Schwarzes Salz - wertvoll wie Gold

Black salt - as valuable as gold

Salt was a very important raw material in the ancient Mayan Empire. Salt played an important role in nutrition and trade, so fish and meat could be preserved and sold and consumed hundreds of kilometers away.

Then as now, a special salt is mined, a natural black salt from the volcanic mines in the highlands of Guatemala.

Only a few artisans from the local Quiche families still master the old methods and have the knowledge of proper processing and undertake the arduous open-cast mining.

Once a necessary staple food in ancient and pre-Hispanic times, this special black salt is now used in top Guatemalan and international gastronomy. The high content of iron, sulphur, magnesium and sodium combined with the unique taste make it a real treat for the discerning palate.

Due to climatic conditions and environmental influences, the black volcanic salt can only be mined in two months between February and April.

Access is denied for most of the year due to the temperatures underground and the fact that the mines regularly fill with water, making mining virtually impossible.

Salt mining in Guatemala's mines and the production process have hardly changed over many centuries; the manufacture and production of black salt is accompanied by ceremonies and rituals.

This includes regular cleaning of the production facilities or preparation for the "Big Day" when the salt is cooked and finished in clay pots.

First, the perfect stones are sought from the rivers and a special type of wood is collected that produces particularly hot fire. Clay pots are made over several days - they can only be used once before they are consumed in the fire.

The first step is to cover the salt pan with the same clay that has been used for centuries. The clay, which is then salty, is filtered and stored in the cooking hut. The salt is placed in the clay pots and placed on the river stones to prevent the pots from coming into direct contact with the firewood. Now the black salt is slowly cooked in the clay pots, always under the watchful eye of the salt makers present.

After the cooking process, the clay pots are broken open; the salt adheres so strongly to the vessels that it is otherwise impossible to separate. The resulting salt blocks are ground by hand with stones in the final step and are available in different degrees of grinding from coarse to fine.

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