Rose Water

Have you ever thought about the process for making Rose Water? My favorite relationship with Rose Water use to be a warm fragrant towel at fancy restaurants. I knew it was used in beauty products, some cuisine and considered a luxury item, but I didn’t know why.

Well, now I do. As you’ll see in this picture I am learning about the process for creating and distilling Rose Water at a fancy Lebanese market in Dubai. They fill the bottom section above the flame with water and rose petals. The steam and condensation is captured in the top section and drips down the spout. It can take a few days to a week to fill a jug and then they put the jug in a dark place for three months in order to enhance (similar to ferment) the richness of the flavor and scent. This was explained in broken English, so I think I have that right. Wow!

Well, in order to make Rose Petal Truffles for the Feb. 12 TEST NEST, I needed to buy Rose Water. It just so happened that this quest fell on the biggest blizzard of the season, so I called quite a few locations before trekking out. I called Zabars, Whole Foods and Citarella who were all out of stock. I called Fairway and they said they had some, but I had also called a couple Middle Eastern markets. Fairway was the first stop, and they lead me to their beauty section. They had rose water, but it just didn’t seem right to me. It read like it was water with rose extract rather than distilled. I ended up going down to Kalustyan market in Little India on the East Side. There I found quite a few options for Rose Water, including one that I felt was the real deal (and had been made and shipped from Lebanon). I decided to also buy Orange Blossom Water while I was there, so my pantry is stocked. I also learned in Dubai that Muslims will use rose water as a substitute for wine and alcohol in recipes – so I’ll have to give that a try in the future.

Kalustyan is a great location for spices and original ingredients for most Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. I also found yuca flour which is the key ingredient for making Cunape, a special bread that I ate almost every day when living in Bolivia, but I’ve never been able to find it before. Go check it out.

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