When visiting the salt pans of Castro Marim, you will meet Jorge, a really amazing and authentic host. He not only tells you everything about the Flor de Sal production and let you harvest the salt by yourself, but also invites you for a salt tasting with typical local products.
During this personalised tour guests discover that salt from this protected landscape is once again a prized commodity, but this time by gourmet chefs and enthusiastic home cooks.
‘Salmarim’ is one of the few remaining family-owned artisan companies that still harvests salt in the traditional way. Jorge Raiado, our tour host, shares his passion and expertise in salt making.
It starts at the salt basins. Once flooded with seawater, the magic begins. As the water evaporates, Jorge explains, flor de sal (delicate, jewel-like pyramid crystals of salt) form and rise to the surface. You might even get the chance to try your hand at harvesting this ‘caviar of salts’ using traditional tools.
Once inside Jorge’s traditional salt barn one learns more of the different types of salts: from robust sea salt to the different types of subtle flor del sal, valued for its natural moisture, complex flavour, and richness in healthy minerals (including magnesium, calcium, and potassium). Little wonder some of the finest award winning restaurants across Portugal and beyond use this Algarve flor de sal to finish their dishes, often coming to Salmarin to create their own unique ‘blend’ of crystals.
What better way to experience the transformative powers of salt than trying it with food? Jorge begins with offering local artisan cheese and organic tomatoes so one can relish the difference in flavours with a dusting of flor de sal.
Glasses are filled with sparkling Portuguese wine, and the barn is filled with the sound of pops and crackles, and the fresh smell of the sea. Jorge places a large tray, laden with a generous layer of sea salt, upon a small gas stove. This bed of white jewels is all that is needed to cook jumbo Scarlet Cardinal carabineros Atlantic prawns to perfection.