MONTEFIORINO SAFFRON’S

Mountain saffron in Montefiorino (Modena)

Saffron is a spice that is sometimes difficult to cultivate, but the satisfaction it gives once it is ready is worth all the hard work it requires. This is what emerges from the words of Michela Manfredini, who manages the Azienda Agricola Manfredini in Montefiorino. A municipality in the province of Modena, where it seems as if we are in the pages of a fantasy book, or in the frames of a nature documentary. The scenery is just that, a natural landscape of indescribable beauty, set between the peaks of Monte Cimone and Monte Cusna.

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It all started a bit by chance and a bit as a joke. After the death of her grandfather, Michela, walking in her woods, saw some Crocus. These flowers, very similar in appearance to saffron, share very few of its properties. But they were enough to give her an idea: to rediscover and cultivate local saffron. 

“But they were enough to give her an idea: to rediscover and cultivate local saffron. “

Tradition, as she herself passionately recounts, has provided for the strong presence of this spice since the past. Each sharecropper usually allocated part of his land to the cultivation of saffron, which was then given to the nobility as a gift for festivities such as Christmas. During the Middle Ages it was also a very important currency. So why abandon a product that has marked the history of this area? The Manfredini farm has decided to bring saffron from the Modena area back into vogue, making its history and virtues known, thanks also to dedicated information days and cooking courses.

So why abandon a product that has marked the history of this area?”

Beyond the classic culinary associations, saffron is perfect for many other preparations. This is demonstrated by the various products that the company makes, such as biscuits flavoured with the spice and white chocolate, or saffron jams and honey. A raw material of excellence, still processed according to traditional procedures. The transformation process is carried out completely by hand, where the phase of roasting over embers is still present. A process that has its origins in the past and that makes use of studies and techniques to guarantee the best results, using local woods with little tannin.

“This is demonstrated by the various products that the company makes, such as biscuits..”

The saffron business is very complicated, but Michela and Christian carry it out with commitment and passion. Starting from scratch, they have now managed to breathe new life into their grandfather’s company. The main product, saffron, is never pulverised in order to maintain its authenticity and guarantee its naturalness; it is recognisable thanks to the company’s characteristic wax mark. In the course of time, the production has been joined by compotes, honey and herbal teas, all made with strictly local raw materials and cultivated with respect for nature, which remains the true protagonist.

“Michela and Christian carry it out with commitment and passion”

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