Spice of Ouarzazate’s high mountains

Saffron from the Slopes of Jbel Siroua

Deep within the sun-drenched heart of Morocco, nestled amidst the dramatic peaks of the Jbel Siroua mountain range, lies a treasure more precious than gold. Here, in the ancient Amazigh villges of Taliouine territorie, the delicate crocus sativus flower flourishes, its vibrant purple blooms yielding a spice so prized it’s dubbed “red gold” – saffron.

Aroma of the Atlas

Each autumn, as the first blush of dawn paints the sky, families from Taliouine embark on a meticulous ritual. With nimble fingers, they hand-pick the precious saffron threads, coaxing them from the heart of the crocus blossoms. It’s a painstaking process, with roughly 150 flowers yielding a mere gram of pure saffron. But in the air, the sweet, honeyed aroma of freshly harvested saffron hangs heavy, a promise of culinary magic to come.

Culinary Crown Jewel

For centuries, saffron has been woven into the tapestry of Moroccan cuisine. It infuses tagines with its honeyed warmth, paints couscous dishes with golden hues, and lends a touch of luxury to steaming cups of Moroccan mint tea. In Ouarzazate, the “Gateway to the Sahara,” the scent of saffron mingles with the bustling energy of the souks, enticing visitors with its siren song of exotic flavors.

Beyond the Plate

But saffron’s allure extends far beyond the kitchen. Revered for its medicinal properties for millennia, it’s believed to possess mood-boosting and even aphrodisiac qualities. And for the Amazigh people of Taliouine, saffron cultivation is not just a livelihood, it’s a legacy passed down through generations, a thread woven into the very fabric of their culture.

A Sustainable Oasis

Today, sustainable tourism is blossoming in Ouarzazate, offering visitors a glimpse into the world of saffron cultivation. Eco-lodges nestled amidst the Jbel Siroua peaks invite travelers to experience the rhythms of Berber life, learn the secrets of saffron harvesting, and savor the vibrant flavors of authentic Moroccan cuisine.

So, if you’re seeking an adventure that goes beyond the postcard sights, a journey that awakens your senses and nourishes your soul, then let the scent of saffron be your guide. Venture into the sun-kissed slopes of Jbel Siroua, discover the liquid gold of Morocco, and experience the magic that unfolds where tradition meets adventure.

Embrace the Enchantment:

  • Taste the magic: Savor saffron-infused dishes in a traditional Amazigh homestay.
  • Learn the art: Join a saffron harvesting workshop and discover the secrets of this precious spice.
  • Explore the souks: Hunt for hidden treasures amidst the vibrant stalls of Ouarzazate’s Souk.
  • Hike the Jbel Siroua: Trek through the dramatic mountain landscapes and breathe in the fresh air infused with the aroma of saffron.
  • Connect with the culture: Immerse yourself in the welcoming hospitality of the Amazigh people and learn about their unique way of life.

Where to buy Saffron Spice

Whether you are driving through Taliouine town or hiking over Jbel Siroua mountain, you are in saffron’s land. You can buy saffron in the local cooperative in town or directly from the people in their homes. If you are in Ouarzazate, you can find saffron spice in the Ouarzazate center market.

© Ouarzazate City 2024