Head to the salt works on the south coast of the island, Flor de Sal for a great day out.
Salt production has been traced as far back as the Phoenician traders from Lebanon who came to Mallorca in the 8th century BC but it wasn’t until the 1960´s that salt production really took off on the island.
Tourists flock to the island’s most popular beach, Es Trenc for its white virgin sand and crystal clear waters but few realise the hive of activity taking place in the salt flats behind the dunes.
Covering some 150 hectares this protected area, Salinas d ‘ És Trenc, has generated its own eco system and is now home to some 200 species of birds which live amongst the salt marshes including flamingos and ospreys.
From evaporation to crystallization salt production needs a hot sun, a gentle breeze and low humidity, this location is just perfect.
Sea water from Es Trenc beach is pumped inland through a channel, and fed into an ancient system of ponds and channels each one fine tuning the salt until it reaches the wooden salt pans, which is where the magic happens.
Each summer the sea water is drained off the flats leaving a layers of crystallised salt which is collected and processed. The Flor de Sal, the purest, sits on the top of the water and is usually harvested first during the hot summer months. Around 12,000 tons of Sal Marina are produced each year, 500 tons of virgin salt and just 100 tons of pure premium salt, the Flor de Sal.
During the summer harvest, Sal Marina is piled so high it looks like a snow covered mountain !
Machinery takes care of the heavy lifting for the Sal Marina, but the small salt pans which nourish the virgin salt and Flor de Sal are harvested by hand by salineros in their cool white t-shirts, white espadrilles, cream khaki shorts and panama hats. These salineros spend their days carefully skimming the Flor de Sal crystals off the top and depositing them into woven baskets, allowing the excess water to run off.
Once the crystals are dried and packed they are labeled with the weather conditions of the day, the date and the name of the salinero, then shipped to over 30 countries around the world.
Flor de Sal comes in a range of subtle flavours including Hibiscus, Pimentón, Mediterranea and ramallet tomato which can be sprinkled over pa amb oli, a local speciality.
Flor de Sal d’Es Trenc is the taste of Mallorca in crystallised form, so please take some home with you. And of course their über cool packaging is hard to resist.
Guided tours of the salt flats and the factory including the different stages of Flor de Sal production take about an hour.
Try the salt flavours and drop into the shop for a coffee and a bag of salted crisps before you head off.
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