Gourmet salt: Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc
Interview with Marcus Lind about the unique ingredient in the new VIVANI salted chocolate bars
© Flor de Sal d'Es Trenc
28 April 2021
Our two new “Mallorca Flor de Sal” salted chocolate varieties have been available for a short while now. Whether you opt for the pure 75% Panama cocoa and coconut blossom sugar or the version with crunchy caramel crisps and a slightly more moderate 62% cocoa – if you like salted chocolate, you are in for a treat. We spoke to Marcus Lind from Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc about the special gourmet salt, which is harvested by hand using traditional methods from the sunny Balearic Islands.
Marcus Lind has been working for Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc in Germany since 2018. He began in sales but is now mainly responsible for product and brand development, where he can make use of his 25 years’ experience in the organic produce sector. He used to work in product development for spices and spice mixes. Besides the gourmet and fine food sector, he has also worked for natural cosmetic companies in the past, where his role involved developing fragrance concepts, amongst other things. Marcus Lind currently lives with his family in Berlin.
Mr Lind, the natural, organic seasoning salts from Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc not only have a unique flavour – and we’ll come back to that later – they are also produced in a special saline in a nature conservation area. Can you tell us more?
Die Salinas d`Es Trenc liegen im Hinterland des Naturstandes Es Trenc im Südosten von Mallorca inmitten des 154 ha großen Naturschutzgebietes, das Teil des The Salinas d’Es Trenc lie in the hinterland of the Es Trenc natural beach. The beach is situated in the southeast of Mallorca, in the heart of a 154-hectare nature reserve, which forms part of the Es Trenc-Salobrar de Campos park. As early as the 4th century BC, the Phoenicians and Romans discovered that this natural environment was the perfect stretch of water from which to source precious sea salt. The Salinas d’Es Trenc and the surrounding nature reserve are home to unique flora and fauna with over 160 different species of bird, including avocets, black-winged stilts and numerous flamingos.
We divert the sea water into the saline pools, which themselves date back to the Roman times, via a three-kilometre-long natural canal. The water comes from the coast upshore from the Es Trenc natural beach. One of the largest Neptune grass (Posidonia oceanica) meadows in the Balearics can be found here. The presence of this endemic Mediterranean plant is an indicator for the outstanding quality of the water.
The first concentration of the sea water takes place in the large saline pools as a result of radiation and evaporation. The small Flor de Sal pools are fed from here. Fine salt crystals form on the surface of the water between the beginning of May and the end of August, when the temperature, wind and sunlight conditions are perfect. The crystals grow in fantastic shapes and look like white flowers.
The salt crystals are carefully skimmed by our passionate Salineros (salt farmers) using traditional rakes, so-called Lousse, and then dried in the Mallorcan sun. The result is a truly natural product: Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc, the white gold of Mallorca.
Conserving and protecting the unique nature found in the southeast of Mallorca is extremely important to the people who manage the Es Trenc saltworks. What do you do to play your part?
An important first step is to maintain and conserve all of the canals, waterways, salt marshes and saline pools, as the unique flora and fauna will only stay intact if everything is kept in balance. The harvesting of the salt itself is an important part of this too. Through our daily work, we are protecting the entire area. The fact that the island’s natural environment plays such a key role in the quality of our product means that, as a traditional Mallorcan company, we are totally committed to protecting our natural surroundings. That is why we have been working with the most important environment and bird protection group in the Balearics for many years – the Grup Balear d’Ornitologia Defensa de la Naturalesa, GOB – through which birdwatchers from all over the globe visit our Salinas each year. In addition to monitoring the local bird population, the association is committed to protecting biodiversity, nature reserves and parks, as well as to the resource-efficient use of water.
In addition, this year we started collaborating with the local environment organisation “Save the Med Foundation”. We are supporting them through the sale of our products. The “Save the Med Foundation” was founded in 2018 and aims to contribute to the conservation of marine protected areas, as well as to restore the balance and well-being of their ecosystems. All donations are used to educate the local population about the environment and marine protection, and to establish and conserve marine protected areas on the Balearic Islands.
Microplastic pollution is a particularly difficult issue when it comes to sea salt. What steps do you take to keep the level of these substances to a minimum? Are there any particular technical measures that you can introduce?
As is the case with many foods, we are well aware of the issue of microplastics in our salt. Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc is a genuinely natural product – a true product of the sea. And, unfortunately, the sea – like every other part of our environment – now bears the traces of an irresponsible use of plastic. The only real solution is to find ways and means to curb this flood of plastic.
We are already working closely with a range of specialists, scientists and universities to increase our knowledge and to develop new opportunities for dealing with microplastics – this includes developing special filter systems, for example. We are also currently putting all of our efforts into making our entire production process, as well as our product packaging, completely plastic-free.
The gentle method of harvesting makes Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc extremely natural. Is this natural aspect purely a reflection of its quality, or does the Mallorca salt bring other health benefits?
It is generally not possible to credit any particular health benefits to salts. But we do highlight the fact that the Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc retains the aroma of the Mediterranean and contains over 80 minerals and trace elements. The amount of magnesium (Mg) in Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc is also up to 20 times greater than that found in normal sea salts. The potassium and calcium levels are also twice as high.
Now to the flavour: despite what many may think, salt is not just salt. Can you describe the flavour of pure Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc and where does this salt rank in the world of gourmet salts?
Unlike standard sea salt, Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc has a fine, crunchy texture. It has a very mild flavour and is richer in minerals and trace elements. During harvesting, we carefully select and only remove the salt crystals from the top of the water’s surface. Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc is a product of the very best quality and is one of the finest gourmet salts that you can find.
Hibiscus, Sri Lanka and even beetroot – in addition to the “Natural” variety, you also sell a range of flavours and always have new Limited Editions on the go. Where do you find inspiration for these extraordinary seasoned salts and what can people use them for?
We have always tended to develop our products in collaboration with Michelin-star chefs, often with chefs from Mallorca itself. Incorporating special products from the island is also key for us. “Tap de Corti” paprika is a great example. It is a first-class paprika, which was recultivated in Mallorca in 2009 thanks to a collaboration between Slow Food and small-scale organic farmers. Tap de Corti is one of the main ingredients in our Flor de Sal Picante and in our Paprika Crisps.
We are currently working very closely with Nelson Müller (German Michelin-star and TV chef). He has also been our brand ambassador since 2020. Our seasoned salts can be used for all kinds of cuisines and dishes from across the world. They can be used sparingly at the end of the cooking process to finish off a dish or can be placed on the table for seasoning. They also make a perfect finishing touch for a BBQ.
Can you reveal which new product ideas are currently in the pipeline?
We are continuously working to build on our range of salty snacks. We want to incorporate premium organic produce from Mallorca into our product development process, just like with “Tap de Corti”. With this in mind, we would like to get more involved in projects on Mallorca. I can definitely imagine working together with VIVANI to develop a delicious chocolate bar under the Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc brand.
On that note, let’s finish with a question about chocolate. What do you think of the salt and chocolate flavour combination? Have you had the chance to try our two new varieties containing Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc?
I have been a big fan of VIVANI chocolate for many years, so I was really thrilled with this collaboration. You can already find the combination of dark chocolate and Flor de Sal in good ice cream parlours. I think they go perfectly together. Needless to say, I have already tried the two new varieties of VIVANI chocolate. They are truly delicious and are among my favourites in VIVANI’s range.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Mr Lind. We look forward to tasting Flor de Sal D’Es Trenc's new salty creations.
You can find more information about Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc’s work here:
- Marine protection:https://www.flordesal.com/en/pages/save-the-med
- Gourmet gastronomy:https://www.flordesal.com/en/pages/nelson-muller