Wednesday, 08 July 2015 11:03

Spanish potato omelette

Published in Main course

Under the title “The purple gold of La Mancha” the Wall Street Journal has dedicated an extensive article about Spanish saffron, in particular the one that grows in the fields of Castilla La Mancha, granted Protected Designation of Origin in 2001.

It explains how the Moors, whose influence during the 8th century spread through Iberia and into southern France, are believed to have introduced the saffron crocus into central and southern Spain.

Manchegan saffron differs slightly from other varieties, and is recognized for its unique sweet aroma and vibrant red color. The flowers are picked by hand, the stigmas removed by fingernail and then quickly dried over a heat source like charcoal, a method that helps to retain its fiery flavor.

The article offers expert advice on how to recognize authentic saffron from geneticist Jose Antonio Fernandez, professor at the University of Castilla La Mancha. Saffron has long been a valued commodity, and has subsequently "been adulterated for centuries”.

“One way to ensure you are getting genuine saffron is to restrict purchases to a few European regions whose saffron has received protected geographical status from the European Union, and is marked by a seal”. When in doubt, he adds, "the best thing to do is use turmeric or paprika, which are both far preferable to fake or adulterated saffron”

Experts have high expectations on this year's crop in La Mancha, since 2011 has been "remarkable on both the quality and the quantity of plants, unusually high” says Professor Fernandez.

The land of Don Quixote has become so popular for its production of quality saffron that is now a new tourist attraction thanks to the Saffron Rose Festival. The event is held annually in Consuegra, a small town in the northwest of the region and attended by tourists and food lovers from around the world.

To read the full article, click HERE

Published in News
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