Fleur de Sel from the Camargue

I couldn’t resist these fantastic pictures that were taken by a Facebook friend, Croisieres de Camargue, so I asked permission to post them on my Blog and they very kindly agreed.

 Dramatic scene of a bright blue sky dappled with clouds, meeting a sea of pink crystallized Fleur de Sel

If you have never visited the Camargue Regional Park, I hope this will inspire you to think about it. It is the largest river delta in Western Europe – a large plain with large brine lagoons that are cutoff from the sea by sandbars and marshes.

It is known for hundreds of species of wild birds and it’s pastures are home to sheep and small white horses who are watched over by “Gardiens” (cowboys) who play their part in keeping Camaguaise traditions alive.

Ramparts of the town of Aigues-Mortes stretch out against the peaceful, pink tinged water

Within easy day tripping of “les Pelerins” and Sablet, there is so much of interest here for the whole family. History – spectacular nature and wildlife – fun cruising down the Petit Rhone and the Delta with Peniches Isles de Stel, Horse Riding, and visiting the artisans who keep the traditions of the Region alive.

 

Slightly to the north of the delta, the town of Arles is the capital of the Camargue, whilst other towns of note are: Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer – the site of the annual Roma Pilgrimage for the veneration of Saint Sarah; and the beautiful Medieval Fortress Town of Aigues-Mortes, from which the Knights departed for the Crusades.

 Salt gatherers busy at work, before the salt becomes heavy with moisture and sinks

Amongst the traditions of this region is the making of Camarguaise Sea Salt – which is famous throughout France and the world for its quality. Fleur de Sel is the cream of the crop. It is prized by chefs worldwide for its delicacy and used mostly as a finishing salt, where one can really appreciate it’s flavor.

Can you believe that Salt Crystals can be so pretty?

What is Fleur de Sel?

It is the fine and delicious result of skimming delicate first crystallization that occurs on the surface of the salt pan, before it becomes heavy and sinks to the bottom. Camarguaise Fleur de Sel is distinctive in that it adds a pink glow to the surface of the water just before it is gathered.

 Pink tinged mounds of Fleur de Sel piled high on the beach

Gathered in the traditional manner, by hand and piled high, it is rich in minerals and considered an Artisanal Salt which is  sold in Gourmet markets throughout the world.

 One of the many shops in the area that is well stocked with local products

Fleur de Sel from the Camargue is one of my “must bring back’s” from every trip to Provence – I stockpile it along with my supplies of Herbs de Provence and my favorite perfume.  It makes the simplest of fresh vegetable assortments a delicious hors-d’ouvre, is fantastic on fresh tomato salads, not to mention – a juicy steak – hot off the grill.

Many thanks to Peniches Isles de Stel for the magnificent photography. When we visited the Camargue last summer, the Petit Rhone cruise was such a highlight. I look forward to going back next visit.

 

For more information on Camagrue Cruises, please visit:

http://www.islesdestel.camargue.fr

 

For more Camargue information:

SabletHome – the Camargue Regional Park

 

CLICK HERE for a map and driving directions from Sablet to the Camagrue Regional Park

 

“Peniche”: A Recreational Boat

 

A Fleur de Sel Hints: (1) I find it very helpful to sprinkle all salads with a small amount of Fleur de Sel before adding the dressing. That way, I can use less dressing and the Salad is not “drenched” but has a lot of flavor. (2) It makes a great gift for those culinary minded friends who “have everything”.

2 thoughts on “Fleur de Sel from the Camargue

  1. Dear Marianne…..
    None of this should surprise me. I believe that all of us who truly enjoy, absorb and love all aspects of “what is possible” in France will identify with one another. I had cherished my Camargue Fleur de Sel we liberally used the entire week in Sablet and brought as much of it, as well as bags of beautiful and aromatice Herbes de Provence purchased at the markets, back home. However, as we all know, we use it often and supplies last for only so long….. With the wonders of online shopping, I have, of course, found various sites where I can purchase more of my beloved Camargue Fleur de Sel. But, would that be the same as being there within the warmth of a sunny French day and shopping at a local shop or basking in the aromas of an open-air market? I think not

    True, my “stockpiles” have been depleted, and for some time now. I miss my Herbes de Provence….Wm. Sonoma just isn’t the same for me….I miss my Le Saunier De Camargue Fleur de Sel and the delicious ‘sweetness’ it pulls out of a garden tomato. Let’s face it, I miss France and Sablet. I want to write for several hours each morning and then stroll to the kitchen for a satisfying lunch of bread, cheese fresh vegetables and, perhaps, a glass of wine. That’s not asking too much, is it?

    Your Website is breathtaking with the myriad of beautiful pictures and warm display of your wonderful homes. Makes me want to dive-in and live ‘the dream’ for awhile. Very nice.

    Dan is contemplating a new position but it is located in Nashville, TN. So much is going on in my head and in my heart right now. True, it would place us half the distance to the kids up in Michigan…..I just don’t know what to think. This all happened yesterday and is pretty new and vulnerable (at least I am) right now. Thanks for listening.

    Always, Jackie

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