Why Is Fleur De Sel So Expensive?
Fleur de sel is mysterious and delicate and boasts an exquisite allure adored by high-end chefs, restaurateurs, and gastronomy connoisseurs. So it should come as no surprise that the price tag does not fall in line with that of simple table salts. This delicate and coveted variety of gourmet sea salt earned its designation as “expensive” through a combination of factors that contribute to its rarity and exceptional quality.
The Contributing Factors Behind Fleur de Sel’s Hefty Price Tag
The development of fleur de sel is dependent on the weather.
One of the defining characteristics of fleur de sel is the delicate crunch it delivers. This crunch is made possible because only the finest crystals are harvested from the crusty surface of the salt pools. This crust, referred to as the flower of salt, accumulates through a slow evaporation process made possible through and wind. The method of sun drying leads to a separation, allowing only the purest salt crystals to reach the top to be collected. The time it takes for the crust to develop increases the overall time of production, which deeply influences the end-cost.
Fleur de sel is rare.
The slow, manual processes of producing and harvesting fleur de sel, in combination with the scarcity of salt pools have all led to fleur de sel being an incredibly rare variety of gourmet sea salt. As is true of most items subject to limitations of supply, this rarity has amplified the demand, which has driven up the price of the end product.
Fleur de sel contains desirable minerals and unique flavor
Fleur de sel is far more than just salt. It boasts depth, with layers of flavor that can be contributed to its higher mineral content. Some of those minerals lead to a “saltier” experience that lingers on the tongue a bit longer (thanks to a higher moisture content), while few lead to a subtle bitterness with a balancing alkalinity, and more contribute to an undeniable brininess. These minerals lead to the complexity of flavor that is sought out by chefs around the world who are willing to pay the the price tag to obtain fleur de sel of the highest quality.*****
As you can see, the enchanting allure of fleur de sel isn't merely about its phenomenally unique taste; there are a combination of factors that contribute to its exclusivity and, subsequently, its price. So, next time you sprinkle a pinch of fleur de sel onto your dish, savor not just the flavor it imparts, but also the craftsmanship, time, and care that went into creating this culinary masterpiece.