It’s been 5 years since Kasbah Tamadot joined forces with the Tiwizi Association to sponsor the set-up and maintenance of a saffron farm in the Atlas Mountains which is now a roaring success.
The Tiwizi Association was created to help the local Berber community in Asni through a range of projects from offering alphabet courses to running the saffron scheme to provide an income for families. Without the incredibly hard work the locals do on the farm we wouldn’t be able to offer our guests a taste of local saffron!
With temperatures soaring in summer and cooling down in the winter season Morocco is the perfect climate for growing saffron crocuses - making it one of the world’s largest producers of the ‘Red Gold’. Saffron is known as this because it’s the most expensive and delicate spice in the world.
Harvesting begins in September and lasts until early November. Harvesters are up at the crack of dawn to pick as many purple saffron crocuses as possible before the three crimson stigmas at the centre of the flower are exposed to too much sunlight, which affects the quality of the spice.
Popular with chefs globally, saffron has a unique flavour and aroma. Kasbah Tamadot’s very own Head Chef Yassine Khalal, who was chosen to represent Morocco at the Embassy Chef Challenge in Washington this year (and came 2nd!), creates a saffron tasting menu each year which has become a firm favourite amongst guests. He says that “the smallest amount of saffron can add so much flavour to an entire recipe, plus it has the added health benefits of being an antioxidant too!”
Last harvest an incredible 3kg of saffron was collected and together with the local community we hope to collect even more this year. Guests staying at Kasbah Tamadot during these months are always welcome to participate in the harvest and enjoy the fruits of their labour with the saffron tasting menu.
Saffron harvest process
- Pick the saffron crocuses (to get 1 gram of saffron requires 200 saffron crocuses!)
- Carefully remove the three tiny crimson stigmas at the centre
- Dry the stigmas (drying for 20 minutes will produce a sweet flavour, whilst anything longer will create a more intense flavour)
- Leave as is, or crush into a fine powder depending on the dish you are preparing.