“Mrmmmm! What,” my guests often ask, “is in this salad?” They sniff the air, opening and closing their mouths in search of the taste. “I feel like–it’s roses! Am I eating roses?” They smile and forage through the fruit for a flower, a rose petal, any hint of its floral presence.
But they don’t find any petals. What they see is a beautiful and luscious pile of fruit, glistening with the dew of…
Yes. The fruit is doused with rosewater.
It’s hard to think of flowers as edible–even though I savor myself candied violets and rose petals, and LOVE anything with lavender in it.
Eating flowers and their essences brings a certain unexpected life to a dish–sometimes in subtle fashion, other times in a very powerful debut. Certain cultures embrace flowers in cuisine; for instance, Indian cuisine has a dessert called gulab jamun with a pastry drowning in rosewater scented syrup. Heaven. And the Middle East claims flowered foods with its incredible rosewater sweets and desserts, like rosewater ice cream and a bastardized but oh so delicious rosewater cake. Yes, roses are not only ornamental, bringing visual pleasure–they can also tickle your tastebuds.
Consider similar uses with violets–used to make syrups and ice creams and candies. Don’t forget orange blossoms and nasturtiums. And of course lavender’s culinary prowess, with its use in cookies, cakes, herbes de provence, and even honey lavender ice cream.
So do you dare to eat a peach? Do you dare to eat a rose? Do you dare to eat a violet, an orange blossom, and lavender?