Krokos Kozanis, the gold of Greek land as it is called, is one of the most popular and precious spices of the ancient cultures, on account of its essence, colour, pharmaceutical and aphrodisiac qualities. Cleopatra used it in her cosmetics, the ancient Finicians in their offers to goddess Astarte. Homer mentions it in his scripts while it is also found in the Old Testament.
Its history in modern Greece starts when merchants of Kozani carry it from Austria, in the 17th century. For three hundred years Krokos has been cultivated and grown under the sun of Macedonia, in a region that includes many small villages of the Kozani Prefecture.
The inhabitants of the area plant Krokos in the summer and in the autumn remove by the hand the valuable stigmata of the beautiful flower and carefully dry it. It takes about 150.000 flowers to produce 1.000 grammars of red saffron. Krokos Kozanis or saffron or zafora as it is usually called, belongs to the best quality of saffron in the world.
The Compulsory Agricultural Cooperative of Krokos Growers was funded in 1971 and in consited of 1000 members, all od which come from mulicipalities of Kozani Prefecture. The of the Cooperative is located 5 kilometres south from the city of Kozani, in the Krokos village.
The founding of the Cooperative created a body that has the complete responsibility of collecting, processing, packing and distributing the product in order to ensure its quality and to avoid the adulteration that was done by the traders in the past, resulting in the degradation and negative image of the product.
Appreciation of European products
The Kozani Saffron Producers Cooperative has gained quality assurance certificate ISO 9001 in 1997 and it has developed a certified organic cultivation of saffron.
In addition, the name “KROKOS KOZANIS” is registered as Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).
EU legislation sets strict criteria guaranteeing the standards of all European products.
Key figures on European quality policy are the Common Organization of Markets for agricultural products, the determination of common legislative frameworks of all the EU Member States to define together the specifications, the operating framework and the inspection regime, which ensure that the specifications are common to the whole European market.
Cultivation and production methods meet international and European quality and safety standards. This recognition will diffuse into target markets.
Food safety is a top priority for Europe. The main objective of the European Commission's food safety policy is to ensure a high level of protection of human health and consumer interests relating to food, taking also into account the diversity and the effective functioning of the internal market.
Strict EU rules were tightened in 2000 to ensure that European food is extremely safe EU's integrated approach aims to ensure a high level of food safety, animal health and welfare and plant health in the European Union by taking consistent measures from farm to consumption and proper surveillance.
EU authorities carefully evaluate risk and always seek the best possible scientific advice before prohibiting or allow any product, ingredient, additive or genetically modified organism This dissemination of knowledge will allow consumers to evaluate the EU products, to understand why so much emphasis on food safety is given and thus to lead them buy EU products rather than products imported from other countries.
The aim of the program is enhancing the positive image of European products, between target groups as defined, that have sufficient skills to receive and transmit the program messages.
The signature "Enjoy it's from Europe" will be visible on all communication material produced as part of the communication basis of the action.
The key message will be the Enjoy European Saffron! It will be accompanied by the secondary message Krokos Kozanis PDO the authentic!
Act as an Ambassador of the made in Europe Saffron and promote the awareness of the PDO Quality Scheme. Krokos Kozanis PDO is part of a holistic dietary model originated in the southern Europe. Saffron from Krokos Kozanis, is one of the most beloved and precious ingredients since of ancient cultures because of its aroma, color, pharmaceutical and aphrodisiac properties.
But nowadays its authenticity is based not only to the above specific qualities but also to the Quality mark of PDO that it bears. This logo has added value to the product and has become integral element of its identity. The quality and diversity of the Union’s agricultural production is one of its important strengths, giving a competitive advantage to producers and making a major contribution to EU’s living cultural and gastronomic heritage. Consumers demand for diversified quality products, generates a demand for agricultural products or foodstuffs with identifiable specific characteristics, in particular those linked to their geographical origin.
The established operating quality scheme for producers rewards them for their efforts to produce a diverse range of quality products and can benefit the rural economy. In the example of Krokos Kozanis, the PDO quality scheme has contributed in multiple ways but also the scheme has been benefited by its connection with the product and the same can be said for the other four European saffron that are denominated (Zafferano di Sardegna, Zafferano dell'Aquila Zafferano di San Gimignano and Azafrán de la Mancha).
Recipes with Krokos Kozanis PDO, The Authentic!
In cooking Krokos Kozanis is considered to be a special condiment, not only for its fine spicy savour and its intoxicating scent, but also for its shining yellow colour. The most established fact however is that Krokos stimulates the appetite and mainly corrects the colouring, the smell and the taste of the food. There is a long list of food in which Krokos Kozanis is added while it continues to expand. In this, rice, soups, sauces, pastry foods, vegetables, bread, cakes, dairy products, various alcoholic drinks, etc are included.