In the famous Risotto we taste the intense aroma and the yellow color of Zafferano dell’Aquila PDO.
Zafferano dell’Aquila PDO is saffron obtained from the stigma of the Crocus Sativus L flower (Iridaceae family), cultivated in the Abruzzo Region, in central Italy.
Production area: The production zone of Zafferano dell’Aquila PDO includes a clearly defined area in the Province of L’Aquila in the Region of Abruzzo, within this area cultivation must take place on lands lying at an altitude of between 350 and 1,000 meters above sea level.
Appearance and Taste: It has a strong flavor and a crimson-red color, with an extremely intense aroma.
Origins: Saffron has been known for thousands of years, in fact Homer, Virgil and Pliny often mention it in their works as did Ovid in The Metamorphosis. It is mentioned in Egyptian scrolls dating from the II Century BC, in the Bible and in the IX and XII books of the Iliad. The Athenean Isocrates used to have his pillows perfumed with saffron before going to bed and Trojan women used it to scent the floors of their temples. Saffron has Asian origins and, according to historical sources, this spice was imported into Italy around the XIII or XIV century, by a Benedictine monk from Navelli (near L’Aquila). Finding a suitable habitat in Abruzzo, saffron soon became fundamental for the local market. Saffron contributed particularly to the development of the city of L’Aquila, exported in North and Central Europe.
Production: Saffron is produced with three orange or red stigmas in the corolla of the flower. The red stigmas give the saffron its yellow color and a distinctive taste to culinary preparations. The cultivation soil is prepared and then left to rest from November to August of the following year. During the month of August, the best bulbs are planted close together in one or two rows. Harvesting is carried out by hand during the flowering period, every morning at dawn in order to avoid the flowers opening with the sun. The stamens and the stigma are separated in the evening and then dried immediately over oak or almond-wood fires.
Gastronomy: Zafferano dell’Aquila PDO is a very precious spice, utilized in many traditional Italian dishes such as the Risotto alla Milanese and the preparation of meats and desserts. It should be stored in a glass jar and it’s possible to find it in powder.
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