Saffron, a spice derived from the heart of a crocus, is the most rare and expensive spice in the world. By weight, it’s more expensive than gold. However, tons of it are consumed by the Swedes this time a year. The thing is that saffron, along with cinnamon, more than anything else, means Christmas in Sweden.
Spices in general have meant a lot for the development of Europe through ages and the discovery of new places in the world (we’re talking about 500 years back), but saffron is one of the most mythical ones. The legends go back thousands of years b.C., and according to them saffron works as aphrodisiac for women, cures deadly illnesses and makes you partly divine if you eat it. Eating a lot of it would make you immortal. For counterfeiting saffron (which, obviously, would be highly profitable) women got buried alive and men got stoned to death.