Anyone who’s reading this probably has bought or received a bouquet of roses at some point in their lives. For many of us that’s as far as our relationship with roses go. But rose comes in many shapes, forms, and sizes, sometimes in beautifully-packaged boxes as candy, sometimes on top of a cone as a tasty ice-cream flavor. With May marking the season of roses, we have put together a list of the best rose products you can find in Istanbul. Take a look, pick a few, and walk into the world of roses.
Rose tea: You’ve heard about the famous apple tea, and probably bought it at the Egyptian Bazaar. You’ve drank brewed tea at most of the restaurants that you’ve been to in Istanbul. But you probably haven’t tried out rose tea, which not only looks absolutely romantic but also tastes great. Buy a bag of dried rose buds (you can get 100gr for 15 TL at Arifoğlu, and can find it at Zencefil Aktar as well), add 2-3 buds into a cup of boiling water. Let it brew for a few minutes and enjoy.
Rose Flavored Turkish Delight: Pistachio-filled Turkish Delights are to die for. No question there. But the rose-flavored ones, with their pink jelly-cious interior and dusty exterior make a delicate, elegant, and delicious little dessert. Only for 7 TL a box at Malatya Pazarı.
Rose jam: Have it for breakfast with cheese, add a spoonful in yogurt for a sweet snack, or top it on top of a piece of buttery bread for a lighter dessert. Buy a jar for 6 TL at Kafkas and savor it the way you like.
Rose water: Rose water is used for cooking as well as skin care. Rose is very beneficial for the skin as it has rejuvenating qualities. You can buy the all-natural Rosense brand rosewater for 9.90 TL at Arifoğlu and use it as your daily skin care product. (Rosense brand carries a range of other rose products for skin and body care.) Cihangir’s Vie En Rose is sort of a modern-day apothecary selling essential oils, soaps, and creams, and rose is the primary ingredient used in their products. Take your pick from their range, from organic rose water to rose cream and rose facial scrub (20 - 40TL). You can also find a variety of rose products for skin and body care, such as massage and body oil, Japanese incense, hand wash, body lotion, bath salt, and soap (15 TL - 85 TL) at Simple Life.
Gülabdan: Gülabdan is an Ottoman-era pear-shaped bottle, often made of silver or ceramics, which was used to pour or sprinkle rose water. An almost forgotten object today, during Ottoman times, gülabdan was used to offer rose water to houseguests, a revered tradition at the time. You may not necessarily use it for the same purpose now, but it certainly makes for a great decorative object or gift. You can find it at silverware stores at the Grand Bazaar, such as Süren Gümüşçü, or you can search for it at antique stores. Paşabahçe also has one in their Ottoman collection (it’s a limited edition). The prices for gülabdan are quite high, ranging around 400-600 TL.
Rose Candle: Lokum Istanbul is famous the world over, especially for its Turkish delights. (And this is no exaggeration considering its first international branch opened in London a few months ago.) Among the unique range of scents of Lokum’s candles, you’ll find what’s called Rumi’s Rose, sold for 35 TL. Light it up, inhale the rose in, and relax. While you’re shopping at Lokum Istanbul, make sure you take a look at their rose-flavored akide şekeri (traditional hard candy), sold for 48 TL.
Rose-flavored ice-cream: Move the chocolate, the vanilla, and the caramel aside, and go straight for the rose next time you’re out for a cone of ice-cream. We suggest you head to Istanbul Culinary Institute’s restaurant Enstitü, or to Bebek’s organic ice-cream shop Migone for a scoop.
Rose Parfait: Müzedechanga is an Istanbul classic, and now that the weather is warm enough, it’s the perfect spot for a rose dessert. Next time you’re there, try their Wafer Halva and Rose Parfait Sandwich with Strawberry & Raspberry Sauce – it’s a perfect mix of crunchiness, coolness, and sweetness. (Available only during summer, starting in June.)
Rose Petal Pudding Recipe: Try your hand at a dish made of roses. This Rose Petal Pudding Recipe, by Gönül Paksoy, is a beautifully-presented, tasty delight perfect for summer parties.