For two years now the saltmakers of Brittany, France, have watched the summer come and go without the appearance of so much as a grain of fleur de sel. The fleur de sels from Guérande and the neighboring saltmaking villages of Ile de Ré and Ile de Noirmoutier have suffered the same plight. And then this, as highlighted in “Le Telegramme”:
After two disastrous years, the salt fields of Guérande have reason to smile. The season was long and good. The 190 members of the cooperative of producers, «Les salines de Guérande», have harvested 14,000 tons of sel gris, which about or two thirds of the total production on the Guérande salt fields. The remainder is produced by independent producers. Add to this 650 tons of fleur de sel, their premium product. This harvest is sufficient to provide the cooperative with three and a half years of reserves.
There have been rumors that fleur de sel has fallen into such short supply that the French have actually been forced to buy fleur de sel from Portugal and Mexico. I’ve visited a number of the producers and cooperatives in Brittany and never found one that didn’t claim to still have reserves of their salt on hand, though none of them seemed terribly smug about it. Now, 650 tons of fine fleur de sel, 14,000 tons coarse sel gris… I can sleep at night again.