I couldn’t resist these fantastic pictures that were taken by a Facebook friend, Croisieres de Camargue, so I asked permission to post them on my Blog and they very kindly agreed.
|Dramatic scene of a bright blue sky dappled with clouds, meeting a sea of pink crystallized Fleur de Sel.|
If you have never visited the Camargue Regional Park, I hope this will inspire you to think about it. It is the largest river delta in Western Europe – a large plain with large brine lagoons that are cutoff from the sea by sandbars and marshes.
It is known for hundreds of species of wild birds and it’s pastures are home to sheep and small white horses who are watched over by “Gardiens” (cowboys) who play their part in keeping Camaguaise traditions alive.
Within easy day tripping of "les Pelerins" and Sablet, there is so much of interest here for the whole family. History - spectacular nature and wildlife - fun cruising down the Petit Rhone and the Delta with Peniches Isles de Stel, Horse Riding, and visiting the artisans who keep the traditions of the Region alive.
|Ramparts of the town of Aigues-Mortes stretch out against the peaceful, pink tinged water|
Slightly to the north of the delta, the town of Arles is the capital of the Camargue, whilst other towns of note are: Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer – the site of the annual Roma Pilgrimage for the veneration of Saint Sarah; and the beautiful Medieval Fortress Town of Aigues-Mortes, from which the Knights departed for the Crusades.
|Salt gatherers busy at work, before the salt becomes heavy with moisture and sinks|
Amongst the traditions of this region is the making of Camarguaise Sea Salt – which is famous throughout France and the world for its quality. Fleur de Sel is the cream of the crop. It is prized by chefs worldwide for its delicacy and used mostly as a finishing salt, where one can really appreciate it’s flavor.
|Can you believe that Salt Crystals can be so pretty?|
What is Fleur de Sel?
It is the fine and delicious result of skimming delicate first crystallization that occurs on the surface of the salt pan, before it becomes heavy and sinks to the bottom. Camarguaise Fleur de Sel is distinctive in that it adds a pink glow to the surface of the water just before it is gathered.
|Pink tinged mounds of Fleur de Sel piled high on the beach|
Gathered in the traditional manner, by hand and piled high, it is rich in minerals and considered an Artisanal Salt which is sold in Gourmet markets throughout the world.
|One of the many shops in the area that is well stocked with local products|
Fleur de Sel from the Camargue is one of my "must bring back's" from every trip to Provence - I stockpile it along with my supplies of Herbs de Provence and my favorite perfume. It makes the simplest of fresh vegetable assortments a delicious hors-d'ouvre, is fantastic on fresh tomato salads, not to mention - a juicy steak - hot off the grill.
|At Home, Fleur de Sel is a simple yet very important addition to many appetizers and summer dishes|
Many thanks to Peniches Ises de Stel for the magnificent photography. When we visited the Camargue last summer, the Petit Rhone cruise was such a highlight. I look forward to going back next visit.
For more information on Camagrue Cruises, please visit:http://www.islesdestel.camargue.fr
For more Camargue information:
CLICK HERE for a map and driving directions from Sablet to the Camagrue Regional Park
"Peniche": A Recreational Boat
A Fleur de Sel Hints: (1) I find it very helpful to sprinkle all salads with a small amount of Fleur de Sel before adding the dressing. That way, I can use less dressing and the Salad is not "drenched" but has a lot of flavor. (2) It makes a great gift for those culinary minded friends who "have everything".