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Swiss Saffron Harvest

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Yesterday I woke up at 6 AM to drive to Venthône in my beloved Swiss canton of Valais, and meet up with France & Bernard to take part in my first ever saffron harvest.

Saffron is one of my favorite spices and I use it often but in small quantities. Yesterday, I understood why saffron is more expensive than gold. Please forgive the new watermark, but I'm tired of finding my pictures in newspapers with a "No copyright" mention underneath.

Saffron has been grown in Switzerland since the 16th century, first in Berne, then in Valais, the gorgeously sunny mountain canton where the Rhone is born. The few people have heard about Swiss saffron think 'Mund', a germanic village up the valley, but in fact my guest Bernard has located a deed for the sale of a saffranerie dating from the 17th century. Susanna Curto, an ancestor of Michelin-starred chef Didier de Courten, also from the village, sold her saffranerie to one of Bernard's ancestors, Laude voluntate et consensu of her husband Anthony Decabulo.

Saffron is, in essence, the cockpit of Crocus Sativus, a flower that can be grown in most places that are not water clogged. You dig a hole in the summer, plant little bulbs, then wait until late October. But one flower yield only three minuscule filament of saffron, and you need more than that even for only a child's dinner. So Bernard dug up tens of thousands of holes in three plots of lands near the castle where he lives, and, come October, he watches the barren ground every morning.

One morning there is nothing, then the next you have literally 2000 flowers. Better be ready to harvest, explains Bernard's girlfriend France. And this goes on for 3 weeks. With three little fields, the total yield is about 2 ounces (70 grams) of the finest saffron money can buy. And in fact, money cannot buy it, as they use it for family and friends. The only business that gets some is Restaurant de Courten where our common friend Didier buys half their production in exchange for a fine gourmet meal.



That's it - saffron, straight from the flower's mouth. I know it sounds rather hard to pull out the entire flower just to retrieve three tiny filaments, but we're in it for the food and the flower is in it for sex and reproduction. It is a square deal.

Only the dark orange triple filament is used, as well as any of the large grains of pollens you can find.

After an hour, we fill a basket with saffron flowers.

Inside the castle, France patiently pulls the bright red filament from each of the 2626 flowers we harvested that day.

This is the saffran that has been collected this year so far.

After lunch at Didier de Courten in Sierre, a restaurant that uses this very saffron, I go back up to see if the flowers have opened up. They did, and I start taking some pictures with my Nikkor 60mm, a lens I want to be buried with.

Suddenly, I catch orange-handed a saffron thief.

But who is a better saffron judge - Bernard who grows them, or bees who sample millions of flowers during their lives?



  • #1
  • Comment by mads
I love safran, and it so good to read another post from you!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks!

  • #3
  • Comment by Nikki
It's so good to see you back here! - You've been missed. :)  

Sorry to hear of your troubles with the pictures, though... Even with the watermark, they still look typically FX-tastic. :D
  • FX's answer→ Sorry about the very slow posting this year but I took very few pictures, most of my work in 2009 was video and not for the web!

  • #5
  • Comment by Jay Rosenberg
Saffron!  We adore it; use in risotto.  When your email arrive in my busy inbox, it's your email that I open first.  Thanks for staying in touch.
Jay in New York
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Jay, I hope to send more such emails in the future!

Thanks for sharing and glad to see that you are back! I love that picture with the bee...


  • FX's answer→ Too bad I could not film the bee! The huge pod of yellow polen on the tighs was really intriguing.

  • #9
  • Comment by Vicki
Good to see you back! And yes, that lens is amazing, I love the bee's wings in the 2nd bee shot.
  • FX's answer→ Yes it's a really cool lens, you can get right up to 9 cm from the subject, and it is a relatively cheap lens. If you change the numbers in the bee pictures you can see a couple more. I got good pictures with the video camera too.

  • #11
  • Comment by J Krol
Sooo glad to see your next update ! What about showing us zurcher geschneltzeltes , the real and right way ? I loved this dish in Switzerland and can make it myself, yet not as good as in Switzerland and wonder what I do wrong....
  • FX's answer→ J, you need kidney and veal, then some lemon juice and white wine to control acidity. I don't care much for kidneys, if you look them up in an anatomy book you see what goes through them and lose appetite.

  • #13
  • Comment by Wanlin ZHAO
Hi! I always loved reading your posts! i love cooking and life too! hope to read to soon. Thanks!

Wanlin - Chinese girl work in the wine in Bordeaux.
  • FX's answer→ Wanlin, I love the same plus saffron!

Your photos put the gathering of saffron in perspective!  Such a tedious task for what seems like little reward but it's a good thing a small bit of saffron packs a punch.  I've never balked at the price since the first time I used saffron.  Thanks for sharing!  
  • FX's answer→ Chiffonade, it does look tedious but it isn't, France and Bernard are never, ever short of friends willing to do this incredible harvest. Removing the pistils is a breeze if the flowers are fresh. This is a fantastic experience! People would pay to do it.

  • #17
  • Comment by Helena
Glad to see you are back on the blog. :)

Thanks for sharing. It made me realise how many of the books on spices out there don't really provide that much historical context / gorgeous pictures.
  • FX's answer→ Well if you want to make picture of spices at the opportune time, that calls for research, planning and quite a bit of time. I had to call France, the saffron lady, a good 8 times until we could find a day with flowers, sun and a hole in the planner. Imagine trying to do that for the pepper or cardamom harvest half way across the world!

  • FX's answer→ Thanks Milo!

  • #21
  • Comment by Paul Tippett
It was so lovely to have an email from you, I haven't had one for a long long time.  I love saffron.  In the West Country of England, saffron is used to make sweet doughy buns and cakes .. my father was Cornish and my favourite childhood cake was saffron cake!  I couldn't have enough of it.  Also in the middle ages, saffron was grown in England at the town that is (still) called Saffron Walden. Unfortunately it is no longer produced in this country.  All the best, Paul.
  • FX's answer→ Paul, if you have a garden that is not water clogged, you can definitey grow saffron in England too, it is not a very demanding flower. Bulbs aren't cheap though, but once you've planted them, that's it, all you need to do is mow the lawn and pick up the saffron!

(sorry, pressed the button too fast in the previous comment...)

amazing! all my life I thought saffron grows in dry and warm places. I'm so wrong. What do people do with the flowers when the saffron has taken out from them?
  • FX's answer→ Milo, the flowers are very fragile and after less than 6 hours they are all wilted. Since saffron flowers don't have stems, you can't really place them in a vase. The only thing not ephemeral is those miraculous filaments!

  • #25
  • Comment by Jason
Thank you FX (it's nice to say that again) and you don't have to apologize for the watermarks. The photos are your property and you should protect them from thieves.
  • FX's answer→ Saffron thieves are OK but the other I found two of my pictures in a newspaper, quite a surprise that was!

  • #27
  • Comment by Miss Otis
It makes me so happy when you find time to post on any subject. Thanks for your curiosity, attention to detail, fine photos and excellent palate. You are such a good guy!

Miss O.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks miss Otis!

  • #29
  • Comment by Lisa
Wonderful article, and your photos are completely stunning! Thanks for sharing your delightful and insightful culinary adventures with us....
  • FX's answer→ Thanks, glad you like the pictures. Had to push up the ISO a bit inside but the natural light was really flattering for the subject. Too bad I could not film the bee though!

  • #31
  • Comment by Ana G. Csiky
Saffron is such an amazing ingredient. Delicious in risotto, key to a great paella and so pleasant in Kashmere tea. An Indian friend taught me to simply put cinammon bark, cardamon pod or two and a little saffron to make amazing tea. Its the most soothing beverage for a cold day.

Great to have a new post from you! Looking forward to the next one!
  • FX's answer→ Yes saffron can be used in so many ways, I'll try the saffron tea for sure!

  • #33
  • Comment by Bianca Peccioli
Absolutely wonderful ... gorgeous pics and mouth watering at the end of the article
  • FX's answer→ Yes indeed, I am working on how to use this saffron now!

  • #35
  • Comment by Nan
Bonjour FX!  Loved the photos, and I know and love my photos.  Love the saffron, and I know and love my saffron.  I understand the watermark -- hate them but have to use them as well.  This post inspires me to plant bulbs this fall. Perhaps I should start a saffron and truffle farm... Glad to see you back on the net!


  • FX's answer→ Ah, saffron and truffle, I'll come and harvest for you next year ...

  • #37
  • Comment by Jo
How nice to see your lovely photos!  I was given six saffron bulbs from France last year. They bloomed last October and I replanted them this summer along with their babies, but so far (end october) there are little green shoots but no flowers yet.  Maybe our summer wasn't quite hot enough this year.  best wishes, Jo
  • FX's answer→ Ah Jo don't give up, these babies like to creep up when you least except them. One day, nothing, and the next morning your garden is swarming with blue flowers.

I too was delighted to receive your email FX. I planted a few crocus bulbs (Crocus Sativus) last year with hopes of harvesting my first crop this year. I read somewhere, that many moons ago, saffron bulbs grew harmoniously in the fields of Pennsylvania. I thought I would give it a try. To my chagrin, when I returned in the spring, the bulbs had all been dug up:( Neighbors tell me they were most likely "enjoyed" by the likes of "Pennsylvania Phil"  and his other notorious ground hog friends. I will try again when I am there permanently.

I knew it was a laborious task however, I had no idea the harvest was so minimal. I better plant a whole lot more!!! Thank you so much for sharing these glorious pictures (their so pretty you don't even notice the watermark:) and your adventure with us. It was truly a pleasure to join you. Louise
  • FX's answer→ Louise, I think Bernard planted several tens of thousands of bulbs. Really! And he too has problems with venison on legs (is it called a stag perhaps?) that really enjoy his saffron. But it's all worth it, the harvest is such a princely treat.

  • #41
  • Comment by Jenny McCullough
Your photos are very beautiful and make me want to go there immediately! I love the one of the house with the steeple and the mountain behind.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Jenny, in fact I took quite a bunch of other such pictures of the castle with mountains and surrounding, and another castle on a hilltop just below, but with the photo camera I had a fixed 60mm lens on and with the crop factor couldn't get but a small slice of landscape for you to look at. It's much more grand with a wide lens!

What an experience! Your pictures are magnificent. Crocuses do quite well in our garden, so I really want to see if we can grow saffron crocuses! I made some saffron buns yesterday - the fragrance and colour are just so lovely.
  • FX's answer→ Foodycat, be really prudent with the other crocuses as some of them look a lot like Crocus Sativa but can kill a horse. If you can get your hands on Saffron bulbs they should thrive in your garden but just keep them on their own patch of grass so as never to mistake them with any of their toxic brethren!

  • #45
  • Comment by s.p.marcus
  • FX's answer→ Thanks a lot Marcus!

  • #47
  • Comment by donsiranni
Beautiful post,I wouldn't care if you used your picture for a water mark,just try to keep them coming.I know it's a good lens but still try to stay on top of the ground.

  • FX's answer→ Eventually they'll come, either by way of this blog or through a different route! I am trying to go film an old man who is making absolutely stunning dried Valaisian meats for his own use. This goes on in November, the only month when air drying is possible without rotting or freezing in our parts.

  • #49
  • Comment by Donna Young
FX, SO glad you are back! I this was so fascinating, I hope you'll add some of your wonderful recipes as a sequel to this post. It is such a shame you have to watermark your beautiful photos, alas... anyway, could you "ghost" the watermark just slightly, to keep a little more of the photo integrity?
Warmest regards,
  • FX's answer→ Yes I need to investigate some other utility for the watermarking, this was done with the same piece of software as the former large watermark bottom right. There is one Swiss recipe using saffron which I need to cook for the video so I'll try to post it here as well then!

  • #51
  • Comment by Frank
Thanks for taking us along with you!  Wonderful photography as usual!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Frank!

  • #53
  • Comment by Kelly
where have you been?
What a delight to read your post!

No wonder saffron is so dear! I had heard about the harvest before, but your article really puts it in perspective. I found relatively cheap saffron in Spain.

Glad you're back. Hope you are doing well, and have just been too busy with enjoyable moments to post!
Soon again, I hope.
  • FX's answer→ Kelly, I've been filming things like this all year, but unfortunately not been able to take many still pictures so far. The video equipment fills a whole car and just getting the stuff out is sometimes such a task that I had no chance of taking my photo cameras with me, and hence, no chance to share these adventures with you so far!

    Saffron requires a lot of work and is quite expensive, but you can achieve tremendous results with only two or three flowers' worth of threads, so in the end it all balances out.

  • #55
  • Comment by fumbling around
Beautiful pictures.  I wish I could drop everything, pick up a suitcase and move to Switzerland.  Bees here have had a hard way to go lately.  Bless the bees.
  • FX's answer→ Oh I absolutely love bees and certainly hope they can be saved from whatever is killing them by the zillion right now. Honey is such a fantastic product! I buy a few jars of Alpine honey every week, there is such diversity of taste and appearance depending on what pollen the bees gathered!

  • #57
  • Comment by LB
Excellent article, and good to have you back!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Lord Best!

  • #59
  • Comment by Bento
I live right in the heart of Sao Paulo, 13 million people in the urban/concrete/asphalt metropolitan area. My apartment is in the 8th floor, surrounded by higher buildings, blocking the view of the thousands more, spread all over.

The only possible way to harvest saffron around here is in the local markets. Besides, I think tropical climate is a bit too brutal for such a delicate flower.

So, when I see your pictures, and read your substantial desription of the harvest, I feel like I am in the Alps myself. I can smell the plants, I can feel the air. Wow!!

Well... most of the saffron we use at home comes from Spain. In our country cultural melting pot a significant part of our food was brought by the mediterranean immigrants. From all shores of that sea. All of them make good use of the saffron.

Thanks for such a nice post.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Bento for your kind words! Indeed escapism is one of the things I try to go for when writing these little articles, but I must say that a busy Sao Paulo market does seem equally exciting for one that lives in a quiet corner of the Swiss Alps like myself. Diversity is what the human mind and palate strive for!

  • #61
  • Comment by Colin
FX so glad to see you back on-line! Your pictures are stunning, as usual. You mentioned much of your work in 2009 was video and not for web, is there any way your fans get see them? I have missed my FX fix, like many here!
  • FX's answer→ Colin, the video will be visible next year only and I shall of course be glad to announce where and when right here!

  • #63
  • Comment by agus
glad to see you fx , still await for  the next  awesome cuisine , genuine article and  the stunning photo .
  • FX's answer→ Thanks, I need to take some pictures of actual food now!

  • #65
  • Comment by chef4cook
Thanks again for a great pictorial into your world!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks! This was only the first 3 hours of the day, the rest was also quite interesting, my video camera was allowed in the kitchen of a two Michelin star restaurant during the busiest service of the week, very impressive!

  • #67
  • Comment by Margaret
Thanks so much for this post! A few years ago, I grew some crocus sativus and harvested the threads. Sadly, they did not come back the next year. Squirrels might have gotten the bulbs. I used the threads in egg breads, sauces, all kinds of things. A tiny bit goes a long way, happily. My favorite use was in a marinade and glaze for chicken. Orange juice, garlic, salt, pepper, a little white wine and saffron. The result was glorious. I wonder if they will grow in flower boxes? (Easier to defend from the wildlife.)
  • FX's answer→ Margaret, the wildlife where you live seems to have gourmet tastes. Have you thought of some wire netting over your precious saffron bulbs?
    As for using saffron in cooking, I only put my saffron in 5 minutes before serving, otherwise  what remains is the color, but the taste is boiled off to la-la land...

  • #69
  • Comment by kurzhaar
Hallo FX, such a pleasure to see a new post.  And what a happy bee!  I wonder if there is such a thing as saffron honey?
  • FX's answer→ My thought exactly! But to get pure saffron honey you would need to prevent the bees from getting near any other flower than Crocus Sativa, and these flowers only show up for about 3 weeks. Certainly that must exist in Persia, Spain or Morrocco where they have huge saffron cultures.

  • #71
  • Comment by FX bis
My whole nasopharynx just spasmed with the thought of that trip. How wonderful. Et mon vieux, tu nous manques, alors!
  • FX's answer→ Indeed, the smell of that saffron drying really is aphrodisiac!

  • #73
  • Comment by peter
Thank you for the new post - I have missed you.  Spanish saffron I know - but Swiss?  Wonderful!
  • FX's answer→ Indeed Peter, when I phoned up the Valaisian village of Mund two years ago researching this subject, I asked if I could buy some of their saffron. The lady said, "Ach but we don't export you see". I said that I was a Swiss like her, to which she replied "But we don't export outside the village". The quantities are just too small!

  • #75
  • Comment by Christine
Wonderful to see you again and with a fascinating post as usual! The bee's wings in motion is a lovely image.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Christine, these are things that are really difficult to capture with a video camera since the depth of field is so small and the subject moving all the time. So one point for photography on this one!

  • #77
  • Comment by Fasulye (HTLAL-Forum)
Thank-you for this excellent photo-documentation about the saffron flowers and their harvesting. This is very interesting as background knowledge when you read in cooking books about certain spices. At my market and supermarkets I have never seen fresh saffron offered there. Already as a packed spice I find it quite expensive. Fasulye
  • FX's answer→ Brigitte, I don't recommend saffron if you cook on a budget, there are many other fine ingredients that are very affordable and more tolerant to inevitable beginner mistakes!

Excellent information and dynamic still photographs. I'm inspired to search for crocus sativa bulbs which I suspect will thrive in our Upstate New York climate. Thank you for your educational answers to the comments - those were helpful indeed. KelliSue
  • FX's answer→ Yes a friend in Geneva, Swiss rain capital, just called me to say she harvested 2 flowers of saffron. Small but very exciting!

  • #81
  • Comment by Vimal
Happy to read your new article. More happy to know you are back... !!!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks a lot Vimal!

  • #83
  • Comment by Tommy
I enjoyed the article.  Your website is fantastic too.  I lived in Switzerland as a young man and had no idea about saffron being grown there. I love Italian food and have appreciated your recipes.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Tommy, indeed Swiss saffron is not widely known, quantities are just too small!

  • #85
  • Comment by JD
Thank god you are back! Love the pictures, is there anyway you can make the watermark, well more like a watermark instead of this big white blob in the middle. I understand why you are doing it, I hope the next ones can be more opaque and maybe in the bottom right hand corner or something less obtrusive as it kills the photo.

Great job, welcome back.
  • FX's answer→ Less opaque would be more transparent and less obstrusive. Let's not kill the photos!

  • #87
  • Comment by Timothy
Hooray! It's great to see an update from you, FX. Amazing photos as always, though it's a shame about the watermark - of course, I understand why it is necessary. I knew saffron came from southeast Asia, but did not know that it can grow successfully elsewhere. Saffron has always seemed to impart a rather metallic taste to me - am I doing it wrong?
  • FX's answer→ Timothy, there is a lot about the chemical perception of taste that we don't understand. Namely, some of us are so called "super tasters" with regard to some molecules which most of the population don't perceive at all. If you want to be sure once and for all, take real saffron threads and infuse them in a little water, then taste it with a blindfold on, together with a few similar vials with plain water. Then have a few other people try. Then decide what it tastes like. Perhaps you found some bad saffron, perhaps it was cooked in a bad pot, perhaps your tongue perceives some unpleasant molecule in the saffron which most people don't. Find out.

So great to see you back! I love saffron and this gave me a much clearer understanding of why it is so costly. I was in Sri Lanka years ago and toured a spice farm. At the end, they presented spices for us to buy and held up a bag and said it was saffron. HAH, it was turmeric and the man was not pleased when I spoke up!
  • FX's answer→ The oldest trick in the book of spices I guess! Never, ever buy powdered saffron. Only threads will do.

  • #91
  • Comment by rose
it's so good to see you back, fx. i always thought saffron came from middle-east; until you showed us! it is very nice of your friend to share it with everybody and how they harvested the saffron.
  • FX's answer→ I did not leave with any saffron - did not dare to ask for some! Just harvesting was already a privilege...

  • #93
  • Comment by Patrick
That's wonderful!
  • FX's answer→ Thank you Patrick!

  • #95
  • Comment by narjis
Super! I agree 100% - you were missed -
  • FX's answer→ Thank you Narjis, I missed posting too!

  • #97
  • Comment by Judy
How nice to have you back; I wondered what had happened to you. Any praise I have for your work is redundent but here it is anyway--wonderful! In regard to growing crocus here in New England, we planted some bulbs around a tree stump and harvested threads a few times but had to leave it all behind when we sold our house and moved into a condo.  Maybe I could secrete a few bulbs here and there on these grounds, hmm. We were up against the squirrels and chipmunks but we won.
  • FX's answer→ Judy, if you ever go back to your old house, I will prepare an article about squirrel ragù so that you can preserve your saffron!

  • #99
  • Comment by Claudia
Wow.  Now THAT'S growing your own.  And your lens is a honey - impossibly gorgeous photos!
  • FX's answer→ Yes indeed, Bernard and France are very much hands-on in the saffron growing. castle, 17th century deed, tens of thousands of bulbs and go! My sort of guys.

  • #101
  • Comment by Kimberly
You are back!!!!  Need I say more?  Don't forget about us.  I so enjoy the photos and tours and recipes.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks for your patience Kimberly, I will try to post more regularly now.

  • #103
  • Comment by Vatsal
The return of FX! I was rather worried that FXCuisine had come to the end of its illustrious existence. But I am overjoyed to see this is not the case!

I had always been told how precious saffron is, but now I know that this really is the case. Many thanks!
  • FX's answer→ Ah, yes, things evolve and the next installment of FXcuisine should be satisfying for many more people I hope.

  • #105
  • Comment by lynn
Welcome back FX-- it's been so long I was getting worried about you!  Thanks for another amazing trip behind the scenes.  I wish I could grown saffron crocuses here near San Francisco, but our 'winters' are too warm.  We can barely grow hyacinths and daffodils without refrigerating the bulbs.
  • FX's answer→ Lynn I think you might be able to grow saffron in the mountains up near Yosemite. They grow it in Morroco, Spain and Iran, three countries with a climate not entirely dissimilar to perfect Bay Area weather!

  • #107
  • Comment by Abhijeet Mhatre
Was waiting for your update on FX for long and voila its there :) thanx for the wonderful article.

  • FX's answer→ Glad you liked it!

  • #109
  • Comment by thuan
all these trips you take;  all the things you observe, make, and eat... you really live with joie de vivre!

  • FX's answer→ Indeed this was a fine day for joie de vivre, wake up a 6, drive through gorgeous wineyards in autumn colors, arrive in a beautiful 17th century castle and have tea with the owner, then saffron harvest. Next stop at 11 was filming the kitchens of a 2 star gastronomic restaurant, then dine there, and back up to the castle to get the bees pictures. Finally the local wine museum, buy some cheese and grape juice (not fermented!) and back home. Pretty much a perfect day as things go on this earth!

I missed you and I just love your new post!
  • FX's answer→ Sorry it took me so long!

  • #113
  • Comment by Bruce of Oz
Greetings, FX!  You know, I'm sure I've eaten meals, at restaurants, that have contained saffron as part of an armory of flavourings, but I've never yet used it in my cooking, nor ever tasted in on its own.  I'm still not 100% sure what I'm missing-out on!   

Good saffron here in Australia is always ludicrously expensive, and as a result, attracts a great deal of brainless snob-value from self-proclaimed "connoisseurs". A pity, as their attitudes rather spoils its image!

Great to see you back on the screen!  The still photos are more than adequate, don't bother with the videos given that they entail so much work. Save your energies for hunting down, tasting, and still-life photographing, fabulous ingredients and food!
  • FX's answer→ Bruce, you absolutely need to get some saffron, this is one of the most fantastic spices there is and a minuscule amount goes a looooong way. Try it! But please, no powder, get filaments and leave the snobs to their babbling.

  • #115
  • Comment by meramarina
Oh, saffron! . . . I had a dream about it.  Saffron brioche, actually  . . .  and it was YOUR saffron brioche,  I think.  Somehow, I found myself in a kitchen that looked like yours, and was very distressed that I was obviously, inexplicably, in the wrong place. And thousands of knives, everywhere, made me feel no better--but there was this lovely saffron brioche, too, so I ate it.  

I don't think I even know what saffron tastes like.  I'll have to get myself the real thing.  Normally I don't break into anyone's kitchen to eat the food.  Sorry to say that after all your long hours of filming, picture-taking and writing,  it was just that one saffron brioche that lodged in my subconscious!  

I recently found a book, (flea market, one dollar!) Desserts by Pierre Hermé, which I wouldn't have known about without reading your work.  Fantastic!  After I read it, I dreamed about raiding his kitchen.

Glad to see you are back with the photo essays (and whatever else you have planned)!  
  • FX's answer→ Meramarina, you have made the purchase of the year with a Pierre Hermé book for only one dollar. Well done!
    I'll buy some saffron brioche tomorrow - you made me hungry now.

  • #117
  • Comment by Odi
Once again enjoy your outstanding work the photos are superb but then you are very good.  Carry on and thanks.
  • FX's answer→ Thank you Odi!

  • #119
  • Comment by Maryrose
Beautiful pictures FX, as always.  Thank you for sharing!

  • FX's answer→ Glad you liked it, Maryrose!

  • #121
  • Comment by Isaak
me parece un excelente artículo, siempre me había preguntado de donde proviene el azafrán (saffron en español) que fotos tan espléndidas! mil gracias. esta es la mejor pagina que existe. mil gracias
  • FX's answer→ Gracias Isaak, sabes que hay tambien muy bueno azafran en España!

Thank you so much for sharing this amazing saffron harvest with us! Fascinating photos, congratulations! I've seen the saffron harvest on TV once, on ARTE channel ("Zu Tisch in"... or "Cuisines des terroirs"), it was from Abruzzo, Italy. After the harvest, they prepared mouthwatering maltagliati and risotto alla Milanese. Mmmm!!

I don't buy saffron often because it's difficult to find it here where I live. So I tend to use safflower to spice up our Sunday paella... (It's not the same, I know!)

  • FX's answer→ Maya, you also have fantastic saffron in Spain! I love Cuisine des Terroirs on Arte, a very good reference for me.

  • #125
  • Comment by Torey
Delighted as always to read of your doings and findings. Ah -- now I understand why saffron is so expensive!
  • FX's answer→ Indeed, expensive it is, but one of the finest spice money can buy or the hand can harvest!

I have so missed you and posts and trips like these! Welcome back!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Cynthia, it took me two years since I initially planned to make an article on Swiss saffron, and am really glad how it turned out!
    Please let me take this opportunity to congratulate you on your photography, it is really getting more and more impressive!

  • #129
  • Comment by prabha
I love reading all your posts. Glad to see u back. The pictures are wonderful! Thanks for sharing it with us.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Prabha, I hope to keep them coming!

  • #131
  • Comment by Daniele
Another great photo session! maybe my favorite of all your pictures...it's really a shame you have to place that watermark right in middle of your great photos! maybe you can try to place it in a corner so we can fully enjoy those spectacular colors.
Thanks for posting.
Ciao, Daniele
  • FX's answer→ Yes I know but with the watermark in the bottom right corner people just cut it and used the picture. Can you believe it? In the newspaper I found two of them with the watermarked chopped off. So I'd rather post them with the ugly watermark than not post them at all.

  • #133
  • Comment by Gregory
Saffron is one of my favorite spices, expensive but a little goes a really long way.  Great post happy to see more updates, and I think you have discovered your talent as a wildlife photographer as well, haha.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Gregory, if you find mind edible wildlife I'll be glad to switch to National Geographic!

  • #135
  • Comment by Toby Esterhase
Hello François!  Interesting trip you've made there.

I've always been too lazy to investigate saffron and if it will grow in my climate.  Based on your desription I think it would grow just fine, and with the expense of it here in the middle of the US ($12USD for about 10 threads), waiting until fall is just fine. :)  I'm going to have to track down some bulbs.

As everyone else has said, nice to see a new post from you.  I hope for some holiday-themed posts, such as another visit to a castle for a roast.
  • FX's answer→ Toby I recommend you plant at least 50 bulbs, otherwise if you plant just a handful you'll never have anything usable.

  • #137
  • Comment by celso
Hi FX, Glad to see a new post.
I'm a long time follower of your site and work as graphic designer. Some of our fellow reader wrote posts about the watermark and I have another one: since your problem is having your images used  without credit, wouldn't it be better to use a larger, but not completely opaque watermark, as we find in most image banks? This could make the watermark much harder to be erased (it is an easy task as they are in this last post), and would have the additional advantage of being less obstrusive.
Thanks for the nice job.
  • FX's answer→ Yes of course when I can find such a watermark I'll do it, but the choice was either to post it a day after it happened, using a lightly tweaked existing workflow, or to post in God knows when! I'll try and see how to make the watermark translucent.

  • #139
  • Comment by Craig
Wonderful article FX! I've taken the time during your long absence to catch up on your older articles from before I started reading around a year ago... great stuff, inspires me to keep cooking incase I ever got bored! Have always wondered what saffron flowers look like, beautiful.

Do the pistils have to be dried for long, could you use them fresh (would they taste the same?)
  • FX's answer→ Craig, I am glad my little site inspired you to cook some more! Fresh saffron is not very attractive but it dries in only a couple days and I'll soon try it.

  • #141
  • Comment by Weslie Foodee
I think that is a bittersweet story of cultivating and harvesting the saffron-flower fruit. Here in the mountains where I reside, we find deer-fencing very effective in keeping any woodland creatures( other than shrews)out of our precious yet short-term growing season.Free-standing fences are easy to build. If you need to keep out rodents, I would use an even finer mesh fencing around deer-fencing base to keep your harvest safe until that perfectly bio-dynamic time to harvest! I treasure your story and will forever share it with fellow food lovers.
  • FX's answer→ Weslie, do the deers actually dig out the saffron bulbs? Would it be at all feasible to have some goats graze during the summer, then harvest saffron when it comes in the winter, or would the goats dig them out?

  • #143
  • Comment by maja
I recently came upon this website totally randomly and what a treasure to find!  Kudos to you for your good work in the kitchen as well as with the camera - trully an inspiration and reminder of how beautiful life is :-) maja
  • FX's answer→ Indeed with our eyes open we can see the beauty of life in every corner!

  • #145
  • Comment by Shelley
I am so glad you've posted another wonderful adventure!!! I love the photos and hate that you are forced to watermark them.  They are fantastic!!! And I think they should be published, in many magazines and newspapers, as long as they BUY them from you.  How wonderful would it be to have a photo of a blooming saffron hanging on your wall!! Maybe you should think about selling your amazing pictures to fund your food quests.  I bet many here would buy them!!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks a lot for your kind words, Shelley!
    I think some of these pictures will find their way onto paper some day...

  • #147
  • Comment by mj handelman
The Taliban are growing the wrong Flower, crocus would be more profitable than Poppies!
  • FX's answer→ Very true, I had never thought about it, but if we can grow Saffron in Switzerland, they should certainly be able to grow it in Afghanistan. A much better crop altogether!

  • #149
  • Comment by Phoebe
How strange! I just saw one of the photos of the bee and the flower. It was on the Flickr homepage. Usually I wouldn't even see the homepage, because I stay logged in, but I was on another computer. Coincidence! I thought it was a beautiful picture, and I'm so glad there are more here on your site.
Estoy con la boca abierta y no la puedo cerrar!!! :) vaya blog espectacular, y como no lo conocia todavia?? que contenta estoy de haber llegado aqui...las fotos son bellisimas...un beso
Hi Francois, Bonjour.
I love your photos so I am not crazy about the print across them.  I understand the need for protection.
However, it destroys the experience.
  • #152
  • Comment by Rebecca
A friend has introduced me to your site; the pictures are superb.  Eagerly anticipating more articles.  
  • #153
  • Comment by Molin Pinto
I missed your posts for soooo long. Please come back again. This was a beautiful post.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks for your patience Molin Pinto!

Oh yes! It took a while, but I´m back! And you´re still here, very nice to see. You have a great blog, as I think I remember that I told you last time aswell :)
The saffron business IS an amazing one, the work that goes into it.
The Nikkor 60 is great! I have my own favourite like that aswell, my Canon 100/2.8 Macro. Sharpness reigns supreme!
  • FX's answer→ John, I really love your picture of the vanilla pod. That's some impressive macro food shot! Did you get this shot with only the Canon 100/f2.8? I would really love a 100mm macro lens for my Nikons.

This is simply amazing!
  • FX's answer→ Indeed.

  • #159
  • Comment by Katie
I love saffron as much as the next gourmet, but the harvest isn't exactly a "square deal", is it? We're in it for the food, and get what we want (delicious saffron filaments), while the crocus, producing the stamen for reproductive purposes, has them torn out the moment it springs out of the ground. Don't get me wrong: I have no qualms about the process - I'm just saying ...
  • FX's answer→ Katie, if the castration of a flower is beyond what you are prepared to do to feed yourself, yoyou shall soon starve. But I understand the thought - yes it is our condition on this earth that we need to kill other beings in order to survive. Beyond vegan - IVtarian?

  • #161
  • Comment by Katie
Hmmm, I made sure to add that I love saffron, and have no qualms abut the way in which it is harvested so as not to look like one of those strange people who only eat fruit that's fallen off the tree. Hence I'm in absolutely no danger of starving - or even of going without my beloved saffron cake, caviar or foie gras.

However, since you are putting the bar very high for yourself, I have come to expect factual accuracy from your posts. Far from questioning the cultivation of these flowers for the kitchen, I just wanted to point out that the process couldn't be romanticised without making serious concessions in the logic department.

Blame it on the fact that I'm a lawyer (who very pragmatically rears lambs and ducks for eating, and doesn't spend a whole lot of time contemplating the "circle of life").

Funny, though, how people will sooner believe that someone is a food extremist (vegan et al) than that it is possible for a person to enjoy a spit roast of young boar while reject the notion that there is beauty and romance in slaughter.
  • FX's answer→ Please don't feel offended, I understand.

Amazing photos,glad to see that you are back! I wish you happy holidays!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks, glad you liked it! I wonder is saffron is grown in Greece?

I love this story.  It makes me want to plant our entire yard ... who knew!  
  • FX's answer→ Yes, do try it and don't be tempted to plant only 3 flowers, go for 100 or more!

Hello. I discovered this site not long time ago, but I am fascinated. Each day I read some posts. Amazing pictures and very good recipes.
I specially liked this post, because in my language (I am Romanian) my name (brindusa) mens Crocus. I am sentimentally related with these flowers.

I hope that you will come back soon with other recipes.
  • FX's answer→ Hello Brindusa, I see you even have Crocus as the banner on your blog!

  • #169
  • Comment by Liz
Very interesting post -- do you know if they have to replant their fields every year? Or do they just enjoy the crop that reappears annually?
  • #170
  • Comment by Katie
How sweet a job is that? Apart from it probably really hurts your back picking the flowers! It looks such a pretty place to work and spending all day with flowers sounds really lovely.I love using saffron but keep it as a special treat due to the cost! And now I know why it's so expensive! I'd never thought about how labour intensive picking probably was! Thanks - and lovely photos!
  • FX's answer→ It is really a lovely thing to do, saffron picking, especially in such surroundings. Glad you found it interesting!

  • #172
  • Comment by jonhatan
me gustan las recetas que pones en tu pagina, pero por que ya no has puesto mas recetas en español, yo casi no hablo ingles, por favor, se que en mexico tienes mucho publico... saludos.
What a gorgeous place to pick saffron. And what fantastic photos of the bee and the flower! Your 60mm may be a wonderful lens, but dont be modest about your photography skills, what great photos!
I love saffron. In Greece we have one of the best.
Love the color of the flower. Amazing!
  • #175
  • Comment by Nathan
Come back FX!  I miss your beautiful posts and mouth-watering insights!!
  • #176
  • Comment by chiffonade
I love saffron with its almost mustardy undertones but that's not why I am making a comment.  I could not find a "contact" link anywhere and realized it's been so long since I received one of your wonderful articles.  Under the weather??  Taking a break?  Or did I somehow unsubscribe myself??  Hope you are well.
  • #177
  • Comment by Burke
Missing my FX fix!
  • FX's answer→ More FX will come someday!

  • #179
  • Comment by jason
I'm theorising that FX has discovered that he has Anabaptist roots and has renounced the world.

A Lament

O World! O Life! O Time!
On whose last steps I climb,
Trembling at that where I had stood before;
When will return the glory of your prime?
No more -Oh, never more!

Out of the day and night
A joy has taken flight:
Fresh spring, and summer, and winter hoar
Move my faint heart with grief, but with delight
No more -Oh, never more!

Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • FX's answer→ Jason, that is one really good piece of poetry! Here we are more familiar with the works of Bysshe's wife of course.

    But I haven't yet renounced Bachus and his pumps - just too busy editing the loads of footage we shot last year. Couldn't find a way to fit in more blog articles in it so far but they will eventually come back, if ye keep your faith!

francois when do you plan to comeback to your statement: with two new articles added weekly? :))
  • #182
  • Comment by maria
hello - thanks for another wonderful article. But where have you been lately? we miss your postings! hope all is ok and that we hear more from you soon.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Maria, I am busy editing what we filmed last year, this takes such a long time as compared to the wham-bam-thank-you-sir blog posts!

  • #184
  • Comment by Siri Gottlieb
Dear FX,

I have missed seeing your posts, and thought to check the website. Here, a wonderful piece on saffron. I don't know which I enjoy more -- your incredibly beautiful photos, your clever comments, or the conversations between you and your readers! Thank you for your devotion to good food, and to your website.

  • FX's answer→ Well thanks for your kind words! I have much more content but can't publish it online yet - it is meant for offline publication first alas.

  • #186
  • Comment by Groty
Could you write a blog post describing your vision for this site and the other projects that have consumed your time.  I'm a frequent visitor, salivating for more recipes.  Will we be finding your work elsewhere?  Perhaps a book, or new video blogs hosted by someone else?

  • #187
  • Comment by Marion
JF, I only discovered your blog today, researching Japanese cuisine, spending already half of the night enjoying it. And now I find you last entry was from Oct last year! Panic! Hope we will get to hear / see something new from you soon. Btw, I am German, if you ever need help with German translations or German cuisine - no that is not an oxymoron - I would love to help. You love for food and for life seems so genuine! Great stuff. Thanks and hope to hear / see something new from you soon. PS. I spent years in Belgium. You have heard of Marcolini chocolates, right....? Definitely an atelier to visit I would think...
Amazing pics and amazing experience for me. Never thought it comes this way. In china we have a vegetable called yellow flower. Now I am looking a more amazing one.  
  • #189
  • Comment by Simon
Hey, Francois! where the hell are you? I trust everything is OK. Surely a little note on the homepage wouldn't go astray?

Hope to see a sign of life soon.

  • #190
  • Comment by Nicolas
Great article, thanks!
We are trying to grow some saffron in Kosovo, where some production started a few years ago. We would like to buy some bulbs (about 150,000). Would you have any recommendation? We were in touch with a Dutch company, but they are apparently out of stock - idem for a few other producers we know.
Thanks for your help!
Best, Nicolas  
  • #191
  • Comment by Phoebe
I just found this wonderful blog and was wondering why FX stopped blogging?

I am really enjoying reading past entries.

Phoebe from Sydney, Australia.
  • #192
  • Comment by cookery
where are you?  why don't you update your site with a message?  we miss fx!!!
  • #193
  • Comment by Neal
Hey FX, wanted to make sure you are still around and kicking, I have high hopes that you are working on some sort of revolutionary foodie site, or maybe a print publication.  In any event, know that we miss your legendary food sense and your great pics.

  • FX's answer→ Thanks Neal, yes still alive I am, just too many things to do!

  • #195
  • Comment by Edu
François, we miss you. I'm glad to know that you're still alive, but do not leave us in the "cold". Wanna see more pics, recipes, smiles from you.
Hope things are well.
(Edu, from Brazil)
  • FX's answer→ Thanks, I'm alive all right, keep warm!

  • #197
  • Comment by vespa rossa
Hope you'll be back soon, was just re-reading some old posts and would love to see some new ones from you!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks for your support and patience!

I just found this wonderful blog and was wondering why FX stopped blogging?

I am really enjoying reading past entries.

Phoebe from Sydney, Australia.
  • #200
  • Comment by Robert
Oh, where have you gone off to, FX? The world is left one ingredient short of a recipe without your articles. Please take up interest again!
  • #201
  • Comment by Una Rubia
I just found your blog and I LOVE it!  Your style,the recipes, the pictures, YOU!  Please, please don't stop blogging. There are millions of food blogs (I'm always searching) but yours is extraordinarily wonderful and unique.
Diana from Miami, Florida
  • #202
  • Comment by Jason
FX, you should do a show on caning just in case of an apocalypse. Sorry, I just read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Call Kuhn Rikon and pitch a show idea.
  • #203
  • Comment by Julio
Excelent info about Safrom...Am from Mexico but  i been living in usa for 14 years ...thanks for this value info..
  • #204
  • Comment by zmm
My first time here.. through recommendations from people who'd been here.
like your site.. the photos.. the write up.
And I now know why you get so many hits. You take the trouble to reply to comments! Wow.. how many do that?

Btw, if all the flowers are harvested, then will the plant be envually get extinct?

And now I know too why safron is so expensive, there's only so little to get from each plant.
  • #205
  • Comment by KJW
When are you going to post again? One of the best food photo blogs I've seen...
  • #206
  • Comment by Jessie
It is beautiful photos of Saffron.  I love it.
  • #207
  • Comment by Joe
It's been a year since your last post.  Hurry back, FX.  We miss your recipes and photos and presence.
  • #208
  • Comment by Terry
I would give up on blog if I didn't love this so much.  Did you get lost in Vorderdistel?  You can stop blogging, but you must at least come say goodbye.  This is no way of leaving those who adore you -

  • FX's answer→ Thanks Terry, I am still around and kicking, and hope to report back soon with some exciting news!

I really miss your posts! Please don't stop blogging. I loved reading your articles.


  • FX's answer→ Thanks Rosa, I hope to be back soon!

You can use Lightroom to add a watermark in either text form, or a transparent one you create in Illustrator or Photoshop.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks, Lightroom sounds like the right idea, I'll look into it!

  • #214
  • Comment by Michael Hubeaux
Cher François-Xavier (I'll write in French, as what I have to say is too emotional to be put into a foreign language. Once I have calmed down, I'll write comments in English too),

Je ne peux que joindre ma prière à celle des internautes qui m'ont précédé: revenez-nous vite!

Voilà quelques mois que j'ai découvert votre extraordinaire blog et je ne m'en lasse pas. Les articles sont tous plus intéressants les uns que les autres, les recettes sont fantastiques, vous êtes un pédagogue de premier plan, vos photos sont somptueuses.
L'amour de la cuisine et des produits que vous nous faites partager, sans prétention, avec humour, curiosité et bonhommie, est tellement sincère que j'en suis parfois ému à en avoir les larmes aux yeux!
Ce que j'apprécie particulièrement chez vous, c'est que, sans être un professionnel, vous mettez toutes ces merveilles à la portée de chacun, en commentant les recettes exactement comme les livres ne le font pas, parce que vous les avez vécues comme amateur et que vous savez où sont les chausse-trapes, parce que vous donnez toujours le petit conseil qui va faire de la recette une réussite.
C'est merveilleux et tellement précieux!

Mon seul regret, donc, est votre absence prolongée. Rien ne me ferait davantage plaisir que de vous lire bientôt!

Merci, mille fois merci pour ce que vous faites, Saint Fançois-Xavier!
  • FX's answer→ Merci pour votre gentillesse Michael, j'espère en effet reprendre mes articles mais là j'en ai un peu trop fait et ai besoin d'une pause... mais je reçois tous les jours des messages m'enjoignant de reprendre FXcuisine, c'est très encourageant!

  • #216
  • Comment by Katie Callaghan
Hi FX,

I was just wondeing if your site still gets "150,000 readers a month" now that you haven't posted anything new in over a year.


  • FX's answer→ Ah Katie, you always are the sharpest knife in the drawer. Yes, funnily enough the site still attracts more and more traffic. Probably because many of the 250-some articles already published become things of permanent interest.

  • #218
  • Comment by AH
we all do really miss your posts, FX!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Aaron, I hope to come back too!

  • #220
  • Comment by Teimoori
Dear sir,
We offer u Iranian saffron with best price
U can send your order to gostarfardismehr@hotmail.com
  • #221
  • Comment by The Swede
Christmas Greetings from the north! Hope you come back soon :)
  • #222
  • Comment by Ames
Hello! I just wanted to let you know that even though your pictures were labeled as "No Copyright" by a newspaper, it is still your property if taken by you, and published on your own site. Anything published has an assumed copyright, and they are violating an assumed copyright by taking it. You own the rights to it. Watermark is a smart idea, just know that you shouldn't have to do that!

Makes me mad to hear that peoples photos, writing, or anything else is taken without permission, and not credited.

Lovely article! :D
  • #223
  • Comment by joseph weir
I miss you.  Please come back.
  • #224
  • Comment by Bruce of Oz
Allow me to be the first (on this website...) to wish you a joyous, Happy New Year, Francois-Xavier!

Alas, 2010 was just that little bit duller by not having the occasional FX article to uplift and delight one's spare time...    I'm sure you were busy, I'm sure your non-culinary talents were in high demand!

Anyway, best wishes to you for a fun-filled year ahead.  And if you find the time for uploading an item or two, OUR lives will be all the richer too!  (Still photo-based ones are fine; personally, I preferred them...)

kindest regards!

  • #225
  • Comment by jason
Still miss you FX. Long term depression has set in...
  • #226
  • Comment by Katherine
Dear FX,
My husband and I recently discovered your website, and have fallen in love with your fine recipes and exquisite photographs. Thank you for sharing your considerable talents. Having found where you reside in cyberspace, we hope you'll return soon with more postings. Among other delights, you've inspired us to order saffron crocuses to plant this summer.  
  • #227
  • Comment by Tom
I must agree with Jason here above... My kitchen is craving for your presence and depression is setting in... ;)
  • #228
  • Comment by Magda
Hi FX,

Just wanted to let you know that I miss your musings and culinary adventures. I hope everything is OK.

  • #229
  • Comment by yoni
miss you! please come back. you've inspired me to cook - i'm 18 years old, israeli, and i've never seen food like what you've shown on your site. i've started cooking as often as i can and i think i've finally found the hobby i've been looking for. thank you so much! am hoping for updates and wish you well.
  • #230
  • Comment by Zbyszek
FX - its high time to be back, please....
I miss You!!!
Greetings from Poland
  • #231
  • Comment by Burke Ferrari
Oh FX, where are you?  Please at least let us know that you're out there, your voice is missed by many.
  • #232
  • Comment by NN
Francois... you bastard... I trust you are still alive and well?
  • #233
  • Comment by Free
We are still missing you
  • #234
  • Comment by Mary
What a lovely experience and set of photos. I hope you return eventually to this website, I enjoy it so much! :)
  • #235
  • Comment by bm
alors quelle belles phtos bm
I miss your illuminating and witty points and fantastic photography and video.

Can you please, upon reading this, consider returning to your pasttime with making these great stories and recipes again?

-- Thomas
  • #237
  • Comment by bertha
I miss you. where are you? I keep checking to see if you're back. Are you coming back at all? Please say you will!
Best FX,
The blogger world is waiting for your come back.
  • #239
  • Comment by Karel
FX, where are you. Please let us now you're still there. I can't think of another blog that is so eloquent and warm. Come to think of it your blog is the most memorable of them all. I miss you dearly.

Take care & heartfelt wishes from the Netherlands,

  • #240
  • Comment by Alan
This dude is dead
  • FX's answer→ The reports of my death have been largely exagerated!

  • #242
  • Comment by Timothy
We miss you FX - a quick comment to let us know you are still out there would be appreciated. And how do we find your work published offline that took you away from this marvelous site?
  • FX's answer→ I am still out there Timothy! And publishing back here FXcuisine like before

  • #244
  • Comment by tom
I just discovered your blog yesterday while researching how to make paneer.  I have always wanted to try cheese making, but felt intimidated somehow.  Your article was the one that prompted me to ignore my trepidation and proceed without fear.  The results were fantastic, surprising, and encouraging.  I made my own cheese!  It looks, smells, and tastes awesome.  I am grateful to you for inspiring me with your unique talent and style.  While I have many more of your articles to read and savor, I look forward to more in the future!
  • FX's answer→ Tom thanks a lot for your kind words, this encourages me to keep publishing! Share those kind of epiphanies in the kitchen started me blogging.

  • #246
  • Comment by Alex
FX, I am filled with hope just knowing that you are reading the comments section. Please, please start writing again.
  • FX's answer→ Alex thanks a lot, now I am writing again!

Dearest FX! From time to time I revisit your superb blog, always hoping that you'll have re-surfaced from your busy "other" life. Your beautiful photographs and even more delicious writing gave me such great pleasure, and I MISS YOU! Meanwhile, I'll comfort myself with another look at the horrible sausage of Ferrara, and go back to praying to the gods of cuisine, never believing that you're gone for good. COME BACK!

  • FX's answer→ Maria, your kind prayers have been answered ... and I am back! Thank you for your nice words and loyalty.

  • #250
  • Comment by Nuria
Bonjour! Thanks for sharing this wonderful experience and such a amzing pictures! Actually I will be interested in buy one of your pictures. Could be possible? Thanks in advance.
  • FX's answer→ Well yes you can buy any picture I make no problem.

  • #252
  • Comment by finish
I just can not imagine with incredibly blog greatly that warned me! God bless you  “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” - Mark Twain
  • FX's answer→ Indeed they have been, thanks God!

Wow...what wonderful photos and I sort of knew where this came from.  I live on St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and there are people who are able to grow this saffron flower.  But now I really have a question.  We also grow a root...more like the ginger root that gets fingers like ginger but it is smaller, the flesh is a bright orange and when you lightly scratch off the outer peel it has almost a peppermint smell.  People peel and slice it and put into rice or soup to get that "saffron" color...I am not sure about flavor as I just saw this root for the first time today.  It takes about 9 months to grow.  There are spikey type leaves, maybe 2 or 2.5' high - much like some of the lilies and no flower.  When these leaves begin to bend over and get slightly yellow, the "root" below is ready to harvest.  Have you ever heard of this?  And the people here call it "saffron root" and it is fairly expensive to purchase in our local market.  Of course not like the real saffron!  
  • FX's answer→ I do not know this root, but suspect the color gave it its saffron name rather than some botanical proximity. Let me know if you find out its latin name!

Can you collect three stigmas without picking flower or is that to protect the stigmas until you get indoors out of the wind?  I am pretty sure you are collecting the stigmas not the filaments.
  • FX's answer→ This is delicate work and to pick up only the stigmas, leaving the flowers, you would need a lot more time!

  • #258
  • Comment by Lynne B.
Francois, please come back to posting on this wonderful blog!! We miss you. :-(. At least let us know you are all right...
  • FX's answer→ Thanks for worrying about me Lynne but I am well!

Estimado François-Xavier:
Tu ausencia del espacio virtual es notoria.
Ojala encuentres el tiempo, la razón y las ganas de seguir haciéndonos participes.
Ojala sigas llenando de contenido la palabra excelencia.
Con saudades,
  • FX's answer→ Muchas gracias Daniel, ahora he regresado!

  • #262
  • Comment by Ben
Hope all is well. Something made me think of your site, I still remember when this final article was posted. Your photos and story are missed.

  • FX's answer→ Missed no more, behold FX second coming!

  • #264
  • Comment by NRD
Hello FX!
I know that this is probably the millionth time someone poses you this question, but I must (after years of waiting) ask: are you gone for good, or should I keep a glimmer of hope? You recipes are inspiring, your pictures are pieces of art and your writing and humour put me in such a great mood! I really hope that you decide to come back-- you have a world full of loyal readers waiting for some news!
NRD, Italy
  • FX's answer→ Well Natasha I am back! The waiting is over! Thank you for your kind words and loyalty!

  • #266
  • Comment by Rosalie lee
The images you capture are always so stunning.  An absolute treat for my eyes.  The stories and the shots are brimming with loving attention.  Very inspiring.  Why have you stopped?  So sad for me.
  • FX's answer→ Ah many reasons but I am back!

  • #268
  • Comment by Ostian
This is my all time favorite food blog. You must return!
  • Comment by fx, 1
FX is back!
  • #270
  • Comment by Adina
Francois-Xavier, where are you? I was a great great admirer of your website during your constant postings and I am grateful that the website still exists because the entries are still a delight to look upon. Even though you seem not to re-active it, which is totally ok I think because it surely takes up a huge amount of time, I would be happy to read a message from you that you are fine... (or am I too stupid to find a message like this here?!) I followed your website for years and now it's nearly three years since this last entry. I hope you are doing well!!
  • Comment by fx, 1
Adina, no problem FX is there and kicking, more articles on the way in a much improved setup!
  • #272
  • Comment by Benjamin
I hope all is well.
  • FX's answer→ It is, thanks.

Please come back!! I believe many are missing you as much as i am!
  • FX's answer→ Bram I am back!

Your pictures are amazing, Ive seen pictures of the saffron harvest in Kashmir, in Afghanistan, and in Iran; but I had no idea that saffron could be grown in Switzerland.  The saffron looks splendid, and I love the bees.  Thank you for posting !
  • FX's answer→ Thanks, I think you could grow saffron in many places across the world actually. It certainly grows fine here.

  • #278
  • Comment by Dean
So where are you and are you coming back?
  • FX's answer→ I am home and well! And now I am back on the blog

  • #280
  • Comment by Karel
Hi FX, just dropped  by as I do know and then. Wanted to let you know I miss you and your brilliant posts. I hope you're well and wish you all the best.

Take care,

  • FX's answer→ Thanks Karel and I am back!

  • #282
  • Comment by Laura
Just checking on you, Francois.  I still look at your website every couple of months or so (not nearly as often as I did when you were posting regularly), and I still find myself wishing you would return.  I see your last reply was in December 2010--two-and-a-half years ago.  Miss you a lot.  Hope everything is all right, and hope to see some new posts from you soon.  Even something tiny.  Even a couple of times a year.  Please?
  • #283
  • Comment by Eliot
Dear FX

I have read, and loved every article you have ever posted. Every month I check back to see where you are, to see if you have posted anything, to see if there is an update, to see if the site is gone. I hope you are well. I am grateful for your words and lovely pictures.

  • FX's answer→ Well Eliot your words have touched me ... and now I am back with more!

  • #285
  • Comment by Yoshie
Bonjour FX,

Thanks for your great recipes and passion for the perfect. I see you share a lot of common points with Japanese approach to food. I would be so happy to meet you in person, who knows when I travel in Switzerland again.

  • FX's answer→ Thanks, in fact you should see me on japanese TV very soon!

  • #287
  • Comment by Felix
Hey FX,

this was the first food blog i ever followed, and still one of the all time best! I keep coming back to check it out from time to time. hope youre well!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Felix, actually I am very well and back blogging!

  • #289
  • Comment by Michael
I don't know if anybode else despite me still reads this blog. I went through it several times now, and I'm still not getting tired of it. Every few months I come here and have me inspired.

FX, I don't know what you are up to nowadays and it's absolutely none of my business.
I just want you to know that I consider this blog of yours a unique piece of art. Plz never take it offline.

Take care.
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Michael, this is very nice to hear! Glad you found some inspiration here. I have published a number of new articles now using wood fire and so on. Still trying to improve my pictures to how they were before though! Glad you like it.

  • #291
  • Comment by Clement
Those colors are amazing, congratulations !
  • FX's answer→ Thank you

  • #293
  • Comment by Karel
Hi François,

I just got an e-mail from that you're back: JOY! Best news in a long time. I'm so much looking forward to your new adventures in foodland!

Take care and all the best,

  • FX's answer→ Thanks!

  • #295
  • Comment by ali
i am from iran
nice to meet your article
iran is a mom of zafron in world
your pictures is nice
  • FX's answer→ Thanks

Text-only version printed from http://FXcuisine.com/default.asp?Display=253 - visit the online version to see many gorgeous pictures of this recipe!
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