Wild fennel pollen is pollen from wild fennel that is used as a garnish. It is pale green and slightly crunchy, with a delicate fragrance and a flavour of mild anise that is also mildly sweet.
Wild fennel looks something like dill, in that it has the same type of feathery leaves, and tiny yellow flowers that grow in an umbrella-like cluster.
Wild fennel pollen is mostly harvested in Tuscany, Italy from wild fennel plants. The flowers are harvested before they go to seed, and then crushed to make them release their pollen.
It is also harvested now in California, though from a different variety of wild fennel. The fennel in Italy is genuinely wild fennel, known as “bitter.” The wild fennel in California is “sweet” fennel, fennel that escaped from gardens and turned wild.
Wild Fennel Pollen costs about $200 US a pound (450g), 2006 prices.