The Rose of Saffron: The World’s Most Expensive Spice
by Sharee Solow
Some spices cut like a knife, but sultry saffron envelopes classic ingredients with an alluring color and scent that can be difficult to describe. Use a blindfold on your keenest gourmand and see if they can identify the taste and aroma of this ancient culinary additive! To this day, the Castilla La Mancha region of Spain, with a unique combination of soil and climate, celebrates a thriving tradition of cultivating the “rose of saffron.” With a little background information, you can savor and grow this revered spice of legendary heroes and gods. Easier to grow than vegetables, anyone with a sunny window or garden spot can have enough of this ancient luxury for cooking those golden fall dishes or perfuming a cup of tea. Sometimes called “red gold,” it shouldn’t be confused with often suggested substitutes like paprika or turmeric, there is no substitute for the real thing.
To see the entire magazine article in the most recent issue of Mediterranean Gardening and Outdoor Living, click the .pdf in my website under the tab “In the News”. Don’t worry, all four pages are in English.
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My latest magazine article in Mediterranean Gardening & Outdoor Living
Being half Hungarian, Paprika is a spice I use more often than most other people I know. But what is in those tins and where does it come from? The search turned out to be a fascinating mix of culinary, botanic, and cultural history so let me give you a little taste (pun intended) of what I found out! Although I’ve eaten my share of stuffed peppers, the dish I cook most often, that most speaks to me as a symbol of paprika fare, is Chicken Paprikash. I’m in good company because this happened to be the favorite dish of the lovely Queen Elizabeth of Hungary and Empress of Austria (wife of Franz Josef I) whose photo is below. Earlier, it was added to the menu for the House of Lords in 1844, which established it as the spice that is iconic to Hungarian cuisine today. Decades later, in 1879, Escoffier himself took paprika from Szeged to Monte Carlo for introducing the French to Guylas Hongrois and Pouletau Paprika (Hungarian Goulash, Chicken Paprikash).
That is just a glimpse but you can read the entire article from the October 2014 issue of Mediterranean Gardening & Outdoor Living by going to the tab “In the News” in my website. http://www.solowhorticulturaldesigns.com/news/