History of Safran du Gâtinais
Origin of Safran du Gâtinais
Saffron, Crocus Sativus, has been known and grown as a spice since earliest Antiquity. It was probably brought to the Gâtinais by the Crusaders who discovered its powerful flavour in Asia Minor. At the time, it was produced throughout Persia, Kashmir and Macedonia.
At the same time, Arabs introduced saffron in Spain where it was grown in Valencia and Alicante provinces. Along the commercial routes with Northern Europe, the first corms were brought by Sir Porchaire to his land in Boynes. He made such a success out of the enterprise that the king Louis XIV made this cultivation in Gâtinais official through an edict.
Safran du Gâtinais soon obtained international fame, and for the next two centuries, the market in Pithiviers dictated the saffron's price throughout the world. In 1789, records show that Gâtinais produced 30 000 kg of saffron. In 1869, 10 000 kg was still being produced…
If you have the opportunity, don't forget to visit the Saffron's museum in Boynes in Gâtinais (Loiret - FRANCE).
It seems hard to believe that a crop that you could count in tons could have completely disappeared at the beginning of the twentieth century!
The revival of safran du Gâtinais
This rich heritage deserved to be developed. For several years, a few farmers decided to diversify their production to relaunching the growing of saffron. That is how Thierry Dupré, in Echilleuses, organic saffron producer, came to offer organic products commercialised under the label the Safran du Gâtinais (Trademark).