In general, I don’t have very expensive tastes. I bought my TV for $10 at a garage sale, my home is furnished mostly in low-end IKEA, and I rarely wear anything fancier than jeans and a T-shirt. When it comes to food, though, there are some exceptions to this rule. Although I don’t usually eat like a gourmet, I do take my coffee and cheese pretty seriously, and I like to sample, at least, foods that are rare and unusual—if also somewhat pricey. So I was intrigued by a television show I saw about one of the world’s most expensive kinds of salt: Fleur de Sel (French for “flower of salt”).
Fleur de Sel is produced in several temperate coastal areas around the world—but particularly in France, and within France, particularly in Brittany, on the north coast across the English Channel from Great Britain. It’s a type of sea salt, but a very expensive one indeed. Whereas you might pay US$0.25 for a pound (about 0.5kg) of plain table salt, Fleur de Sel will run upwards of $25 per pound. At 100 times the cost of table salt and ten times the cost of ordinary sea salt, it’s probably not something you’d want to use for everyday cooking. Fleur de Sel is not just any sea salt, though; it owes its price to a very special method of collection, about which more in a moment. [Article Continues…]