Saffron is a spice derived from the stigmas of the “ Crocus Sativus” commonly known as “Saffron Crocus”, which belongs to the Iridaceae family. The plant of Saffron Crocus grows up to 20-30 cm. and bears up to 4 flowers each with three vivid crimson stigmas. The stigmas (or threads) are collected and dried to be used by the food industry and in cuisine as a spice and/or coloring agent. Saffron, considered to be among the most valuable and expensive spice in the world, has origin in Southwest Asia.
Today the largest producer of saffron is Iran with around 97% of the worldwide production. The remaining 3% is cultivated in Spain, Morocco Italy and Greece.
One of the most typical use of saffron in the Italian cuisine is in Milanese risotto or “ yellow risotto”.
The Crocus Sativus thrives in the Mediterranean maquis and in similar climates like the Californian chaparral and Chilean matorral where the hot and dry summer breeze sweeps semi-arid lands. But it can also survive cold winters, tolerating temperatures as low as –10 °C and short periods of snow cover. Irrigation is requiered if it grows outside of moist enviroments such as Kashmir, where annual average rainfalls are 1,000 – 1,500 mm. ; the cultivating regions in Spain ( 400 mm. annually) and Greece ( 500 mm. annually ) are far drier than the main cultivating regions in Iran. This is made possible by the timing of the local wet season: generous spring rains and drier summers represent the optimal climate. Rains immediately preceding flowering, increase saffron crops, while a cold or rainy weather during flowering promotes instead diseases and reduces yields. Persistent damp and conditions of intense heat damage the crops.
The production chain is followed from the harvesting on the mountains of the fresh mushrooms to the finished product, that’s why Giacomini is able to supply custom made products to the most demanding clients.
Our dried mushrooms are picked, inspected, selected, cut , dried and checked through a metal detector by highly specialized operators.
These fragrant fruits of the woods are available in a wide range of classifications. In addition to classic Porcini, we offer other kinds of dried mushrooms such as : Chanterelles, Morels, Fairy Ring or Scotch Bonnet mushrooms, Craterellus Cornucopioides commonly known as Horn of Plenty or Black Chanterelle, Amanita Caesarea commonly known as Caesar’s Mushrooms, Lactarius or Milk-caps, Saint George’s mushrooms, Hyndums, Shiitakes and Pleurotus.
Each of these mushrooms has specific characteristics with respect to flavour and diverse nutritional values, adapting to different uses and meeting the most diverse needs of shopping.
Learning to know their differences can have a great surprise in store for us.
Besides they can be stored for long periods keeping intact their various organoleptic properties.
At the time of use they can be reconstituted soaking them in warm water for about 15/20 minutes.
The King of Mushrooms is definitely the Boletus Edulis most commonly known as Porcini mushroom. It is the most consumed mushroom in the world.
Second most known mushroom is an Asian product, the Shiitake mushroom (Lentinula edodes) whose characteristics make it the worst enemy of viral and bacterical agents : it contains in fact Lentinan, a carbohydrate that activates the white blood cells, designated by nature to identify and eliminate all the potentially harmful elements in our organism.
Not only that but it’s also a probiotic, it lowers cholesterol and protects the liver, it fights dental decay and atherosclerosis.
In conclusion even the least known species of mushrooms are an excellent variation for the most diverse dishes.