Gozo Artisanal Sea Salt

Ark of taste
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The history of Gozo salt pans goes all the way back to Phoenician times. Xwejni salt pans are one of the oldest site where the basins and channels were hand cut in the flat limestone coastline.

On the north coast of Gozo, just past Qbajjar Bay west of Marsalforn, the coast is characterised by a chequerboard of rock-cut saltpans protruding into the sea. These 350-year-old salt pans, which stretch about 3km along the coast, are more than just scenic. They are part of the centuries-old Gozitan tradition of Sea-Salt production that has been passed down within certain families for many generations. There are 12 big pools which are filled with sea water pumped straight from the sea. From there the smaller pools and pans are filled using the watering channel system. There are 350 small pans that are used for salt extraction. Then the water is left to evaporate. However the salt pans never dry up completely as otherwise the salt would stick to the bottom and it would be very hard to collect it. In the summer, family members start to sweep and collect the salt in piles. Then the salt is collected from all the small piles into one large one, letting it dry. The harvest is usually once a week depending on the weather. The salt is then stored in caves carved into the coastal rock.

Xwejni Sea Salt is produced mainly by two families, who have passed on the trade from one generation to the other. Salt is a key ingredient in any kitchen, but Gozo sea salt, rich in minerals, is prized for its purity and flavour. It is used to make sun-dried tomatoes, to preserve locally grown capers and to make sheep’s milk cheeslets (gbejniet). It is also essential in curing olives. Mixed with fennel seeds, sea salt is ideal to flavour any roasts especially potatoes, sliced in thick rounds and baked on a bed of onions.

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Production area:Island of Gozo

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