Greek “afrina” salt begins its journey towards PGI certification

Afrina salt

The objection procedure for PDO – PGI – TSG products has started a few days ago at national level in Greece. Among them, one iconic product of the Greek land, “afrina”, a special kind of salt consisting of fine crystals that form on the surface of the brine of the salt pans under the influence of favourable weather conditions (wind, air temperature and sunshine).
Namely, Hellenic Saltworks SA submitted on March 23, 2021 to the competent department of the Greek Ministry of Rural Development & Food an application for the registration of the name “afrina” as a EU Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).
Against the application for registration, natural or legal persons having a legitimate interest and established in the Greek territory have the right to lodge an objection.

The difference between “afrina” and salt

The word “afrina” is a local, in the area of the Messolonghi lagoon, moniker for what is known as “fleur-de-sel”. Afrin is exclusively produced in the salt pans of Messolonghi thanks to the ideal conditions that prevail there: The sea is shallow and warm, so that the salt is created by itself, while the waves are minimal, which helps crystallization. In addition, the winds are moderate, capable of drying out the sea and blowing the foam away, and the seabed is flat, with no slopes.
The foam is “born” on the surface of the salt pans where, as the sea dries, a thin crust of first salt is formed. Slowly, with the help of the wind, this crust will drift away and be deposited as foam on the sides of the pans (hence the local name “afrina” from the Greek word for foam, “afros”). Then, when this foam dries, it is collected solely by hand by skilled workers with wooden tools –an ancient technique known to those who collect it. “Afrina” is the first harvest of the salt marshes; once it has been harvested, the salt collection will begin.
“Afrina” is the best by-product of the salt pans. Its appearance is light, like the foam from which it is born. Its flavor is not as intense as salt, which is why its crunchy crystals are ideal for food and confectionery, as its mild taste is ideal for dessert recipes.

Read more about Greek salt.