A fourfold rise in the price of top-grade saffron has forced an award-winning Cornish bakery to cease production of its saffron cakes and buns.

Rob Ead, who runs the Chough Bakery in Padstow with his wife Elaine, said the price rise from £97/kg to £410/kg means it is no longer econo-mical to produce the cakes and buns, which are a speciality of Cornwall.

Ead commented: "We were astonished when our wholesaler Bako Western told us last week about the price rise.

"At present our saffron cakes are £2.40p and our buns are 55p, but we would have to put the price up so much, given the new costs, that it would not be fair to our customers."

The Chough Bakery won first prize at the South West Bakery Championships in 2008 for its saffron cakes. Other bakeries in the area are continuing to make the products, although Ead said that they may be using different grades of saffron.

"We have built our reputation on using top-grade saffron. If the price comes down again, then obviously we will re-start."

A spokesman for Western Bako said: "We understand from our suppliers that the reason for the increase in price is crop scarcity and adverse currency fluctuations.

"The saffron we buy is pure saffron not the derivative or extract, which will be cheaper. Additionally, other companies may still have supplies of saffron in stock, which is why they can afford to hold the price."