Zafferano di Sardegna DOP is a spice derived from the stigma of the Crocus Sativus flower, a nice violet flower cultivated in gthe provinde of Medio Campidano.
The word zafferano (saffron) derives from the Latin safranum, which comes from the Arab word meaning "yellow": in fact, the main characteristic of this spice is the intense yellow hue. This is why in ancient times it was used to dye the most precious fabrics.
Due to its color and its importance for the local economy, it has been called Sardinia's gold. Introduced by the Phoenicians, used by the Romans as a medicine or as a decoration, it was renowned in the 1800s both as a dye and as a cooking spice.
The secret feature of the quality of Zafferano di Sardegna DOP lies in the production process, which follows ancient rules, which envisage the use of animal labor for te land and the collective efforto of the whole community, particularly women.
The guidelines call for a natural cultivation, without weed killers, fertilizers or irrigation: it is picked by hand in the early morning, as soon as the flowers bloom; in the same day takes place the ultra delicate process of separation of the stigma, which are lightly greased with olive oil and put to dry.
The healing properties once attributed to this spice are no longer considered effective by modern medicine: it undoubtedly helps digestion and has antioxidant powers due to the presence of carotenoids, but it should be used sparingly because it can be toxic in large quantities.
In fact, it is carefully used, adding an unmistakable taste to many traditional recipes: fregula (Sardina's version of cous cous), malloreddus, beef or sheep stock, pardulas (ricotta or cheese baked dumplings), and fried food for the Carnival festivities.