Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Scent of Saffron

Zafferano (or saffron) is a spice that comes from the stamen of the crocus flower; it takes a lot of flowers to make that bit of saffron that you buy in the spice shop and that’s why it is so expensive.

I have had saffron from Spain, Morroco, and France, but never from Italy, so last night my friend Anne and I drove over the river and through the woods to Citta della Pieve a Renaissance town 5km from the Tuscan border with Umbria.

The aroma of saffron permeated the town when we arrived.  This festival celebrates the harvest, not only the saffron harvest, but there was new olive oil to try and honey to taste, as well as salamis, and new vintage wines.   We took a stroll through the exhibits with different local producers sharing their wares.
Proud of his harvest

Our host Alessandro

Stefano and his wares

Beauty products with saffron

Still sorting 
Truffle hunter with fresh white truffles 

My favorite shot of the night!

There was a cooking demo going on when we arrived, and then tasting samples were handed out.
 Alessandro is the president of the consortium here in Citta della Pieve, and a gracious host. 
It was a gorgeous night, and we took a stroll through the town.  

We stopped at this door;

once we opened it, this is what we saw.  
Perugino's masterpiece

This gentleman was the docent, belonging to the order that uses this part of the church.

The town has a communal dinner, and so we stayed to take part --- again, the only gringos in the place, aside from Sally and Tom from Maui who we’d met in Spello a few days before, and ironically were at the same table with us.  

Food was typical of Umbria, and filled with the flavor of saffron…..molto buono!  My food shots were a bit blurry, so I'll just tell you that it was delicious!

With an hours' drive home, we left early before the real entertainment started, but it was a lovely night in Citta della Pieve.  Last night was also the night that they change the clocks for daylight savings---I will not be happy when it's dark at 5 p.m. tonight.  Wishing you a buona notte from Italy. 

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