The red gold of Val d’Orcia

Ancient history knew about saffron from Val d’Orcia, a spice that disappeared but then returned to enhance traditional and new flavours. 


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Val d'Orcia, a land of great wines and flavours of tradition, keeps among its assets excellent products that can surprise visitors. An example is saffron, the precious spice that brings the yellow sunshine into the dishes.

The saffron obtained by the flowers of Crocus sativus is all but foreign to this area: it was in fact already grown in the Middle Ages, when – just like the vineyards of Montalcino – it was already considered a synonym of wealth and an excellent trade commodity. It was so until the 16th century  when its production was discontinued and saffron disappeared for centuries from Val d'Orcia.

Today the growing of Crocus has been rediscovered, with the ensuing production of the spice, which is picked up exclusively by hand and within the area of the Park of the Val d'Orcia.

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The particular feature of saffron is certainly given by its bright colours, intense and delicate at the same time. The purple flowers that between October and November colour the fields like a light carpet protect the red stamina where the actual spice is drawn from, which in turn is used in cooking giving the dishes a beautiful vivid yellow colour.

One of the typical dishes in which you can taste its flavour is tripe with saffron, while even more particular are the innovative pairings that use this spice to produce unusual types of beer and honey, that you must try if you are in search of special flavours.

Saffron is a romantic ingredient for the magic of its colours and especially for the story it tells: legend has it that a couple of lovers, separated by an impossible fate, was transformed in plants by the gods; the name of the man was in fact Krocus.
In this sense saffron belongs entirely to Val d'Orcia, a land enveloped in romance that embraces the landscape and that has charmed film-makers and VIPs who have stayed there, choosing it as a set for a film or location for their own wedding.