Once Upon a Field
Hi, I’m Parya Zaghand.
While I think of myself as an Aussie, I’m also proud as punch of my Iranian heritage. So much so, in 2013, I created a business built around the mouth-watering delicacies of Persia; bringing you flavours of the real Iran. I wanted to create a space at the table for the golden-petaled spice: Persian Saffron.
Six years later, Saffron Only is all grown up – now a major importer of premium Persian ingredients; harvested, dried and packed, ready to write your food story. Discover Saffron and More.
I’m nitpicky about the origins of each item; where our sun-soaked Saffron grew, how it was harvested and processed, who picked the Rose petals and how the Pistachios were slivered. Sewing the golden thread between East and West, with exotic food, secret history, folk medicine and storytelling; we’re infused in tradition but always open to improvement.
Iran is an all-sensory experience; a kaleidoscope of colours, aromas, flavours, scents and textures, woven into the vibrant food culture of its heartful people. With one foot planted in Iran and the other in Sydney, I have a fire in my belly for sharing the unfiltered Persia through a love of food, travel, culture, art, architecture and nature.
We put a lot of work into our production: a single kilogram of Saffron calls for up to 170,000 flowers. To advocate for our hard-working farmers, female workers and suppliers, we encourage a deep understanding of terroir, processing, quality, packaging and export of our ingredients.
Supporting the women of Iran is a momentous motivation. Seeing how hard Mums, Grandmas and the women in my world worked gave me resolve to shed light on their immense, but mostly unseen contribution. Not able to get an education, marrying young and having next to no visibility – the fact is, without women, the fabric of Persia would undo. Seen as spiritual flowers, it’s women who touch, pick and pack Saffron and Barberries; empowering them to provide for themselves, their families and beyond.
Add a Persian touch to take tastes up a notch: earthy, buttery, nectar-like flavours to elevate your everyday dish, drink or dessert. Learn about the healthful hand our ingredients lend, and how to add a flowery, citrusy, nutty or tangy edge, flavour and feel.
My wonderful team and I collaborate and chat with makers, chefs and manufacturers to come up with new products and dishes and offer technical insights, training, tastings and marketing support. Our products inspire sophisticated foodies; providing particulars about our product providence and telling tales about traditional and contemporary applications.
Explore how Saffron gives Zereshk Polow(Persian jeweled rice) its golden hue, and discover how pistachios feature in the Yalda Festival (the longest night of the year.) We do more than sell products; we explain flavour profiles, show you how to use our ingredients, reveal traditional recipes, winning combinations and magical medicinal properties.
Come on a virtual journey to Persia; it’s the next best thing to being there. For a once-in-a-lifetime journey, join me on our triannual culinary tour to Iran; an immersive harvest-time sensation of out-of-this-world foods and flavours.
We’re here for all walks of life; from food and travel lovers, bulk buyers, distributors and manufacturers to food service trades and intrepid home cooks.
From Iran with Love,
Strengthen, support and share
Food is the pivot point of Persian culture; essential to everything we do, say or think. We keep stories alive to connect you to the cultural and culinary history of the cuisine and illustrate how these magnificent ingredients are used in different parts of Persia. From how cumin seeds are picked, and pomegranates are de-seeded to the Samovar-specific way of brewing Black Persian Tea. Then it’s your turn to weave these colours, flavours, crunch and munch into your food creations.
Tap into Persia’s compared-to-none hospitality, friendliest people, one of the worlds oldest and most sophisticated cultures and mind-blowing places like the dazzling capital of ancient Persia: the incredible city of Isfahan or the World-Heritage listed famous archaeological site of Persepolis, near Shiraz. Rather than reinforce lousy press, we refocus the conversation to its incredible beings, regions and fare. Using Iran’s incredible culinary offerings, world-renowned hospitality and food culture, we cut through media misinformation.
Persia is abounds in flavourful and colourful food, exciting and exotic travel experiences, rich culture and unique art, architecture and stunning nature. It’s bursting with beautiful, thriving, sensorial chaos. Our products have traceable providence from paddock to plate, an inclusive, two-way trade involving everyone who plants, harvests, processes and packs them. We believe a hand-to-hand product chain brings greater quality, authenticity, innovation and collaboration.
We invite you to experiment with our mouth-watering ingredients and delectable dishes and immerse yourself in all the flavours Iran has to offer. Get excited; whether you’re a creative chef or you’re looking to boost your business, our fare is the real deal.
Persian Fare and Food Culture
In Persia, food is life
Food is the feather in the cap of Persian hospitality; sharing your bounty is an essential Iranian belief. During breakfast, we debate what’s for lunch, and at lunch, we make plans for dinner. Food in Iran is anything but ordinary; every ingredient combines to create something spectacular. Spicy, but never hot, fragrant, flavourful, complex and textural. At a Persian table, you’ll find hot Saffron Chicken Kebabs served alongside a Persian herb frittata with barberries and walnuts hiding inside. Tuck into sweet and spicy pairings, like sour & salty pickles, pile of fresh herbs and yoghurt topped with dried rose and mint dust. Wash it down with Saffron and Cardamom Tea, and finish with sweets and tasty fruits. You’ll never be offered only one thing – it’s the combination of dishes that makes each meal magnificent.
The Persian Empire once covered Iran, parts of Macedonia, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia; this complexity and fusion is still found in Persian food culture. Although the influence went both ways, Persian food hasn’t changed much in a couple of millennia, nor has the place it holds in the psyche and heart of its hospitable people.
From a warming aromatic Persian Black Tea to the national passion for Saffron, Persian cuisine is one of the world’s most sophisticated gastronomies. So, if you’re invited to eat at a restaurant or in someone’s home – BYO appetite; add to this the love and exquisite hospitality and the flavour enhances 100 folds! Authentic Persian food takes hours to prepare, and the secret of these rich flavours is in the time and passion that goes into every dish. In Persia, it is vital to make the guest feel welcome at heart and eyes; sharing food is a show of selflessness and love; an invitation to appreciate similarities and eat your way across the cultural divide; try a bit of everything and expect to be overwhelmed by the biggest and most beautiful spread you have ever seen and of course being force fed!
For centuries, Persians have approached their food through a medicinal, philosophical, spiritual and cultural lens. Food is synonymous with cultural events; Persian New Year is bought in with fresh fish and herbed rice, accompanied by aged garlic pickles. Winter solstice (Yalda Night) sees a table crowded with dried fruits, nuts, pomegranate and watermelon, coupled with Hafez poetry readings to warm up your soul and heart. A birth, a marriage, someone’s passing or even something as simple as moving house are all great grounds for a long, communal meal. In Persia, food is personal and meaningful; connected to the mythology and tradition behind each mouthwatering bite.
Investigate ingredients and practice preparing Persian food with our premium products. Slow down and relish the flavours; notes of bitter-sweet Saffron, nectar-like figs and the aromatic freshness of barberries. You haven’t eaten rice until you’ve visited Iran. Try ‘Dizi’, a slow-cooked stew with lots of broth, served in the pot it cooked in, accompanied by mouth watering pickles. Then finish with a Saffron Rice Pudding and a cup of Cinnamon tea while you contemplate what you’re going to eat for breakfast.
Flex your Persian taste muscles; check out our videos, recipes, classes and talks on how to experiment with new dishes, and make our ingredients shine. We’d love to visit your food premises for a chat about how you can feature a Persian-inspired dish on your menu or plan a culinary adventure to Iran with us.
Let’s talk peace break some Sangak, Shirmal, Taftoon, Lavosh or Barbari bread. Share a Persian feast with family and impress your friends.
Strong in strength of character
Iran is incredible and deserves a spot on every Australian’s bucket list; it’s easy – get your visa when you get there, and enter a world of magic. With unbelievably diverse scenery, Iran sports a spectrum of climates: hot and humid in the south, desert dry towards the Afghan border, where our beautiful Saffron and Barberry comes from, moderate maritime conditions in the north and snow-capped mountains near Tehran. These varying conditions have a massive impact on the diversity of food across the country.
With this sundry weather palette, anything grows; from potatoes, wheat and corn to tropical fruits and loads of veggies. The difference is in the soil; herbs are herbs and fruits are fruits, but the flavours are intensified. From fresh seafood and luscious lamb dishes to goat and beef paired with saffron, pistachios, dates and barberries; it’s a land of plenty.
Often misunderstood as unsafe, this couldn’t be further from the real Iran. Its people are genuine, friendly and warm; you don’t know hospitality until you’ve shared tea in a Persian home. You’ll always be welcomed with open arms, your host bursting to show you their world. And the same openness is offered at mosques and shrines; you’ll be embraced and spoiled not shunned.
A paradise for passionate photographers, creative chefs and enthusiastic travellers, Iran’s diversity can be seemingly mysterious (until a local (hint hint!) shows you the way.) But with such contrast comes some of the best food you’ll ever eat and most hospitable people you’ll ever meet – anywhere. With dozens of shops, street food outlets, restaurants and cooking techniques for each speciality; you haven’t lived until you’ve feasted on Fesenjoon: duck stew with pomegranate and walnut sauce. Finish off with Majoun, a local fruit and ice cream thickshake; made with the showmanship of a hipster bartender.
From the magnificent Nasir ol Molk, or ‘Rainbow Pink Mosque,’ in Shiraz, to the modern marvel of the Tabiat Bridge in Tehran or the World Heritage-listed Grand Bazaar of Tabriz, Iran is incomparably rich in architecture.
Put it all together: this place is the pulse of culture, deliciousness and fabulous. For a rare all-sensory experience, put Persia, the heart of the planet earth, on your plate and let the flavours start a ‘what if’ conversation.