FROM TALIOUINE TO DAR TALIWINT
The Riad Dar Taliwint takes its name from Taliouine, a little village in the south of Morocco, which is known for being the capital of saffron. Therefore it seems natural to pay tribute to this little corner of the world where the red gold blossoms…
This is a suspended and fragile moment. It contains the whole poetry of dawn.
But is is however crucial!
The first rays of the sun must be absolutely avoided, they could be fatal!
The first signs of daylight will allow the flower corollas to open. The mauve petals of the Crocus Sativius will relax and the three styles and their precious stigmates will appear.
It is urgent not to alterate them, not to lose them!
The gesture must be precise, sharp and delicate at the same time.
IT IS 4 AM , TALIOUINE WAKES UP
End of October, around 4 am, in Taliouine, a village perched at 1500 meters of altitude between Atlas to the north and Anti-Atlas to the south.
In this region, called Souss-Massa-Draâ, between Ouarzazate and Agadir, the mauve carpets of the saffron fields, the yellow ochre of the stone and the earth, the green of the olive trees recall a Fauvist painting.
The old kasbah of the Glaoui, made of rammed earth, still overlooks the valley of oued Zagmouzen.
The climate is arid and the temperatures can be very low in winter.
The Berber women wear warm clothes to work. They all know the importance of their mission: “This culture is our source of life” says one of them.
They bend over to pick up as many flowers as possible, being conscious of the good gesture. Their baskets will be full when they get home.
This is only the start of a very hard and endless day of work.
The whole family will be involved, still out of the light, in the pruning process: extract the pistil (trident-like) from the flower, cut carefully its yellow foot and keep only the priceless red threads. The fingers will turn yellow during this fastidious sorting.
Wrapped in a large cloth, the threads will dry out during a week.
Sometimes an ordinary trunk will be the safe to keep home the production of this red gold that the whole world covets.
DREAM AND REALITY
The saffron from Taliouine has an outstanding safranal content. A good concentration of this element is crucial for the flavour and the medicinal quality of this spice (pain, nervous system, heart rythm, blood flow, digestion, asthma, blood pressure…).
About 1400 families, owners of their small parcel of land, try to make a decent living thanks to the saffron cultivation. But despite the international market prices, which rank saffron among the most expensive products in the world, not any grower has become a millionaire.
A family in Taliouine will produce only a few kilos in a year, knowing that 150 000 flowers are necessary to obtain one kilo of dried saffron.
A Protected Designation of Origin “Safran de Taliouine” has been created in 2010. The yearly “Festival du Safran”, since 2007, adds panache and joy to the activity.
In 2011 His Majesty the King Mohamed VI came to visit Taliouine, lending his royal support to the different sector actors.