Saffron: Tuscany’s red gold

Tuscany, including its southern territory known as Maremma, produces high quality, pure saffron.

Saffron flower & stigma image from
Saffron flower & stigmas image from

About 50 producers make the “Red Gold” in Maremma alone. Here, the cultivation of saffron dates back to medieval times, both as a plant for dyeing and for cooking.

The process of saffron production requires care and passion: the planting of the bulb-tuber and the harvesting of the flowers at dawn are traditionally made by hand.

Saffron is used to enrich first and main courses (both meat and fish) as well as desserts, and is also used to prepare tagliatelle, cookies, beer and body care products. In Maremma, it is often sold directly as stigmas (or threads) and not in powder.

Hand harvest of saffron - image from
Hand harvest of saffron – image from

To celebrate this precious product, every year the village of Marsiliana hosts the Sagra dello Zafferano (Saffron Festival) in August. This year, the event will take place from 13 to 19 August 2015.

A larger event, entirely dedicated to the Red Gold from all over Tuscany as well as other regions of Italy – called L’oro rosso della Val d’Orcia (Val d’Orcia’s red gold) – will take place in San Quirico d’Orcia (Siena) on 17 and 18 October 2015.

Palazzo Chigi will host the event in its ancient and charming building. The event, organized by ValdorciaLife, aims at promoting this niche product and all its related activities, such as saffron-based food, traditional meals and the best wines to be combined. Its objective is also the valorization of the local territory, inviting visitors to enjoy the Val d’Orcia and discover its charms even during the low season.

The program of the event includes delicious tastings of local products, a parade of Ferrari and Ducati vehicles, book and movie presentations, a medical convention on nutrition and food, live music, photography and painting exhibitions, trekking and sports activities in the beautiful setting of the Val d’Orcia Valley. Follow all updates on Facebook


Sources: Maremmans and Valdorcialife

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