3.0 oz - Morocco
Rose water is a distillation of rose petals that has the intensely perfumy flavor and fragrance of its source. Rose water has been a popular flavoring for millennia in the cuisines of North Africa, Middle East, India and China. Morocco is especially know for its fields of roses that are used to produce some of the most fragrant rose water available - indeed, some "French" rose water is produced in Morocco.
Exotic as rose water seems today, many people forget that it was a common and popular flavoring in this country, too, until the ready availability of vanilla extract about a century ago. Until then, rose water and also lemon were used to flavor baked goods, which were often made with ingredients like pork fat and maple sugar (cheaper and easier to obtain than butter and white sugar) -- strong flavors that needed the also strong scents of rose or lemon.
Suggestions for Use
A few drops streaked through cream, crème fraîche, custards, creamed rice puddings, ice cream, baked semolina sweets (popular in Morocco and throughout North Africa), fruit fools, sugar syrups and fruit salads add an element of surprise. It's divine incorporated into sweet Middle Eastern pastries, and a little swirled through Khoshaf, a salad of dried fruit, pistachio nuts and almonds, is heavenly. It is also used in numerous savory dishes.
The trick with both orange blossom water and rose water is to use very little, to give the merest hint of fragrance.
About Rose Water
As early as the third century, essences were made from rose petals using fairly crude methods. It wasn't until the 10th century that Avicenna, an Arab physician, discovered how to extract the essential oil from the flowers and invented rosewater proper. Its popularity with food quickly spread throughout Europe and made its way into both sweet and savory dishes, many of which are still popular today.
Rose water, called "ma ward" in Morocco, and the finest rosebuds are grown on the high central plains of the Dades Valley, and then distilled nearby, usually in El Kelaa des Mgouna. The result is a fragrant elixure with almost no taste.