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Partying
Yearly saffron fair
in Saint Christol d'Albion
SAFFRON OF PIÉMONT VENTOUX

Historically in France, saffron had long been grown in Provence and the Loire Valley before being abandoned. But there is a renewal, and saffron fields can be seen again dotting the landscape around Mont Ventoux.

It is very difficult to know the exact origins of the saffron crocus. Its bulbs were introduced in France by the Crusaders. Saffron had already been known in Egypt and Mesopotamia for many millennia.

Saffron thrives in the contrasted Mediterranean climate, with harsh winters and hot summers. Autumn rains encourage flowering while those in March help the bulb grow.

The plant requires handpicking and therefore a lot of workforce. In addition, it takes 200,000 stigma to make 1kg of fresh saffron, of which 5kg are needed to make 1kg of dried saffron. Which explains its price.

Harvesting takes place in autumn.
100 to 110 flowers per m² produce about 1 gram of dry saffron.

Now you understand why saffron is priced between 19 and 34 €/gram.

 

PRODUCER WELCOMING
Some saffron producers, as part of their diversification, welcome you in lodges or B&B. They will share with you the passion of their experiences and skills.
  • Légumes à la provençale
    INGRÉDIENTS
    Pour 4 personnes
    4 courgettes, 4 tomates, 1 oignon, 2 cuillerées à soupe d'huile d'olive, 60 g de riz, 1 branche de thym, safran, sel, poivre.
    PRÉPARATION
    Faire fondre l'oignon dans l'huile, rajouter les courgettes pelées et coupées, les tomates et le sel, le thym. Laisser les légumes cuire doucement, couverts.
    Rajouter le riz, le safran, un peu d'eau si nécessaire, et fermer la cocotte-minute. Laisser cuire 5 minutes.

    Recette extraite du livre « Alimentation provençale et santé » paru aux éditions Barthélémy.
  • It used to be one of the most precious foods in the world, sold at the price of gold, and was highly coveted and heavily trafficked. It was falsified for a long time, replaced by the much cheaper safflower. But be aware that sacks of counterfeit goods were burned along with the trader!
    In his Metamorphoses, Ovid imagined a dashing young man named Crocus, in love with a nymph, Smilax. At the end of their tale of impossible love, one is said to have been turned into a flower, Crocus sativus (saffron) and the other into an indomitable garrigue vine, Smilax aspera, the wild asparagus. In homeopathy, Crocus sativus is prescribed for nervous disorders and is used in the DELABARRE infants' syrup. Saffron was formerly used as a digestive, but also to cheer up despondent people.