Salt flower & Cookies

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui

When you live in three different houses and you move with many things in different bags, losing something is inevitable, above all in the house where your family lives.

I had lost my Fleur de Sel.

I searched and searched and then it reappeared in the most unimaginable place and , above all, it was reduced to a half O_O
Once my mother forgot to go to supermarket and use it to cook the pasta. Tablespoons of Fleur de Sel thrown away for the pasta…

Now I have to wait for the end of summer for the new harvest.

Thanks to connection, or rather I’m Giovanni’s girlfriend, Giovanni is Salvatore’s friend, Salvatore is the Lord of Saline Calcara (Calcara salt pans, I talked about them here), I’ve the last sack of this precious salt from the last harvest at Saline Calcara one year ago, and it was free.

But…how much is the salt at Trapani?“…mmm in effect the normal salt is a cheap substance BUT this is NOT a normal salt, this is the first salt, the best one, and it could be very expensive.

Two years ago I didn’t know fleur de sel (salt flower, if you prefer) but knowing the owner of a salt pan could be useful and romantic! During the summer nights in August, when there aren’t tourists at the salt pans, they are the perfect location to have a party with friends and walk between the pans with your boyfriend under the moonlight.

When there isn’t the moon, salt pans are immersed in the darkness and you can see only lights of far near town, over the sea, because Trapani port and the salt pans look mutually. You could see the Milky Way and thousands of stars, without that urban light. But when there is the moon, which illuminates the pans, stars are on the water.

Between August and September the sun beats down in Sicily and the sea water in the pans begins to evaporate. The first salt on the surface is fleur de sel, little salty isles even surrounded by much water and unadulterated because all impurities sediment. They look like crystalline water lilies which sparkle the thin moonlight, the salt flower indeed.

I don’t know if they call it flower thinking the water lilies or because it’s the best quality of salt.

It’s an unrefined salt but however fine enough, without manipulation. It’s hand-picked by “salinai” (the salt pickers), like in ancient times, when it’s crystallized on the surface because of the mix of wind and sun, and for this reason it’s a Slow Food Presidium product.
There aren’t additives nor preservatives and it includes a more varied mix of mineral salts. It has less sodium chloride, because which it doesn’t cover flavours of foods. I’m looking my Fleur de Sel and it’s silver-grey, damp and friable.

Don’t use it to cook pasta, as a person I know are doing because she forgot to buy it at supermarket. Conserve it for more refined dishes and the unusual recipes.

I wanted the Fleur de Sel to prepare cookies. Yes, Fleur de Sel cookies.

I was looking for an alternative to the usual biscuits for the breakfast at Giovanni’s B&B and I like to test new recipes. I was looking for something of particular and typical in the same time (Trapani sea salt is a Slow Food Presidium but serving it alone for breakfst is not a good idea 😀 ) so I used a Sigrid Verbert recipe from her wonderful food blog Cavoletto di Bruxelles. It’s in italian but there is Google Translate “luckily”.

I tried to translate the recipe for you below:

Fleur de Sel Cookies (Estimated time : 2 hours for kneading, leaving to stand and baking)

• 250 gr/8,82 oz/2 cup “00” Italian Flour”
• 125 gr/4 oz butter
• 125 gr /4 oz/ 1/2 cup white sugar
• 10 gr / 5 tsp vanilla-flavoured powdered sugar ( I used directly 2 gr/ 1 tsp of vanillin)
• 1 egg
• Half teaspoon of Fleur de Sel

I hope that the weight conversations are correct O_O For types of flours I found this article with descriptions of Italian flours

Ok, now we make the cookies:

You have to sift the flavour and mix ith with white sugar, vanillin and fleur de sel.

Add the cool butter (before dice it) and start to knead crumbling all ingredients, the flavour has to “absorb” the butter.

Create a little mountain with flavour crumbs, make a well in the centre and break the egg into it.

Now knead, knead and knead.

When you have a consistent dough, create a ball, cover it with a film and put it in the fridge for one hour.

After you have to roll the dough on a slightly floured surface and obtain a thickness of about 4 mm. Now you can cut the dough in the shapes you prefer while the oven heat at 160 °C. Arrange the cookies on a baking tray ( cover it with the greaseproof paper) and cook for 13 minutes (10 minutes if you want a light color)

With these doses you can have 35-40 super good cookies, with few cheap ingredients you can make a good impression :). You see the little salt crystals “sparkling” on the surface. The flavour? Much vanilla with some crunchy salty crystals distincted. Particular!

This post is short but the translation was very hard. All I can do is keep my fingers crossed for your cookies 😛

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something, you can write to fioredinespula@gmail.com
If you want to have breakfast at Belveliero in front of Trapani port, you can write here bebilveliero@gmail.com .
If you prefer to have breakfast at Boutique B&B Granveliero and partecipate to cooking workshops with us, write to granveliero@gmail.com (write FIORE in the email to receive a discount! 😉 )

Annunci

Trapani is an invisible town

Se vuoi leggerlo in ITALIANO ecco qui

Every day I wake up, brush my teeth and sit in front of pc, answer emails and give away hours and hours of my life surfing on internet, all morning and all afternoon but it’s above all for job, I swear. Today, during my usual nautical activity and while I was trying to follow something called diet (because surfing make me hungry every time ) I bumped into an article about itineraries to do in the west side of Sicily. The diet was proceeding well, till the moment I read ” Trapani isn’t a particularly attractive town” and BUM , the blogger went ahead leaving me with the broken heart.

And an unexpected disappointment (my real reaction was “heyyyyyAndHowDoYouDare,EvilBlogger?!?!?!?!?!“, sorry)

Actually, when I lived in Palermo and my adult life started, I snubbed my hometown too. When tourists said “ But Trapani is so nice, I didn’t imagine, there’s nothing about on guide books“, “Well, there’s no ​accounting for ​taste“, I said to myself.

But now I begin to like this town, I don’t know why, maybe because I met Giovanni or because by now I live here. I hope it isn’t because of the old age. It’s hard to see really the place where you always live, so taking a break for a long time is good to revalue it. And 11 years more in the brain and the heart too. Palermo is hard, you either hate it or you love it, there are no half measures. You have to take all of it, the culture and the crumbling buildings, the theatre and the shouting people. It’s a “passionate” city, I love it because it’s beautiful, dirty and lively, no good for who have a delicate stomach.

Once Giovanni told me about a guest who took the bus to Palermo. He arrived, looked around, frightened himself and returned on the bus to go to Trapani! :’D

Trapani has a softer sicilian character, not less genuine but rather less traumatic, poised between the torpidity of small islands and the colorful roar of big cities in Southern Italy.


It’s a bright town, the sea sparkles and the buildings in the old town give back tens of yellows and off whites and you feel like sunbathing as a lizard. The domes covered by emerald majolicas…
A quite and bright town, but not drowsy.

You go out and see people greet with a smile, old people and storekeepers meet every day but every day find something to say in the middle of road because the traffic and its noises are far.

You can cycle around the old town, from Villa Margherita up to the sea, under the warm sun, tinkling when you meet an acquaintance, without the fear of dying at the crossroads. I love ringing the bike bell, it resounds in the quite of the street, DRIIIIIINNNN (Ok, I’m feeling a little bit stupid 😀 )

Go under the Mura di Tramontana (old northern city walls) and find the sea (and if they removed the seaweeds from the beach you can bathe, but usually they clean the beach in June)

Go to Torre di Ligny (Ligny Tower) and find the sea and overlooking behind the tower is exciting in every season. There are only sea and rocks and a thrill runs down your spine, not only because of dizziness.

Go to the port (and find the sea 😀 ) and your mind runs among all those brighting spots between the sun and the water. In winter it’s cold, you cover the nose with scarf, against the biting wind and watch the seagulls during their immobility exercises in flight. They are strange. They stay there, fixed, suspended on the bursting water, balancing between the winds, neither too high nor too low.

If you pass through Porta Botteghelle you could notice an old table with stripped paint and three chairs. For Heaven’s sake! Don’t touch them, nobody do it. In Sicily you understand if a chair is abandoned or just put aside to use them the next day. It’s almost certain that those chairs have an owner and if you see them, you can sit but you can’t break, move or throw away them.

The handicraft, traditional or reinvented, rediscovered or never forgotten by faithful keepers become artists by now. The red coral, the fishermen nets, the silver and the majolicas, the sweets and the embroideries.

A small town, where you can find the unexpected you don’t expect

For the rest Trapani is always a sicilian town so the markets are always colorful and noisy, with sellers who shout compliments trying to attract some vain girls. If you don’t find a parking spot you can create it. The results could be artistic works, the traffic policemen take a picture before giving a ticket.
Old men set up living rooms in small spaces next their houses or shops to chat with the old friends or the neighbours.
But these things are normal in Sicily, luckily.

I think I’m not even so good at writing and explaining this place but every time I walk along the port and look the swinging boats, I feel a “bright quite” inside of me (do you know the italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti? He said that the real love is a bright quite), maybe because I consider this place as one of many pieces of that puzzle called Love. Giovanni gave me this puzzle.

“You love a city not for its seven or seventy-seven wonders, but because it has an answer to your special question”

And Italo Calvino was right.

Right, that’s enough hearts and flowers, one month ago I wrote a long city walk on Trapani, but I didn’t know where to start because I thought that Trapani was culturally UNINTERESTING. I feel ashamed of this but I made up for lost time. I researched and researched, among scores of bites with the same 4 words and bare (and often wrong) information. The devastation of copy and paste.

I discovered that Trapani is really a nice and small town. As a typical sicilian town, it is a little bit medieval, very baroque and with a pinch of Liberty, scattered where you don’t expect it…


…it has a History but we don’t know it because that church is where my cousin got married or I went to that high school, those buildings and churches have been ever present.

I like the history of this town and you can discover it in a long city walk of one or two days but I’ll write it in the next post 🙂

If you want to correct my English (please, be kind because I’m a sensitive person and I’m learning) or suggest something, you can write to fioredinespula@gmail.com
If you want to sleep in B&B Belveliero in front of Trapani port, you can write here bebilveliero@gmail.com;
If you prefer to sleep at Boutique B&B Granveliero and partecipate to cooking workshops with us, write to granveliero@gmail.com (write FIORE in the email to receive a discount! 😉 )

Condividi: