Spanish saffron is grown in Castille-La Mancha, where it has enjoyed a deeply rooted tradition. This region also produces delicious Manchego cheese and a wide variety of great wines. From there, saffron is exported to almost every country in the world. Because this saffron has a guaranteed designation of origin since 2001, it is protected against fraud or adulteration and is credited as a high quality product with organoleptic qualities that make it stand out above the rest.
The prized Spanish spice produced in this area is one of the most coveted given its delicate fragrance and intense flavor. More than 150,000 flowers are needed to produce just one kilogram of dried saffron, a task performed manually since there is no adequate machinery for harvesting, collecting and processing these ephemeral flowers. For these reasons, saffron can command higher prices than gold: more than $6,000 per kilogram.
If you want to purchase the best Spanish saffron, the major brands assigned to the Regulatory Council of the Denomination of Origin Saffron from La Mancha are Safroman, Cefrán, The Rosera, Karkon, Princesa de Minaya, Virgen de la Cruz and Vega Lezuza.
Just a small amount of this tasty and highly appreciated spice will enhance the flavor and quality of dishes like Spanish paella, Italian risotto, French bouillabaisse, Middle Eastern rice and even Jewish challah bread. ■