These are whole saffron threads, aka the tip of the stigma of the crocus flower. These saffron threads are precious and potent. Each individual tiny thread brings a waterfall of flavor. There is no mistaking the signature color and fragrance of this Zafferano dell'Aquila DOP. Saffron from L’Aquila, Abruzzo has a completely unique and inimitable flavor and aroma - with rich notes of dried fruit and flowers, and a hint of smokiness.
Soak the threads for a few hours before cooking, and use them to add rich flavor and vibrant gold color to tagliatelle with vegetables, gnocchi, couscous, paella, roasted meat and fish, and bouillabaisse. L’Aquila saffron is the key ingredient in risotto milanese, a simple dish flavored with saffron and Parmigiano Reggiano. It is extremely versatile and is also widely used in Middle Eastern cooking, as well as desserts like orange pound cake or Persian sweet rice pudding.
Thanks to its high level of antioxidants and essential minerals, saffron is believed to have a number of medical uses as well, as a natural antidepressant and even as an aphrodisiac.
Saffron is originally from Asia Minor; according to legend, in the 13th century it was brought from Spain to Navelli, a small town in the province of L’Aquila, by a Dominican friar. He was an agricultural expert who knew the plant would flourish in his hometown, with its rich, permeable soils, mild summers and rainy springs. In Navelli, saffron has found its ideal micro-climate; it is the only European DOP certified saffron, and is now considered the best in the world.
Roughly 250,000 crocus flowers are required to produce one kilo of saffron threads. This is tiring, painstaking work that demands an incredible level of attention and dedication - but the result is an extraordinary product that truly deserves to be called “L’Oro Rosso di Navelli” - the Red Gold of Navelli.