What cinnamon is to pumpkin season, saffron’s one of the most beloved spice used in Mediterranean, North African and Middle Eastern cuisines. In Spain it is used in dishes such as paella to enhance the flavor of the rice and fish.
So it should come to no surprise that every year near Madrid, in the town of Consuegra, a Saffron Festival is celebrated. From October 27th to October 28th, a tribute shall be paid to the red herb that has so enriched the cuisine of the country.
The spice, which is derived from the flowers that grow in the region, is the subject of this event and include a parade and tasting various delicacies. The residents of the town wear traditional outfits.
An exhibition showing how wheat flour is made will also be on display at the local windmill. However, the main attraction of the festival is when all the inhabitants of the town go and pick the herbs. The purple flowers have their stigmas plucked until about 14,000 of them have been harvested.
Surprisingly, all these stigmas make only a minimum amount of the spice, which changes to a dish to a reddish hue. An estimated 125,000 flowers are needed to create one pound of red saffron. But with the price of saffron being so high, many farmers think it is worth the 40 hours effort to produce this. Spain is the second largest exporter of saffron, after Iran.
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