On the coast of Brittany, France’s most northwest region, you can find an abundance of marais salants, or salt marshes. These marshes, especially those of the world famous Guérande basin, provide a natural, vital sustenance for human nutrition.
The sea salt produced here is among the finest in all the world. The harvesters of this sea salt, called paludiers. On these protected lands, paludiers have passed down their traditions and practices to new generations for nearly 1,500 years.
From June to September, our own paludiers, Gilles and Matthieu, run an independent family business of salt harvesting. Upholding the traditional hydraulic systems, they channel Atlantic seawater into the salt marshes, creating a multitude of little pools known as vasiere .
When the water level recedes, they force the seawater to evaporate by making it flow through the triple circuit - cobier, fard, adernes. As the sea water evaporates, its salinity rises.
Using wooden rakes, paludiers skim the top of the collected sea water, scooping salt minerals for further processing. They then transport the highly-salinized sea water into the crystallizers where the salt begins to form.
The small pyramids of salt you may see in some of our pictures is the method of properly storing and maintaining the salt once it is taken from the ocean water.
As Gilles and Matthieu report, “Our salts are produced and harvested by the rigorous standards of the Protected Geographical Indication IGP label (also known as Protected Geographical Indication), which is an Official Sign of Quality and of European Origin.”
Pure and natural, salt from the Guérande marshes is all harvested manually, retaining many essential trace elements.
The two main types of salt we have on the market are Sel Marin (coarse grey sea salt) and Fleur de Sel (“flower of salt”), which are unique and different in their own right. Sel Marin is naturally mixed with mineral-rich clay, after which it is combined with quality organic herbs. Fleur de Sel is the purest, taken right from the top of the ocean water.