The salt of Piran è a halls marine purest, famous for the his colour white brilliant natural e for the his flavour unique, fruit of his harvesting that is still done by hand as dictated by ancient tradition. This renowned salt is produced in Piran, at Slovenia, at a reserve natural where, walking through a landscape rich in history, you can sighting well over 270 species by birds like pelicans, martin fishermen, owls e flamingos. Salt, considered by the Romans to be awhite gold and by Homer a 'divine substance', for Piran is a culinary treasure, so special that it turns every dish into a sensory journey.

Why was salt so valuable?

The discovery of salt has very ancient origins, with the first uses dating back to the Neolithic era (10,000 BC). At that time, the first groups of men abandoned nomadic life and began to settle down, devoting themselves to agriculture and training. As a direct consequence, the need to preserve food arose, and salt, with its preserving power, soon became almost as valuable as water, assuming a crucial role in human history. In particular:

  • In ancient Egypt was the exclusive prerogative of the pharaohs and was used for mummification, household products and body care.
  • The Maya produced homemade salt by inserting salt water within by vats bystone e by clay and evaporating it by placing it in the sun or over a fire.
  • The Greeks studied and learnt the importance of salt for human health and therefore also used it for medical purposes.
  • The Romans They used salt for offerings to the gods, in cooking, in medicine, for tanning hides, for food preservation and to pay soldiers as payment for their work (the term 'wages' originates from this custom). They based their industry on salt to such an extent that they made a road of trade to connect the river Tiber with the saltworks by Ostia, the famous via Salaria, where already at the time yes paid the tax on toll of routes of salt.

In Italy, the salt tax was probably the oldest of taxes and also had a very long history: it was only finally abolished in 1975. The Italian state, in fact, owned several maritime salt pans (Cagliari, Carloforte, Cervia, Comacchio, Tarquinia, Margherita di Savoia and, of course, the Piran salt pans) and had thus created a monopolistic regime on salt.

The salt of Piran

The history of Piran salt

The history of the Piran salt is closely linked to Venetian rule, and the architecture of the town of Piran is proof of this: the houses colourful in style baroque Venetian, the bell tower of church by san Giorgio who remember the bell tower of basilica by san Marco e the palace Venetian at square Tartini make it a miniature Venice.

Salt is produced in the salt pans of Sečovlje and Strunjan, both of which have a long and adventurous history of domination and destruction. The earliest writings in which mention is made of Piran salt date back to the year 804 when small salt pans owned by monasteries in the area were in operation and salt was sold to the Venetian Republic.

During Venetian rule, the salt pans were often the object of destruction. In 1460, the most catastrophic occurred at the hands of the Venetians, who razed them to the ground to confirm their supremacy in the Mediterranean. Only the Sečovlje salt works survived that cowardly display of power.

Piran

In 1797 When Venetian rule ended, the salt pans came under theaustrian empire and salt became a state monopoly. In those years, in order to beat the Sicilian competition, the Austrians bought up the salt pans of all the small producers and put in place several reconstructions with reinforcements and protection of embankments. From 1918 the Piran salt pans first came under theItalian administration e then under the socialist federal republic of yugoslavia and during this long period the salt pans were restructured in such a way as to increase either the quantity by halls which the quality. In In 1991, when Slovenia declared independence from Yugoslavia, the Sečovlje salt pans finally became a historical and natural heritage and protected area.

However Sicciole was not only known for its salt pans that yielded the precious white gold. At one time, there was also an underground mine that remained active from 1935 to 1973 and instead yielded black gold: coal. These were difficult years, in which several accidents occurred due to heavy explosions and numerous suicides were recorded among the miners, so much so that it was decided to close the coal mine and leave Piran famous solely for its salt production.

The Piran salt harvest

The production of Piran salt involves the evaporation of seawater from tanks in a completely artisanal manner. The particularity of production involves the cultivation of petola in crystallisation tanks. The petola, composed of various microorganisms and minerals, ranges in colour from greenish-brown to dark grey and is thick some millimetres. Its function is to prevent the salt from mixing with sea mud and certain ions, such as iron and manganese ions, thus making it possible to obtain a quality salt. The final collection of the salt in small pyramids is done with a wooden tool, called a gavero.

Piran salt preparation

The types of salt in Piran

Two types of salt are produced, Piran salt and flor de sal, and they differ from each other in terms of the harvest period and the amount of sodium chloride and other minerals. Salt flor, which is white or pale pink in colour, is the ultimate in salt quality and forms a thin layer on the surface of the salt pans.

The salt of Piran

Piran salt, however, has not only food uses, but also curative ones: it is offered in special packaging for scrubs, massages and regenerating treatments.

The salt of Piran

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What is cooked with Piran salt?

Both traditional dishes associated with Venetian rule (such as sardines in soar and baccalà mantecato) and typical Slovenian dishes (such as cuttlefish with chard and polenta, corn soup or bobičimussels a la busare and fuži with truffles) all have one ingredient in common that sets them apart, giving each bite a unique and recognisable flavour: the Piran salt.

Fonda sea bass in Piran salt

Of all the typical dishes of the Istrian peninsula, the Fonda sea bass in Piran salt is the one that allows you to fully enjoy and savour the exquisiteness of Slovenia's white treasure.

This recipe dedicated to sea bass is a tribute to the Fonda family, famous for producing the most important fish training in Slovenia. A family that, generation after generation, has given birth to fishermen and fishermen in love with the sea, capable of recreating an ideal environment in which to breed sea bass, now hardly reproductive in nature. On the strength of their passion and studies in biology, they have created a magical place so in harmony with nature that the Fonda sea bass in Piran salt has become a symbol of Istrian culinary tradition.

Dark chocolate with Piran salt

A culinary gem for those with a sweet tooth is the dark chocolate with Piran's fior di sale, a fusion of bitter-sweet taste that can be purchased in the shop in the Sečovlje salt pans as well as in the village shops.

Piran salt chocolate

Piran salt, that pinch that makes all the difference

There is no doubt that the salt has been and continues to be the protagonist of the history of the Istrian peninsula. A pinch of salt that has drawn a rich path of social interactions and economic relations and has united traditions, habits and cultures, arriving on our tables to make us experience a sensory journey every day, enveloped in its scent and flavour.

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