Food Opinion

Fleur de Sel Salted Caramels: Because life's too short not to

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Fleur de Sel  Salted Caramels (Image supplied)

Oh, the joy of salt! We grind up rocks and sprinkle them over food daily — and we love it. Megan Jane de Paulo's Fleur de Sel Salted Caramels are the perfect excuse to add a little more.

OUR BODIES require salt to be topped up since we lose it through sweat and urine, and salt helps us maintain our water levels. But it goes beyond that in that we often crave salt. However, too much consumption can lead to high blood pressure as it throws the water levels in our blood vessels out of whack.

It’s not just about the physical needs. We love the taste and how it magically enhances other flavours. Imagine chips without salt! Bland, bland... bland.

Adding salt at different cooking stages has a significant impact — you salt meat at the beginning to alter the surface proteins to keep meat juicier and cook potatoes in salted water to break up the surface allowing oil to penetrate for super crispy roasted potatoes.

Brining fish in salty water before cooking helps retain moisture in the fish by creating a protective gel with the outer proteins.

It’s important in recipes to follow when to add salt because it enhances that stage of cooking or creates a desired effect. In Japan, it’s common to salt watermelon before eating because it actually brings out the sweetness.

There are many salt types with different flavours and functions.

Table salt

Rock salt is mined and purified until it is 97% to 99% sodium chloride — small crystals. Sometimes anti-caking agents or iodine are added.

Use: Sprinkle on food as needed/desired.

Cooking salt

Cooking salt has larger, medium-sized grains compared to table salt.

Use: Throw this into your water for cooking or to make salt crusts for baking.

Kosher salt

Almost the same composition as table salt but with larger crystals. Recipes often state to use kosher salt because its shape helps with dissolving. You can see how much is added, so you are less likely to oversalt the dish.

Use: Add during cooking stages or finishing.

Sea salt

Sea salt is a general term for salt produced by the evaporation of ocean water or water from saltwater lakes. It is less processed than table salt and retains trace minerals.

Use: Add during cooking or use this at the table.

Himalayan pink salt

This is a rock salt mined from the Punjab region of Pakistan. Minerals give this salt its signature pink colour. Basically the same as table salt but prettier.

Use: Add as finishing salt — looks pretty on sweets and desserts.

Murray River pink salt flakes

This salt, sourced from Australia’s Murray Darling Basin, is naturally pink-hued.

Use: Add for meats, especially to finish.

Fleur de Sel

Fleur de sel translates to "flower of salt", describing the thin layer of fine crystal salt that forms on the marshes of France's Île de Ré. It is expensive due to the labour involved in producing it.

Use: Add as finishing salt.

Kala Namak

This is Himalayan black salt. Its sulphurous character lends another flavour to many vegan dishes.

Use: Add as finishing, final salting.

Smoked salt

This salt is smoked over various wood types to produce a range of flavour accents.

Use: It depends on what you are cooking — add too much and the smoke flavour will overwhelm.

Infused salts

Salts such as truffle salt and yuzu salt have fine crystals blended with different powdered fragrant ingredients.

Use: To give a different nuance of flavour, use in place of normal table salt.

Amethyst Bamboo Korean Sea Salt

The most expensive salt in the world is Amethyst Bamboo Korean Sea Salt, currently priced at around US$100 (AU$147) for 240 grams.

Use: I imagine you’d use it very sparingly as a light finishing dusting.


The caramels do not take a lot of time to make — but the setting time is eight hours at least. Cutting and wrapping can take a little time.

Fleur de Sel  Salted Caramels

  • 300ml heavy cream (at least 48% fat content)
  • 100g butter, salted
  • 330g caster sugar
  • 350g golden syrup
  • 10ml vanilla extract
  • 5-10g Fleur de Sel
  • Large heavy-bottomed saucepan
  • 20cm cake tin or silicone candy mould
  • baking paper
  • candy thermometer (optional)

Grease the pan with butter, line with paper and set aside.

Put the cream, butter, sugar, golden syrup and vanilla in a pan on medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Leave to simmer for around ten minutes. 

Insert a candy thermometer (don’t let it touch the bottom of the pan!) The caramel should reach a temp of 120°C or the "firm ball" stage — which means if you drop some into a glass of cool water, it should form a ball which keeps its shape but is still soft and chewy.

Cool slightly, then pour into pan and leave to set for at least eight hours.

When cutting, run the knife under hot water and dry it — a warmer knife helps with cutting. (Of course, with a mould, just pop them out.)

Sprinkle some Fleur de Sel on each piece. (It should be sticky enough to hold.)

You can wrap each caramel in paper or cellophane wrappers.

Megan Jane de Paulo is a Melbourne-based, inner-city latte sipper and social media provocateur. You can follow Megan on Twitter @gomichild.

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