Italian Sea Salt – Sale di Cervia

Cervia sea salt

saltpans of Cervia near Ravenna

Sale di Cervia – Italian Gourmet Sea Salt From Cervia

The Champagne of salt (or rather, the fine Prosecco), Fiore di Cervia is much like a great Brittany fleur de sel, but warmer, less metallic, less briny. In other words, this solar evaporated sea salt from Italy lacks the fresh briny edge of French fleur de sel–which can be either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your elevation, perspective, prejudices, tastes, cooking style, political beliefs…or even whether or not you think Pluto should be defined as a planet!

Salt production at Cervia, a small town between Ravenna and Cesenatico on Italy’s Adriatic coast, dates back more than 2,000 years, beginning with a mixed history dealing with the Etruscans and Greeks. Its name comes from the Latin “acervus” meaning a mound of white salt, called white gold. This fantastic gourmet salt is harvested from small salt pans –  strictly by hand with large wooden rakes in precisely the same way it was way back then by the Etruscans.

Sale di Cervia is entirely sea salt with 2-4% natural humidity.  It is never artificially dried or blended with anti-caking additives. This method preserves all of the minor elements found in sea water: iodine, zinc, copper, manganese, iron, magnesium and potassium. The salt workers closely monitor the entrance of concentrated salt water and as soon as sodium chloride has formed, run off the mother brine which contains the bitter chlorides. For this reason, it is referred to as sweet salt!  This and the muds formed are used for the magnificent therapy treatments at Cervia spas.

Sale di Cervia is harvested from the very last remaining artisanal, seasonal, salt flats in Italy. This exceptional salt is the one used in the salting of two famous products of Emilia Romagna: Parmigiano Reggiano  and Prosciutto di Parma.

 Personally I find this salt absolutely amazing –  a unique pleasure that evokes sensations of crystal clear waters of the best Italian beaches.

Artisanal gourmet salts fascinate me:  I love their naturalness and enjoy experimenting, considering their distinct origins and their subtle…or striking differences. I love to taste how food changes by using them either in cooking or as a finishing salt.  They add such great interest, flair, quality, uniqueness to dishes…and such fun to cooking.  In our Cooking Classes at Genius Loci guests are always interested and enthusiastic.  They share my fascination with Sale di Cervia…and are quite surprised when I call it sweet salt!

For over a thousand years, the economy of Cervia rested on the production of its salt pans. Today, the white gold quarry, the southern gateway to the Po Delta Park, covers a surface area of eight hundred hectares and represents one of Italy’s major nature reserves. Among the birds which nest in the salt pan are pink flamingos and herons.

salt pans of cervia

 Because of the exceptional quality of the salt produced, the Camillone Salt Pan with its excellent and artisanal management has very proudly become a Slow Food Presidium.  Besides course sea salt and that of the Camillone Salt Pan, an extremely limited quantity of the superior Salfiore di Cervia, collected on the surface of the water in the salt pans is produced.  Sale di Cervia and Salfiore di Cervia are highly appreciated by gourmets…and have become my absolute favorites.  I use this white gold  (along with our Genius Loci organic extra virgin liquid gold ) to finish vegetables, carpaccio,  bruschette, roasted meats, grilled fish, panzanella and freshly made pesto. I use a quality salt grinder and always have it on hand.

AND…I just discovered that it is available on Amazon.com

I hope you will give it a try and let me know if you share my fascination with Sale di Cervia.

-Mary