Saffron, the world’s most expensive spice, is the small stigma from the purple crocus flower. There are only three stigmas per flower, and it takes several thousand to produce just one ounce of saffron, so you can see that it is very labor intensive, thus: expensive! Used in ancient times medicinally, in coloring cloth, and in cooking, it is widely enjoyed today primarily for flavoring risotto and is a key ingredient in paella and bouillabaisse as well. Use sparingly, a little bit goes a long way.  The taste is complex, and hard to describe – comments usually include “sea”  or “soap” – but you must try it for yourself to understand.