HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >


South Bay sources for high quality saffron threads?

Anyone have a good source for high quality saffron threads in the South Bay? Not looking for large quantities, as I want to make sure I wind up using it on a regular basis before springing for an ounce... for now I think 1 to 5 grams will do. I saw what I think was a 1g box at Bharat Bazaar (great Indian market in Sunnyvale) for $6, but I have not a clue about the quality.

I've visited saffron.com (based in SF) which seems to have high quality and reasonable prices... however they have no store front and no shipping option cheaper than $8, so it doesn't seem worth it to get less than 10g (works out to $4.60/g shipped). My informal poll of Spanish & Portugese co-workers didn't turn up anyone interested in splitting an order... they all bought ounce tins at some point and still have plenty.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Does Saffron still have their saffron and vanilla at Xanath? Their vanilla is very inexpensive.
    951 Valencia St
    San Francisco, CA 94110
    (415) 648-8996

    1 Reply
    1. One place to check would be Rock of Gibralter in Menlo Park. They are on Alma across from the train station. The website says they have saffron, but I can't vouch for the quality having never purchased from them.

      1. There's a new Catalan cafe in San Jose that I need to post more about called La Catalana. It also stocks and sells some imported groceries and Spanish food stuffs, so I suggest calling to see if it will sell you some saffron. I've also purchased saffron (in a small vial) at Persian grocers but none in the South Bay. You might check with Rose International Market in Mountain View.

        Rose International Market
        1060 Castro St, Mountain View, CA 94040

        Rock of Gibraltar
        1026 Alma St, Menlo Park, CA

        La Catalana
        3720 N 1st St, San Jose, CA 95134

          1. I bought and Oz. of Saffron threads at Santos Spice in San Leandro http://www.santosspice.com/
            Spanish origin I think. Great flavor, very good price and vibrant color.

            1. Thanks, all! Tried to contact La Catalana, they seemed very thrown by my Saffron-buying request and said they'd get back to me... most of the other suggestions were too far away for my wanderings tonight. In the end, though, after noticing 0.7g of Saffron going for $6 at Trader Joe's (with visible yellow stamens mixed in, bad!) and 0.5g for $5 at World Market, I realized that the saffron box I'd seen at Bharat Bazaar was really large, so I went back for another look.

              Turns out it's Altaj Crown Spanish Saffron, $4.99 for 1g, or $8.99 for 2g! I peered into the box and it looked good to my untrained eye (no yellow stamens, uniform color & thickness, etc), so I bought 2g.

              They obviously go through a lot of stock, as this box was packaged only last month, with a use-by of 2019. The brand is Altaj Crown of Albacete, Spain... online it seems to be a reputable brand, even a brand that's considered "premium," and boxes identical to what I bought are listed as "Category I" -- i.e. ISO Grade 1, which is the highest grade (color grade >190, a.k.a. coupe).

              Bharat Bazaar is definitely my new go-to place for any of the spices featured in Indian cooking!

              Looking forward to my first foray into cooking with saffron... anyone have a favorite recipe they can point me to?

              La Catalana
              3720 N 1st St, San Jose, CA 95134

              3 Replies
              1. re: mrbenji

                Steep saffron in water or broth before adding it to your foods

                1. re: wolfe

                  Thanks, yeah, I'd seen that. Actually read somewhere that 2-4hrs of steeping are recommended at a minimum, but the threads keep releasing fragrance and color for up to 24hrs.

                  So I left ~ 1/4 tsp steeping today... should be about 9hrs before I actually start cooking with it. The water was quite yellow almost immediately.

                  BTW, after I got the box open I could see that there *are* a very small number of yellow stamens in there... imo insignificant given the size of the box.

                  1. re: mrbenji

                    Milk is good too- on Biryanis (at least those that I've made), saffron laced milk is drizzled over the pure white rice, leaving a nice mottled pattern. Indian recipes (Julie Sahni is my personal fave) often feature saffron, but for a simpler application where the effect of the saffron might be more obvious, breads such as Challah are very good.

              2. Has anyone tried the saffron that Cosco sells? Apparently it's a Spanish saffron rated category #1.


                3 Replies
                1. re: escargot3

                  I have not tried it but it is more expensive than the Saffron I purchased at Santos.

                  1. re: chefj

                    It's also a multi-year supply for a casual user.

                    1. re: wolfe

                      True but 14oz is for most people as well.