Back in my Food Hunter days I shot an episode on Saffron, a pricey spice with a highly revered flavour profile. We made our way to Spain; one of two main countries – the other is Iran – that grows the flower the spice originates from.
It all starts with a purple flower called Crocus Sativus. The stigma of this beautiful blossom is what we call saffron and three stigmas can be found on each flower.
I have fond memories of watching the work that goes into harvesting the flowers. The women at the farm picked the Crocus flowers and placed them gently in baskets and would sit at communal tables pulling the stamens out. Though it’s a labor-intensive process, I easily sensed that this community cared greatly and had pride in their work.
When the final product ends up in our kitchens, Saffron’s aroma and flavour is like no other. It also adds a wonderful yellow colour to stews and rice. Paellas and risottos come alive with a pinch of the spice and even desserts shine because of the sweet and musky flavours. It’s well worth a visit to the Saffron Festival once a year at the end of October. It’s in the small town of Consuegra, just south of Toledo. Festivities galore, the crowning of the Saffron queen, giant paella competitions and lots more!
image source : foodnchef.com
My time in Spain was great! It’s gorgeous weather and Mediterranean locale means lots of fish and seafood, tasty wine and a relaxed way of life! It’s a place I’d recommended without hesitation!