Guerande is worldwide famous for its Fleur de Sel, a type of salt that is collected and processed in a unique way that gives it a peculiar texture, and flavors the food like no other salt in the world. Guerande also is a Castle Town, click here to read about our super culture-and-food day tour.
Our journey in Loire Valley and southern Britany continued with a visit of the salt marshes of Guerande, which are basically consecutive maritime prairies, naturally formed during ancient times, and therefore a must-see in the area. The salt and Fleur de Sel of Guerande are collected and crystallized with techniques that have proven certain abilities to maintain an ongoing production of salt of high standard quality throughout times.
It was quite interesting to observe how swinging the water back and forth actually contributed to regrouping the salt on the sides, so that professional workers could process to its collection, among other actions.
For some more live info, I have found a website in English that provides lots of details and pretty pictures of Guerande’s salt marshes. It’s great when we, French people, think about you guys, World, and come up with a website available in English version, hehe! Click here to open a new window. If you happen to visit this so peculiar place of unique salt marshes in Guerande (known in French as Marais Salants), make sure to visit the boutique near the sign “Terre de Sel“. You will, for sure, go crazy for all the delicacies that everyone purchases in this shop. Massive stalls of salt bags; endless shelves of Fleur de Sel of all kinds, from plain to combined with aromatic herbs, or with Piment d’Espelette (a famous hot pepper from South-West of France), or simply with plain black pepper, and so on. I personally went for the Fleur de Sel combined with dill and lemon, thinking that might be of good inspiration to learn and cook fish more often back home. I also bought a bag of Coarse Grey Sea Salt, in French Gros Sel, because this is what we use to boil our water, and I thought, why not trying the one from Guerande (see picture below). However, I concede that none of these actually sounds really appealing, after all we’re talking about salt and condiments.
Near the entrance of the store, the sales people displayed nice packages for customers to buy affordable presents to offer to loved ones, combining both salt jars and desserts sweet components. Now let’s go to the real yummy part of the store. Savory lovers, or sweet lovers, surely you will all be contented!
My husband and I are in love… with mason jars of vegetables caviar. On week nights for a quick dinner fix, or on weekend nights as an appetizer, we love to toast some pieces of bread and generously spread our vegetables caviar. What we call caviar here is not related to the Russian Caviar which is fish eggs, but is more of a chic and glamorous name for a purée.
Naturally, we couldn’t resist for a second the temptation to purchase the “basics” in the Savory section. Some readers would say that what we’ve bought is not so much from Britany or Loire Valley, and I would agree with them, except that they are made with Fleur de Sel instead of regular salt, and it does make a difference. We got four yummy mason jars. Eggplant caviar with lemon juice, dried tomatoes and basil leaves, red bell pepper and spices, and zucchini with goat cheese and honey. I can’t wait to try them on grilled French toast! On the other hand, I have struggled, hard, to refrain from buying anything sweet from that store. I know myself well enough to have figured out long time ago that sweet stuffs usually don’t last in my kitchen. Sadly, the caramel sauce mason jars, the caramel stuffed biscuits, the caramel sauce and salty butter based sponge cakes or Britany shortbread cookies, all were a no-go. That said, we quickly ran to the cashier to avoid changing our minds about the sweets, and went back on the road.
Driving from Guerande to Le Croisic on the Atlantic Coast, we came across really pretty local houses, lots of families riding bicycles on this beautiful sunny day, and an unexpected windmill in the small town of Batz-sur-Mer. Then we arrived in Le Croisic, a wonderful small town by the Ocean with an active port and a lively food activity, from the now-usual Britany crepes to the famous, fresh and super tasty “mussels and French fries”. We had a short walk in town before reaching the ocean side and the boardwalk, appreciated local people afternoon humor on restaurant closed doors (as in example, “Auntie went fishing at sea, she’ll be back around 7 pm!”), and reached a seafood restaurant. I had the classic white wine and shallots mussels and fries, my husband had the Roquefort cheese sauce mussels and fries, my brother went for a marinated salmon salad, while my sister-in-law played it very “Britany” and had a salad along with savory crepe (which they call “galette” there, to mark the difference with sweet crepes). That’s with that absolutely delicious meal that we ended our fabulous day trip. I leave you here with the last pictures of the day. Don’t forget to check about my morning tour of Guerande Castle Town for more foody experience!
Before you go, did you know my first cookbook got published? It’s called Cookbook #1: A French Girl’s Cooking Adventures in Her Kitchen, and it’s available online, you’re just a click away, RIGHT HERE!
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2015, All Rights Reserved.