According to the Telegraph, Saudi Arabia is the country with the greatest market share by a country (roughly 9%).
But can you really buy this saffron out of the country? This country’s exports go all the way to Africa (or to the Caribbean), not to Europe. And even there, it’s all about “black gold” – or whatever market they choose to set up. You can go for a “black gold saffron”, but how black is black gold?
The price of saffron comes down to a fraction of a percent. It’s only a hundredth of a gram, a tenth of a percentage point of a molecule, but it looks pretty black. When it was first produced in India and Egypt, a kilogramme of saffron weighed in at a whopping 12 million Euros. Now it comes in at 2.5 kg. That’s a drop of 1.5% and a very small drop at that.
Saffron and saffron products are widely used in Asian cuisines. It’s a wonderful spice and used to flavour a lot of Indian cuisine, most notably in curries and in curries that are served at every Indian dinner table. Saffron can also be boiled down into a syrup and used in some Indian sauces.
On the other hand, I’ve never met anyone who actually drinks the stuff. Even though it’s not illegal, it shouldn’t be taken as such as it’s an unmedicated drug at this stage, and we shouldn’t be drinking anything in your system that isn’t something you’d ingest from your diet anyway. Saffron is also used to add colour to wines, so I wouldn’t expect a wine or beverage to include either the saffron or the saffron-scented ingredients.
While saffron-derived products may have all the ingredients and taste of saffron, they don’t contain any of the harmful components of the spice.
Saffron is one of many spices that you may consider buying if you want a bit of kick, or to make an aromatic salad, or to keep in the house for a couple of days between cooking, or to add some color to cooked dishes.
It won’t give you any heartburn if you’ve just eaten a slice of toast or toast with a bit of jam or jam with cream. You won’t feel the need to take it out of the fridge or the cupboard. But if you’re