I'm looking to make Georgian Satsivi (example recipe), which has a complex unique flavour that is hard to describe. The recipe asks for marigold as an ingredient, which I can't find in my area.

I've got no idea what marigold tastes like, but I've got a feeling it's quite important to Satsivi's unique flavour, so I'd prefer to substitute it than just skip it.

I'm looking for a substitute that matches the flavour and I don't mind if the appearance is different. The only relevant discussion I can find speculates that marigold might be used in Georgian cooking for colour as a cheap saffron substitute and suggests tumeric, but that doesn't seem like a great match to satsivi in terms of flavour, and I'm not sure I believe the source.

So, is there anything that tastes similar to marigold?

(and what does marigold taste like, anyway?)

1 Answer 1


Apparently marigold is quite common in Georgian cooking. I found the following excerpt on this page :

Marigold is the "saffron" of Georgia, and although only a little is used, it does make a difference to the colour and flavour. Now, you might think it might be hard to get the spice marigold in Japan, but you would be wrong! I know of at least 3 sources (1) super-premium organic marigold, (2) reasonably priced marigold tea, and (3) super-cheap marigold petals from my favourite spice shop, Ohtsuya (I am sure I saw the powdered spice in their shop, as well).

Most references I found say that marigold has a citrus flavor as noted below from this link :

Marigold (Tagetes tenuifolia - aka T. signata) - The marigold can be used as a substitute for saffron. Also great in salads as they have a citrus flavor.

Also, in looking at recipes for Georgian Satsivi I found several that called for saffron rather than marigold. Personally I would try saffron as I think it would work well with the flavor profile of the sauce.

  • Calling for saffron is probably a translation issue: saffron is what they call the spice made from marigold petals. That said I agree actual saffron will probably work quite well, if you can spare enough.
    – AML
    Dec 21, 2022 at 15:53

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