Saffron between myth and reality
Those who have the lucky chance to get to know Zaffera ™ and its owner Mirella Di Gangi, cannot fail to be attracted by the intimate connection and the inner dialogue that she maintains with her land, while cultivating the saffron.
It is a fascinating bond and the words, in their deep meaning, interpenetrate her work, in the commitment with which she becomes the custodian of an ancient knowledge.
It is a story of deep passion: the wise, long, patient times of cultivation are harmoniously intertwined with the motion and the care that characterizes the work.
It is in the classic myth that saffron has its roots, in its bond with burning passion, as Homer narrates, a fire that conquers all resistance, every memory of past loves. A union such that Zeus, ensnared, must hide from human and divine eyes with a miraculous bloom of saffron flowers.
Still in the myth, in the story of Croco and Smilace, the birth of saffron originates, the purpose of love.
This mystical symbolism makes it an emblem of passionate and conjugal love.
For us today is a symbol of carefree youth and first love.
Saffron has autumnal privacy: an echo of Mirella’s privacy. Autumn in bloom, completion of the life cycle; autumn as the gifts of the Dionysian myth of the rebirth and just like her being “born twice” in her personal human and professional life.
Why Zaffera ™
From the deep passion of Mirella for the soil, the Zaffera ™ company was born in 2012: Mirella, after seeing a television report about the saffron of Sardinia, raptured by the colors and properties of the spice, decides to embark on a new adventure, a new challenge, a second birth.
Although Mirella has been carrying out another professional path for over thirty years in a precise and meticulous way, she begins to devote all possible resources to the cultivation of saffron, cutting out precious moments from her life-work balance to follow step by step the saffron route: cultivation will enrich his life, a life already intense and full of many passions and commitments, an existence that will make saffron more “simple” and more harmonious. Saffron thus becomes for her “flower of happiness” and Zaffera ™ is the perfect synthesis of the female flair, disheveled and passionate about Mirella.
It starts with a first plant of 12,000 bulbs on a ground of about 2,000 meters squares, purchased by Mirella’s parents, both elementary school teachers, upon their arrival in the city from Barbagia, who, because of their passion, let themselves be involved by the charm of the land and by their ability to communicate their love for their origins. Despite the initial skepticism of those who sold the first bulbs, purchased in the area of Samassi and San Gavino Monreale, the areas of greatest production in Sardinia and in the entire peninsula, Mirella found valuable guidance and support in two young and very kind saffron growers , originating in a town near Alghero.
After two months the first flowers arrived with the production of the first 100 grams of spice, production which, after 4 years of activity, reached 400 grams. Today, cultivation has been expanded with the planting of new bulbs on a plot of approximately 2000 square meters with a significant increase in the finished product. To crown all the efforts used, the results of the first chemical analysis carried out at the chemical laboratory of Sardinia arrived: the parameters now make the Zaffera ™ brand production compliant with the 1st category. In fact, to be marketed and used in the food sector, saffron must have well-defined chemical parameters that make the spice a prized and top quality product.
Saffron appears to our eyes as an enchanting flower with delicate and soft colors where the red of the stigmas reaches the heart directly.
It has innumerable properties, in addition to the unmistakable color and flavor, the beneficial effects have long been recognized in folk and Ayurvedic medicine.
ANTIDEPRESSANT / MOOD STIMULANT
STIMULATING FOR THE MIND
RICH IN BETA CAROTENE
Since the beginning of the activity, a multi-year cultivation has been chosen.
A totally organic method is used, pending certification.
With the first autumn rains, generally between October and November, flowers are collected. The collection is concentrated within a maximum of one month and the flowers are collected early in the morning as they bloom.
Then we move on to the laborious and wise work of selecting the stigmas, which is the most demanding phase.
From sowing to flowering, to the collection and subsequent “husking” of flowers, moments of social aggregation are intertwined, relationships are woven and old and new relationships are consolidated.
Present and future
The end result of Zaffera ™’s characteristic passion is the marketing of stigmas and bulbs.
Great care is taken in the packaging of the final product, saffron in stigmas, which is placed on the market in packs of 0.25 grams, 0.5 grams and 1 gram.
Customizable favors containing saffron are made on request.
In addition to the sale of saffron, the company has for some time started to prepare handmade desserts, through the use of the precious and refined spice.
In the kitchen, Zaffera ™ suggests the use of its precious gold from appetizers to desserts: excellent in vegetable soups and spoon desserts, but also excellent with fish-based first courses and stewed meats.
A recognized specialty of the Zaffera ™ production is the “Nectar of Morpheus”: herbal tea based on a mixture of saffron and honey that maintains all the properties of the spice unaltered.
The production of an aromatic liqueur is currently being tested.