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The festival of saffron

30 August 2009 / 09:08:55  GRReporter
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In north-west Greece, in the area of Kozani, the traditional festival of saffron is taking place on August 28-29. Local residents participate in the forum with dishes prepared with saffron.

Yellow is a royal color and the saffron is reasonably called a royal spice. The qualities of saffron have been proved over the centuries; healers from China and Egypt were using it for its curative powers long before the beginning of the new era, and a dedication to the saffron exists in the ancient Palace of Crete. In ancient Rome they would consider saffron-colored clothes for a symbol of wealth.

During the previous century revenues from saffron used to be compared to those from petrol; today, this is still a profitable business and Greece is proving it. According to last data, the price for a kilogram is between $500 and $1000.

Saffron's culinary value is not overrated. The golden spice is flavoring puddings, cakes, mousses, crèmes, ice creams, etc. it is also used for meat-dishes and different sauces. In some dishes the saffron is not just used to improve the taste- it's an essential component: special Spanish fish soup, paella and Risotto Milanese with parmesan.

Saffron is a natural preserver and keeps fresh dishes that would otherwise go bad for hours. It should, however, be used carefully, following the recipe, since larger quantities may be harmful. While cooking with saffron, hot water should not be used in order to preserve its valuable qualities. The technology of cooking with saffron is complicated, but even harder is its production.

Dilyana Ivanova

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