, the salt adds a delicate, subtle taste and enhances the intrinsic flavours of the ingredients.

How to store it

Flor de Sal should be stored in a way that keeps its natural moisture, the so-called ‘mother liquor’. This preserves minerals and essential elements contained in the natural sea salt such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium.

Chemical composition

Tested on a regular basis, Flor de Sal is free of toxic substances such as heavy metals, nitrates and pesticides.

Typical analytical values:
Sodium Chloride (NaCl) 97 % (in dry matter)
Moisture 6.5 %
Calcium (Ca) 0.1 %
Magnesium (Mg) 0.4 %
Potassium (K) 0.2 %
Iron (Fe) 5 mg/kg
Insolubles < 0.02 %
pH 8.5

For anybody interested in a guided tour of the saltpans - Call +351 289 793 601 or email tours@marisol.biz  
Website:  www.marisol.biz

In : food and drink 

Tags: flor de sal  salt algarve  fleur du sel portugal  flor de sal algarve 

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About Me

Marianne Hoesen Born in the deep south of The Netherlands, I moved to the central Algarve in 2007, together with my partner and 2 dogs. In the meantime we added some goats and chickens and are living a peaceful life in the rolling hills of the rural south of Portugal. I invite you to read a bit in my blog and to leave a comment afterwards. Also check out the holiday accommodations mentioned elsewhere in this website.


Algarve Portugal
café Portugal, bica
Esteva, rock rose, Algarve
sun, beach, Algarve
real cork real wine
beach Algarve
folklore dance Algarve
chicken piri piri

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