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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Soap from Marseille

Unique legendary Savon de Marseille --Soaps from Marseille have been around for a long time - since the sixteenth century.

What makes them unique?
They are versatile, rooted in tradition and safe.  Here are some extracts from my eBook, An olive Oil Tour of France which will be published soon.

Soap crafters have been making Savon de Marseille  in France’s oldest city, Marseille, since the middle Ages.  This is no ordinary soap, wrapped up in pretty packaging. These are big blocks of all purpose soap used for generations in France for everything from household cleaning and laundry to beautifying the body. 

The green Marseille soap made from pure olive oil is today recognized by dermatologists the world over for its hypoallergenic and antibacterial qualities.

The Sérail Savonnerie de Marseille run by Daniel Boetto is, however, the only soap maker left that makes authentic Marseille soap. This family business started up by Daniel’s father is one where true artisans have been using the same cauldron and the same strict traditional methods since 1949. At Sérail they make a liquid detergent, and two types of soaps, a white soap made from palm oil used for household purposes and the green variety made with 60% ordinary olive oil obtained mostly from Greece as regrettably France does produce enough olive oil.

How do they make their legendary soap?

The soap master burns a mixture of olive oil, vegetable oil, soda ash  and salt water  in a large cauldron,  a chemical reaction takes place turning the  mixture into soap; once the soap is settled, it can be stamped and dry.

Although it sounds easy, you can’t just follow a recipe, it requires great skill to be a soap master, not something   you can learn overnight.

It took oil Daniel Boetto 6 years to learn the trade from his father.

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