At Madrid, as I lay my eyes on the paella being dished out by the waiter, I am drawn by its delicate earthy aroma and bright golden tinge, created by saffron. Derived from the Arabic name “zaafaran”, saffron’s color is sacred to Hindus and Buddhists. It is the most expensive spice in the world since it is harvested and processed by hand. Cultivated in Spain, France, Turkey, Iran, Kashmir and the U.S., it is sold as whole threads or ground. With a deep burgundy to yellowish orange color, it possesses a floral bouquet with warm earthy notes. Found in bouillabaisse, zarzuela de pescado, paella, risotto Milanese or zafran pollous, saffron is also added to biryanis, desserts and yogurt drinks in India.