Hiking on the island, you are always looking for the spectacular vista. But it’s also worth discovering the little things along the way. Like the delicate saffron flowers that sprout from the barren ground in the most unexpected places at this time of the year. In bright purple or, more rarely, brillant white the saffron on Mallorca makes its way through the crevices of the rocks in the coastal and mountainous regions of the island.
The treasured spice is not only tasty and famous for coloring cake or rice dishes. In ancient times it was also used to color textiles. Saffron even has numerous health benefits. The gold spice is rich in antioxidants. It is said to lower blood pressure and to promote a restful sleep.
Since the tiny plant loves sunny, sheltered places and limestone soil a few local enterprises like Especias Crespí cultivate azafrán on Mallorca. In October or November, saffron blooms for a few days. But the blossoming starts only after the first cold nights of autumn. The beautiful little flowers thus harbingers of the coming winter.
The blossoms are then picked and the three pistils removed. In the end, only the beautiful red parts of the pistils are used for the precious spice. It takes about 150 flowers to make a single gram, explains Coloma Crespí, owner of Especias Crespí. All the work has to be done manually. No wonder saffron still is one of the most expensive spices in the world. And a perfect souvenir, whether as a foto taken on your Tramuntana hike or a gram of golden spice from the market hall.