Those who reveal the salt, the salt workers, are the shepherds of the sea. It is an atypical culture because the water disappears to make the salt appear, whereas usually water is brought in to feed the seed. A good salt grower is an alchemist: he masters the secret of water.

When a gentle breeze blows from the north, by late afternoon, the salt flower crystallizes on the surface of the salt pans. It is then hand-harvested with great care.

For sea salt, three harvests are carried out per year (traditionally at the end of June, end of July and end of August).

The sea water is first led into large tanks. The water is then passed through tanks with clay soil, so that the salt concentration increases. The resulting product is called brine. The brine passes through a series of christalizers, i.e. concentration areas, and becomes richer in concentrated salt each time. All salt pans are the same height, and the water passes from one pan to the next by gravity.

Solar evaporation of the salt occurs in clay-bottomed basins, thanks to the warmth of the sun, a constant wind and scarce rainfall during the salt harvesting period from June to September.

The average concentration of salt in the sea water is 30 grams/litre. At the end of the evaporation process, it reaches 330 gr/l.

La Conceptio's fleur de sel is an example of sustainable production: it is produced and dried solely by the wind and the sun, and harvested by us without the use of machinery and fossil or electrical energy.

Origin and extraction

Salt, or sodium chloride (NaCl), is a mineral of marine origin. It was present in the water when the oceans covered the Earth and was deposited in layers of sediment as the sea receded.

Salt is found in three forms:

Sea salt
Sodium chloride, fleur de sel or sea salt, is produced by the evaporation of sea water and is harvested in salt marshes. Solar or wind energy is used to evaporate the water. It is the only salt that requires no energy.

Rock salt
Halite (from the Greek hals, 'salt', and lithos, 'stone') is rock salt. Historically, halite deposits are the result of evaporation from salt seas or lakes. They are composed of layers that can be up to 30 meters thick. In France, rock salt deposits were formed in the Secondary Era, 250 to 200 million years ago, and in the Oligocene, Tertiary Era, 33 to 23 million years ago. Rock salt deposits have been known for a long time and have been exploited since the Neolithic period: in Europe, they are located in Hallstatt in Austria, Cardona in Spain and Slanic-Prahova in Romania. Extraction is carried out by machines and therefore requires energy.

Igneous salt
Salt is extracted from the mountains in layers 400 meters deep. In the past, the brine was evaporated in large pans. Nowadays, the concentrated brine is transported in brine pipelines to the borehole tank and from there to the salt works for purification and crystallization in the combustion evaporation plant. The salt produced in this way is known as igneous salt.




Differences between salt flower and sea salt

Flower of salt and sea salt differ in terms of harvesting:

  • the formation of fleur de sel takes place on the surface of the salt marshes, in the late afternoon, with an upstream wind. The fleur de sel is harvested by hand with sieves at the end of a long handle called a "lousse". It is then left to dry naturally in the sun. If it is not collected at the end of the day, the fleur de sel will sink and be added to the coarse salt.
  • granulometry: the size of the grains of salt is between 1 and 6 millimetres for sea salt and between less than 1 millimetre and 4 millimetres for fleur de sel.
  • production: the production of fleur de sel is equivalent to 5% of the sea salt produced on the same surface.
  • processing: sea salt is washed and sieved, often finely ground, whereas fleur de sel is dried completely naturally.
  • composition: flower of salt contains less sodium than coarse salt.
  • texture: the grains of sea salt are hard and perfectly suited to a salt mill. In contrast, the grains of fleur de sel are spread directly on the dishes.


    7 benefits of sea salt and fleur de sel


    1. Environment: Sea salt and fleur de sel are not processed, just dried by the sun. No energy is consumed, unlike rock salt or fire salt, and therefore no environmental impact.
    2. Mineral salts: Ordinary fine salt contains 99.9% sodium chloride; in fleur de sel, only 95% is sodium chloride, supplemented by mineral salts and trace elements (magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron).
    3. Heavy metals: sea salt and fleur de sel are free of heavy metals, nitrates and pesticides.
    4. Plastics: we use a series of micro-particle filters that drastically reduce plastics in the water.
    5. Taste: Fleur de sel dissolves very quickly on contact with food, which allows it to penetrate the food it is seasoning. It gives a unique taste and texture to the food it seasons.
    6. Hydration: fleur de sel and sea salt allow the body to be better hydrated and retain fluids longer than refined salt, thanks to its nutrients, especially potassium and sodium.
    7. Digestion: by activating the salivary enzyme amylase, which breaks down carbohydrates, they improve digestion. They also contribute to the production of hydrochloric acid, which is secreted by the stomach for digestion, especially of proteins.