British Saffron with Sam Bilton


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On the show today is author, food historian and returning guest Sam Bilton to talk about British Saffron – both growing it and eating it – Sam has a brand new book about to come out called Fool’s Gold A History of British Saffron, published by Prospect Books on 8th September 2022.

We talk about when, where and why saffron was grown in the country, how common it used to be in the British diet, it’s liberal use in the Forme of Cury, using saffron in your own cooking, Saffron as a dye and food colouring, how it was harvested and prepared, gilded chickens and the return of British saffron.

Sam’s book Fool’s Gold A History of British Saffron, published by Prospect Books on 8th September 2022:

Sam’s website:

Find Sam on social media: twitter @sjfbilton; Instagram @mrssbilton

Some UK Saffron producers

Sussex Saffron:

The Cheshire Saffron Company:

The Cornish Saffron Company:

Norfolk Saffron:

Neil’s book A Dark History of Sugar is available now from all bookshops as well as from the publisher Pen & Sword:

If you want to buy a signed copy directly from Neil for £18 + postage (£2.85 if within the UK, the going rate if outside!). Contact him via email or social media if you fancy it (see below).

Also, don’t forget if you have any questions or queries about today’s episode, or indeed any episode, or have a question about the history of British food please email Neil at, or find me on twitter @neilbuttery, or Instagram dr_neil_buttery my DMs are open.

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