At SWEET55, we take pride in knowing where our ingredients are sourced from. Holding true to this belief, we took advantage of being in the Swiss mountains this past Winter to visit the salt mine our precious salt comes from. We use the salt in things like our award-winning Caramel Muscovado, DCG, EMJ, and most of our ganache-based chocolates, and we wanted to go thank the mine personally for helping us create such amazing products.
Our salt producer is the Bex mine, located in Switzerland’s Vaud Alps. To gain access to the mine, our group had to first venture about a kilometer into the mountain via train. The ten-minute ride brought on scents of salt and sulfur. As we stepped into the mine, a guide greeted us and began explaining the history of this particular excavation site. According to legend, a young shepherd noticed his goats drinking from one particular spring. After tasting the water, he realized it contained salt. Years later around 1475, people started boiling the water to extract the salt. When the water dried up in 1680, digging began. In these times, it took two people one month to dig one meter. Now, there are over 50,000 meters worth of tunnels across the mine and it produces over 600,000 tons of salt per year.
After the history, we actually got to taste some of the water, which is amazingly salty and quite refreshing. We were given a first-hand look at the extraction process, which is essentially evaporating water yielding salt crystals. The mineworkers reckon there is enough salt to keep production at these levels for another 200 years, so they’re in no short supply. On top of that, the mine does its best to remain sustainable by utilizing hydroelectric energy to power its operations.
Following our tour, we were able to taste the salt in action paired with an incredible Swiss raclette – melted cheese shaved onto steaming hot potatoes. Chocolate isn’t the only thing this salt is good for! Watch a snippet of our journey below: