From time to time we have customers look at our sea salt caramels and ask us what “Fleur de Sel” means. Quite simply, it’s a salt. But it’s a very special salt, in our opinion.
When the salt is harvested, the harvesters only scrape off the very top part of the salt formation (aka, the fleur, or flower, of the salt). This salt is very flaky, and typically tinged with a bit of gray. Because of the structure of these salt crystals as well as the fact that it has a higher moisture content than the regular table salt we’re used to, it doesn’t dissolve as easily and adds a nice bit of crunch to whatever you add it to. We like to add bit a bit of Fleur de Sel to peanut butter ganache, which gives it some crunch. Fleur de Sel typically tastes more minerally than it does salty, which adds a nice complexity to your food.
We use Fleur de Sel to top our caramels as well as our molten caramel chocolate bar. The slight bit of saltiness you taste with every bite adds complexity and broadens the range of flavors that you taste in our caramels. Interestingly, the salt actually makes things taste sweeter as well.
Fleur de Sel is generally referred to as a finishing salt, which means that you generally don’t cook with it, but apply it right before serving to ensure the salt maintains its structural integrity.
If you’re interested in learning more, I’d recommend checking out David Lebovitz’ post detailing his experience visiting the salt marshes in Brittany.
Also, don’t miss Mark Bitterman’s post, which delves even deeper into finishing salts, and Fleur de Sel in particular.