Fennel pollen is a rare luxury - the tiny dried heads of wild fennel flowers. The spice has a sweeter and far more intense flavour than fennel seeds, meaning that a little goes a long way. Fennel pollen’s nickname – The Spice of Angels – is probably a more appropriate way of labelling the spice. Partly because the smallest pinch of wild fennel pollen can transform a dish with heavenly, honey-aniseed flavours. And also because the name fits with the precious nature of wild fennel pollen. Like saffron, it takes a lot of picking to produce a small amount, making fennel pollen one of the most highly-revered spices there is.
This wild fennel pollen is harvested in accordance to ancient Calabrian tradition. There’s no industrial process to replace the practice of picking the tiny fennel flowers by hand, and then laying them to dry in the sun. In its purest form, fennel pollen is mixed into a pesto and stirred through pasta, or mixed with olive oil and brushed over bread. The honey-aniseed flavours also work wonderfully alongside pork and roast chicken, or sprinkled on salads and vegetables - for the fullest taste, add at the end of cooking as a finishing flavour.