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Oct 14, 2002 07:56 PM

where to buy saffron?

  • l

Does anyone know where I can buy just a little bit to make some paella? Does Trader Joe's have any?

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  1. you could try cost plus, but call first and ask if they have some in stock. it comes in a small pack and is less than three bucks each. take your pick if you want it in powder or thread form. I would say that one pack is enough to make a paella for 4 people.

    4 Replies
    1. re: maria
      'lil tartlette

      After exhaustive searching I have found what I believe to be the Holy Grail of L.A. spice shops. It's called "All Spice" & is run by a delightful & throughly knowledgeable British gentleman. He will hook you up with whatever you need in terms of spices & explain their origins & uses in as much depth as you like. This place is a FIND for all serious chefs.

      All Spice - 507 N. Fairfax Ave.

      1. re: 'lil tartlette

        Strangely I just returned this minute from my local mexican market (Yucca Market) in Hollywood where they had something called AZAFRAN FLOR, which looks and smells like saffron threads. It cannot be the same saffron we all know and love (could it?) because it was .69 cents for about 1/8 a cup!

        I am going to make a Sicilain Rigatoni with cauliflower, raisons,
        capers, anchovies and SAFFRON with it tonight. I 'll come back with a report...


        1. re: Greg Henry
          'lil tartlette

          Alas with the certainty I have for only death & taxes, I can assure you that at .69 cents for an 8th of a cup, it's NOT the saffron we all know & love.

          Azafran Flor is spanish for Saffron Flower, which is no doubt made from the leaves of the Crocus & not the stigmas. I have no experience cooking with Azafran Flor so I'm extremely interested in reading your report.

          BTW - your Sicilian Rigatoni sounds wonderful. Happy chowing!!!

          1. re: 'lil tartlette

            You were right. The FLOR is not will never be SAFFRON. However, my Rigatoni was excellent. Perhaps the FLOR was just the right ingrediant or perhaps a purer form of SAFFRON would have been too much.

            We'll never know because in cooking the sauce I tasted it right before service and decided that it needed a SAFFRON boost and added a couple of threads of actual SAFFRON (purchased from your spice guy on Fairfax whom I agree is an incredible source). The result was terrific. Just a hint (really more of an aftertaste) of SAFFRON with the big flavors being anchovies and red pepper flakes.

            I was attempting a repro of a dish I had in Sicily. I had no recipe but it seemed so straight forward I thought I could work it out on my own. This is my 3rd (and best) attempt. It goes something like this...

            1/2 cup Raisins
            2 tablespoons Olive Oil
            6 Garlic Cloves
            1/2 plus teasppon Red Pepper Flakes
            1 can chicken broth
            1/2 teaspoon FAKE SAFFRON
            8-10 Anchovies chopped
            4 tablespoons Capers
            1 head of caulflower cut into bite size florettes
            Parmesian, Toasted Pine Nuts and Shredded Basil for Garnish

            I heated the Olive oil and sauted the garlic until soft. I added pepper flakes, anchovies, capers, FAKE SAFFRON, and chicken broth. Cooked over medium heat until fragrant. I then added cauliflower and raisins and cooked covered until cauliflower was tender but not mushy. I then removed the lid and continued cooking until the liquid reduced a bit.

            That's when I paniced and added two or three threads of REAL SAFFRON. I poured the mix over a box of cooked Rigatoni and garnished with parm, basil and pine nuts.

            It made four large portions.



    2. For future reference on saffron (and a million other spices and stuff at whatever quantity and price you want to pay) look at They have 3 different grades of saffron and so many other great things. Once you start cooking with saffron, you won't want to stop!!

      1. If you are in Orange County, you can get it at Mother's Market.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kc girl

          Even better then mothers, in the OC: Wholesome Choice Supermarket in Irvine

        2. Don't know if Trader Joe's carries saffron, but I believe some/most markets carry it (Gelson's does). From what I've read it's much better to buy the strands of saffron and not the powder.

          I also believe Sur La Table carries saffron, although I could be wrong about this. Perhaps Williams Sonoma does also?

          4 Replies
          1. re: Karen
            'lil tartlette

            Gelson's does carry saffron but you won't find it on the shelf. You have to ask the manager to get it for you because they keep it under lock & key. After all, it is among the world's most expensive spices.

            1. re: 'lil tartlette

              Actually, I was just at Gelson's in Pacific Palisades this morning and I saw the saffron on the shelf. It's even on sale! I don't remember the price - maybe something like $5.70 or $7.70, but I do remember it was around $2.50 off the regular price. (McCormick's brand)

              1. re: Karen
                'lil tartlette

                Wow, either they changed their policy or they just trust their Pacific Palisades' customers more than they trust their Studio City customers.

                1. re: 'lil tartlette

                  They used to keep the saffron under lock and key (in the Palisades) but I noticed the change maybe a year ago or so. I would be curious to find out if the saffron is still under lock and key in Studio City.

          2. I believe you can purchase saffron at Whole Foods Sherman Oaks West.

            2 Replies
            1. re: LuckyinLA

              I bought about a dozen spices from - its an Indian foods/DVD/music site. Very prompt service, very good prices.

              1. re: Zoe

                I am fairly sure you could visit any Indian spice shop on Pioneer in Artesia and find some quality saffron at a very reasonable price, and in large quantities if you would like.

                In particular, there is a market located on a corner of Pioneer (Sorry I don't remember what it was called. It was the only market that looked like a bodega with advertisements on the outside)It is on the West side of the street in the middle of "Little India", and is diagonally across from another Indian spice shop which is smaller. The last time I was there I bought some VERY fresh cinnamon sticks that were cheaper, and higher in quality than any mexican packet of cinnamon for it's weight. Maybe you'd have the same luck with all of their spices.
                The cinnamon is the only thing I've had time to try yet, but they had MANY more to choose from. What I liked , even opposed to the convenience of ordering online, is sniffing to see which bag is the freshest!