Saffron & cheese

The latest cheese in the Van der Heiden Kaas assortment: Dilano Saffron, Gouda cheese enriched with the king of spices: Negin saffron.

Where does saffron come from?

The saffron is derived from the Crocus Sativus. This is a beautiful, purple crocus with red pistils. These pistils are harvested by hand and then thoroughly dried in drying cabinets. The pistils are categorised based on their quality. Only the most beautiful are pronounced Negin saffron.

In Europe, Negin saffron is recognised through the ISO 3632 Class 1. This is the highest European saffron class. This is emphasised in the chemical analysis 

Where saffron is grown?

The Negin saffron used in our Dilano Saffron is grown in Iran. The Ehtesham family cultivates this king among spices in the vicinity of the city of Qayen. The family has practised this craft for over 150 years. The South Khorasan province, in which the city of Qayen is situated, is famous for the exceptionally high-grade saffron cultivated here.

Saffron name meaning

The name Saffron comes from the Latin ‘safranum’. The Latin ‘safranum’, in turn, comes from the Persian

word زعفران (za’ferân), which finds its origins in the Arabic زَعْفَرَان (za’farān), which is a conjugation of the adjective أَصْفَر (aṣfar), which denotes the colour yellow. That makes sense, since products to which saffron is added develop a deep, yellow-orange colour.

Why is saffron expensive?

The high price of saffron is due to the way this spice is cultivated. The cultivation and harvesting of saffron crocuses (Crocus Sativus) are done by hand. A single flower only has three pistils, which are removed from the flower by hand. Producing 1 kilo of saffron takes about 2850 m2 of soil and 150,000 flowers. On top of that, the saffron can only be harvested once a year, in a period of two weeks in autumn.

What is saffron good for?

For centuries, people have ascribed various health benefits to saffron.

It is frequently claimed that the active substance crocin acts as an antidepressant, antioxidant and aphrodisiac.  However, these benefits have not been scientifically proven yet. Saffron is subjected to extensive (medical) research in a variety of countries.

What is saffron used for?

Saffron can be used in a variety of dishes. Our two favourites are described below.


Risotto alla Milanese

A traditional Italian dish that really lets the saffron shine.

Pairs very well with a glass of white wine!

  • 4 people
  • 30 min.


Bring the stock to a boil, add the saffron and take the pan off the heat.

Add olive oil to a pan. Chop the onion and simmer it for 4 minutes at low heat. Chop and add the garlic. Let the garlic cook for 1 minute.

Add the rice and cook this for 4 minutes. Add the thyme and bay leaf and deglaze with the white wine.

Turn up the heat and wait until the wine has been reduced almost completely.

Add the stock in 3 stages. Only add more stock if the previous addition has almost completely been reduced. Note! Do not stir too much, as this may destroy the grains of rice. Once the stock has been reduced almost fully and the rice is cooked, you can take the pan off the heat.

Remove the bay leaf. Gently stir and add the butter and/or marrow. Once fully incorporated, the Parmesan can be added. The risotto should be slightly fluid.

Season to taste with lemon juice, lemon zest, fresh black pepper and salt. Garnish the risotto with freshly chopped parsley.



0.2 gr. saffron

(60 pistils)

1 l. fish, veal or

shellfish stock

1 shallot

0.5 clove of garlic

50 gr. butter

50 gr. marrow or butter

350 gr. arborio rice

250 ml. white wine

1 tsp. thyme leaves

1 bay leaf

1 lemon

2 tbsp. olive oil

60 gr. Parmesan

1 tbsp. parsley

Pinch of salt & pepper





Roasted eggplant with saffron yoghurt

A healthy flavour explosion from the Middle East.

Pairs very well with a glass of wine!

  • 4 people
  • 30 min


Soak the saffron in 20 ml. of boiled water for 10 minutes. Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Mix the yoghurt with the saffron mixture, cumin and coriander powder.

Season the yoghurt with lemon zest, 2 tbsp. of lemon juice, pepper and salt.

Cut the eggplants lengthwise, then cut a diamond pattern into them. Sprinkle the eggplants with salt and brush with 2 tbsp. of olive oil.

Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a frying pan. Fry the eggplants until golden brown on the interior side. Then fry them for 4 minutes on the peel side. Take the eggplants out of the pan and put them, peel down, on an oven dish. Press the garlic and mix this with the last 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Sprinkle the eggplants with this mixture.

Place the eggplants at the top of the oven for 10 minutes, until fully cooked. Roast the pistachios in a dry pan and finely chop. Finely chop the parsley as well.

Remove the eggplants from the oven and sprinkle them with pomegranate seeds, parsley and chopped pistachio. Serve the dish with a large tablespoon of saffron yoghurt.



0.05 gr. saffron (15 pistils)

1 clove of garlic

250 gr. Turkish yoghurt (10% fat)

2 eggplants

6 tbsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. lemon juice

2 tbsp. pistachios (peeled)

4 tbsp. pomegranate seeds

2 tbsp. parsley

0,5 tsp. cumin powder

0.5 tsp. coriander powder

Pinch of pepper and salt