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Discover the 5 most expensive spices in the World

    • Saffron - Crocus Sativus Flower

It is certainly the most expensive ingredient in the world, and one of the most laborious and meticulous in obtaining it. Saffron is the pistil of the Crocus Sativus flower, and is lilac in color. As a spice that was once worth more than gold, it has been cultivated in Asia since ancient times, and arrived in Spain via the Arabs. Today it is the Iberian country responsible for 70% of world production, the absolute leader.

Despite its easy cultivation, it is the extraction that makes saffron extremely expensive. The saffron is harvested manually, then dried to preserve it and then ready to consume. Pistils from approximately 150,000 flowers are needed to obtain 1kg of the spice, justifying its value, which can reach up to 20,000 euros. Its striking flavor provides a strong yellowish color to food, and is the main ingredient for dishes such as “risotto alla milanese”.

   • Vanilla Pod

Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) originates from an orchid native to Mexico; it has 109 species belonging to the Orchidaceae family.

It was used by Mexican Indians since ancient times, but was disseminated by Spanish colonizers on different continents of the planet; becoming one of the most expensive spices in the world, second only to saffron.

Vanilla is extracted from the pod grains, which go through the drying stage, which generates natural fermentation, which darkens the grains and leaves them with a concentrated perfume. After drying, it is crushed and immersed in alcohol.

There are two types of vanilla that are used in food: Bourbon (with a stronger aroma) and Tahiti (with a more floral aroma), the latter being the most used by gastronomy chefs. The bean itself has no flavor; Therefore, it needs to be dried and fermented to be used in cooking.


   • Cardamom

The ancient Egyptians chewed cardamom seeds to clean their teeth, the Greeks and Romans used it as perfume, the Arabs attributed it to aphrodisiac qualities and the ancient Indians considered it in a cure for obesity. Rediscover one of the most precious spices, with countless therapeutic properties and culinary applications.

Cardamom is one of the most used and well-known spices in Indian cuisine, being one of the bases of Garam Masala. It is a spice rich in aroma and therapeutic properties, making it one of the most precious and expensive in the world.

The use of cardamom has grown significantly since the beginning of the 19th century and, as a medicine, it can be used to refresh breathing, calm infections and aid digestion. Essential oil and oleoresin (a natural mixture of resin and oil) are used in perfumes, and in the kitchen cardamom is used in a variety of dishes from main courses, soups, rice and curries, desserts, drinks and pastries.

    • Sumac - Sumac

Sumac (in English: sumac and in French: le sumac) is a berry or fruit of a shrub with a color that varies from brick red to dark purple. These berries are dried and ground to be used as a seasoning.

Spice from the Middle East replaces the acidity of lemon and adds a special touch to preparations such as salads, meats and pastas. Also known as sumac or sumac, sumac is a spice with an exotic aroma and acidic, citrus-like flavor, reminiscent of a mixture of paprika and lemon.

Sumac is also one of the main components of the mixture of zaatar or za'atar seasoning, along with sesame or sesame and dried thyme. Sumac goes well with chicken, fish and shellfish, lamb or sheep, eggplant, chickpeas and lentils.

This seasoning is great in recipes where you can't or don't want to add lemon liquid or vinegar, like some recipes with fish. The acid in the lemon denatures or “pre-cooks” the proteins in the fish meat.

   • Black Garlic

Black garlic is a type of aged garlic whose darkening is attributed to the Maillard reaction. It is used in Asian cuisine and has recently gained popularity and spread in sophisticated Western restaurant kitchens.

It is made by heating whole bulbs of garlic (Allium sativum) over several weeks, a process that results in blackened garlic cloves.

The flavor of black garlic is sweet (resembling sugar syrup), with notes of balsamic vinegar or tamarind.

Black garlic is produced when garlic heads are subjected to an aging process under specific conditions of heat and humidity. Garlic heads are kept in a controlled humidity environment at temperatures ranging from 60 to 77 °C for 2 weeks to 3 months. There are no added additives, preservatives or any type of burning.

These conditions are believed to facilitate the Maillard reaction, the chemical process that produces new flavor compounds responsible for the complex flavor of grilled meat and onions fries. The garlic cloves turn black and develop a sticky texture, similar to the texture of dates.