Saffron cultivation in Lombardy

Saffron is an incredibly precious and valuable spice, well-known for its vivid yellow colour and highly aromatic taste. It is widely used in many traditional dishes of Lombardy, such as the delicious “risotto alla Milanese”, but it’s so versatile that it can be found even in desserts, beers and liquors.

Saffron comes from a beautiful, very delicate plant named crocus sativus. Its stigmas (ends of the flower) give an unmistakable flavour and aroma to our food. Three flowers grow from every bulb and are hand-picked to preserve their extremely delicate stigmas.

Saffron crocus thrives in Mediterranean climates, characterised by average rainfall in winter but very dry weather in summer, and prefers low-density, well-drained soils. But growing saffron isn’t easy: these delicate flowers need to be hand-picked not to ruin their precious stigmas and the harvest can be done just once a year, usually in October.

Despite the close bond between saffron and Lombardy and this region’s ideal climate, the spice has not been cultivated in this area for a long time. Finally, a group of new producers chose to relaunch such a precious and unique product. The new saffron fields promote the region’s biodiversity and sustainable land management, as as well as being a great development opportunity for passionate and hard-working people.

Among the successful businesses that chose this path are Azienda Agricola Collina D’Oro, with its product Zafferano a Como (Saffron from Como) and Zafferano Padano, a family-run business that produces high quality saffron since 2010 without using herbicides. Mention must be also made of Zaffiorano, first-class saffron grown in Concorezzo with care and dedication, and Zafferanami, a business based in the Grugnotorto park, which started from a passion for gardening and ended up producing delicious saffron threads, ready to delight our palate with their unbeatable flavour.

Saffron cultivation in Lombardy – Growing saffron in Como: the birth of the “Red Gold”