|Saffron is a natural spice coming from the dried stigmas of the Crocus Sativus L flower. The word saffron comes from the arabic Zahafarn. It also comes from the persian Safra whose translation is yellow.
It was first harvested in the region of Cilicia, in the south of the current Turkey. Its origin is located in a small village called Corycus, name adopted then for the saffron plant.
The main civilizations have harvested and traded with saffron for centuries. It has been always considered as a very precious spice, known as the red gold . There are documents showing its cultivation in Mesopotamia and Persia where it was used to colour clothes, as condiment, to make medicines, perfumes and aphrodisiacs. In Persia it begun to be used in combination with rice and then extended to countries like India and China.
Saffron was introduced in Spain by the Arabs between VIII and X (A.C) century, and it was an essential ingredient in the hispano-arabic cuisine. It was then brought to France and Germany arriving to United Kingdom on XIV century.
Saffron was cultivated in Spain mainly on Castillian and Aragon. There were some attempts to cultivate saffron in Mexico in the region of Tlaxcala.
It was reported an important production of saffron in Gàtinais (France) and Saffron Walden (UK). The product obtained was of excellent quality so it was used in thousands of dishes. Its commerce allowed establishing prosperous trading routes.