Piran Sel Gris takes a certain degree of spirituality and imagination to fully appreciate. Firm, almost-hard crystals that are highly irregular in size and granular in shape. They glisten the color of raindrops on a mirror. This is the legendary Slovenian sea salt first documented in 13th century, reaching its heyday as a centerpiece of the Venetian salt trade in the 15th to 18th centuries, then batted around under Austrian and Italian control for a few hundred years before settling down within the present day borders of Slovenia. Yet for all its historical gravitas, it is the most blissful, almost whimsical, of salts. Take a taste. The feeling is of lightness, but with a miraculous connection to sweet yet firm mineral flavors. Eating this salt makes you feel like walking on water. Using it on virtually any roasted or grilled food, who knows what miracles will be wrought?
Piran Sel Gris is unrefined and rich in marine minerals. Its trademark sweet-mineral taste is due to the unique properties of the Adriatic aquamadre (the dense liquid that results from the natural production of marine salt from sea water), captured in the shining crystals. This salt is prized for its abundant of microelements, which are said to form in the petola, a foundation of biosediment, on the bottom of the crystallization pans.
Just 100 years ago salt works lined much of the northern coast of the Adriatic. The salt works Piran are located just half an hours east-southeast seaside drive from Trieste in northeastern Italy. Today they are in a national park and nature preserve, on the Adriatic coast of Slovenia. These saltpans comprise an interconnected series of carefully tended, lagoon-like, shallow basins in which the pristine, saline-rich waters of the northern Adriatic are allowed to enter, evaporate, and be hand-harvested. The Piran Saltpans are among the longest-functioning saltpans in Europe, providing healthful and flavorful salt for seven centuries.
Piran Sel Gris was certified by the Veritas Bureau in 2005, authorized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Nutrition of the Republic of Slovenia. Each product with the label of denomination of origin needs to adhere to severe rules. In this way, both the methods of producing, and the preparation for the marketplace are connected to the geographic environment, not just the product, and must have the characteristics of the natural and human forces originating from the zone of origin itself.