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Archive for February, 2009

Already called THREADS OF GOLD, Saffron increased its price over the last 3-4 months over 100%. Spain, being one of the most important Saffron producers in the world has never seen anything like this before. As a main reason, farmers blame the bad harvest in 2008 and some sick crops.

Three weeks ago, we meet with our main supplier David Torregrosa from Chiquillin, Spain. Chiquillin celebrates this year its 100th anniversary as a well trusted Saffron company. Talking to David, I learned that they expect it to be the toughest year in company’s history. We discussed the previous and upcoming harvests and he is not very optimistic for 2009 regarding the price development.

This makes it almost impossible to import superior quality of Saffron, if the price tag is coming close to 200 USD per ounce. As long this situation goes on ask Solex for alternatives on quality levels! We will have the superior quality on PRE-ORDER ONLY.

Buying cheap saffron mix is like throwing money away – in most cases! That’s true, if you consider what cheap saffron is made of and what you pay for it. So how do you maximize the flavor of this costly pure Saffron?

Here is what the CIA published on this question:

“…San Román has been working with researchers at the local university to understand saffron’s performance in the kitchen and develop innovative ways to use it. “We discovered that saffron flavor, color and aroma increase with time,” says the chef, who dissolves saffron threads in warm (65°C/150°F) water—one gram of saffron per liter—and keeps the infusion warm for four hours for maximum extraction. The stigmas should be white at the end of the steeping time. “You shouldn’t see red,” says San Román, or the extraction has not been thorough enough. …

Toasting saffron before use heightens aroma. Put the threads on a piece of aluminum foil in a hot oven for just a few moments to revive it, then pound in a mortar or steep in warm liquid. Store unused saffron in a cool, dry place, away from light, and it will last for two years.”

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100% tariff on ham

It is confirmed: End of March 2009 new tariff regulations will put a 100% price increase on imported bone-in hams from Europe. This includes Serrano and Iberico ham from Spain. After the news of having to remove the black hoof of  Pata Negra, this is another set back for anybody that enjoys the culture of Jamon in the US.

Fermin Iberico de bellota at NoMI, Park Hyatt Chicago

Fermin Iberico de bellota at NoMI, Park Hyatt Chicago (Eva, Sous Chef Christian, Exec. Chef Christophe, Guillermo)

The news spread like a bushfire during the Fancy Food Show a few days ago. It caused higher blood pressure to many exhibitors and buyers. But only now it is really confirmed and we got to see the official document with the listing. In the meantime, we worked with our suppliers to get enough bone-in hams into the country that helps us to guarantee the current price level at least for the next 9 months. Hopefully by then, there might be some revision of the regulation.

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