Title

Saffron

Topic

Saffron

Region

Castille-La-Mancha

English Article

 

He Learned to Walk Behind a Plow

As we drove across the flat plateau called La Mancha, my wife Ruth and I were bound to meet one of the last artisan saffron families of Spain. In one aspect, it was an urgent mission for La Tienda: we are committed to support as many quality artisan producers as we can. In addition, I might add, every time you purchase their products for your home you are helping to support traditional Spain. 

Saffron has always been one of the world's most precious products. It is the hand-toasted stamen of the crocus flower – a flower similar to the ones you see each spring in your garden. It has been cultivated since ancient times in the Near East. The Moors brought with them the condiment az-zafaran during their occupation of Spain over a thousand years ago, and, until recently over 70% of the world's production was grown on the high Castilian plateau known as La Mancha. See full english article...

Spanish Article

 

He Learned to Walk Behind a Plow

Se puede decir que mi esposa Ruth y yo estábamos destinados a conocer a una de las pocas familias artesanas que quedan en España mientras atravesábamos la meseta de La Mancha. Por una parte era una misión que urgía para La Tienda: es nuestro compromiso apoyar a tantos productores artesanos de calidad como nos sea posible; por otra parte, debo añadir, vosotros ofrecéis respaldo a la España más tradicional cada vez que adquirís estos productos. 

El azafrán ha sido de siempre uno de los productos más valiosos del mundo. Se trata del estambre de la flor del azafrán tostado a mano, una flor parecida a las que aparecen cada primavera en muchos jardines. Se ha cultivado desde la antigüedad en el Próximo Oriente. Los moros introdujeron este condimento en España durante su ocupación hace más de mil años, y hasta hace poco el 70% de la producción mundial procedía de la meseta castellana, de La Mancha. See full spanish article...

Discussion Questions

 

  1. What is saffron and how did it come to be grown in Spain?
  2. If 2/3 of the population of the town of Minyana has left in the last 30 years, how many people are left out of 3,000? How many people live in your town or city?
  3. How is it that industrialization and shifting trade agreements can affect a town’s population?
  4. How is saffron harvested and then prepared?

Extension Activity

Take a pinch of saffron and tease out the filaments with tweezers or a pencil tip. Can you make out the part of the flower from which it comes? Smell the saffron. Now take the saffron and crush it between your finger tips and smell again. How would you describe the difference in smell? How would you describe the smell in general?

Links (will open the LaTienda.com site in a new window)