If there is something that is fundamental when speaking of salt then this is time. In the Sapal Nature Reserve at Castro Marim where the fleur de sel is harvested by hand, time passes slowly so that mother nature can do her work without haste and so that the tasks of cleaning, repairing, preparing and harvest can be carried out at the right time and with time to transform the usual tasks into important missions: those of harvesting and conserving the delicate fleur de sel crystals.
A sensitivity and expertise that have been refined over time almost without interruption since the Phoenicians and the Romans brought the waters to flow between the estuary and the river, the beds, the ´caldeiras` and the stalks; learning to live at the pace of the tides with the calmness necessary to wait for the breezes from the Levant, the evaporation, the sun to rest on the flats until the moment arrives.
The moment always arrives, taking place when the heat of the sun, the wind and the water are in complete harmony and permit the men of the salt flats to carry out their craft and collect the fragile crystals, dazzling and brittle that the sun forms on the surface in a fine and miraculous film.
Then, as with any treasure, these need to be taken great care of. Stored and packed manually, individually, slowly, either in cork shakers or cardboard packaging to keep them sheltered from light, preventing their aromas from oxidising, keeping them dry and whole with all of their characteristics preserved, ready to be shared with those special persons who enjoy life and good times.