Imagine for a moment, if you will, that you are standing in a sunlit garden. The air is warm and heavy. You can hear the humming of bees and the wind moving here and there through the leaves. And standing just before you is a rose bush. Perhaps the petals are crimson. Perhaps they are apricot. Perhaps they are the palest shade of pink. You touch the petals -- they are like crushed velvet against your fingertips. Now, tip yourself forward and press your nose against the bloom. Inhale deeply.
I need not describe the scent. I need not describe how it will make you feel. Just imagining the rose, your breathing has probably slowed and deepened. The arteries and capillaries delivering blood throughout your body have opened, reducing your blood pressure. Your heart rate has fallen. Your body has relaxed. And all of these physiological changes have occurred simply through the thought of a rose. Such is this flower's immense power over us.
The favorite of poets and romantics since time immemorial, the rose has always been the flower of love and beauty; any lover worth their salt can tell you that. But medicinal as they are just to look upon and inhale, they also offer a myriad of benefits when taken internally. The petals, packed with antioxidant bioflavanoids, are cooling to the body and mind. They help to clear out signs of inflammation and heat such as anger and irritability, fevers, gastritis and heartburn — good for those with too much fire in their constitution. They have an affinity for the nervous system, where they have an uplifting and restorative effect. They are particularly useful for easing signs of depression and helping one through a time of grief and loss. Their astringent action tones tissue and checks excessive secretions. This is helpful in the digestive tract for hyper-acidity states or to ease diarrhea or loose stools — as well as in the female reproductive system, where they can help with heavy bleeding.
In the kitchen, rose petals pair well with chocolate, dairy, stone fruits and berries and are often used to flavor ice-creams, cakes and cookies. In traditional Persian cooking they are often paired with honey, pistachios, cinnamon and cardamom in sweets and are used to make spice blends such as Adveih (made with cumin, cinnamon, and cardamom) that are added to pilafs and meats such as lamb. Powdered rose petals or rose water can be added to smoothies, whisked into warm milk or sprinkled over sweet dishes. Fresh rose petals can also be mixed with honey and used as a jam.
They bring that luscious, intoxicating scent to whatever dish they are added to and what better friend can the rose have than chocolate?
Make these decadent truffles for someone you love (which might very well include yourself).
Chocolate Rose Truffles
Makes about 20 truffles
- 5 oz good quality dark chocolate
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut milk or heavy cream
- ½ cup fresh or ¼ cup dried rose petals
- 1 - 2 teaspoons rose water
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- powdered rose petals (optional)
- Break up the chocolate and place in a bowl.
- Put the coconut milk or cream into a saucepan with the rose petals and place over low heat. Warm gently, stirring occasionally, until the cream is just about to boil. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for 15 - 20 minutes.
- Remove the rose petals from the coconut milk or cream by pouring through a strainer. If the cream has cooled, return to heat and warm until steaming. Add the rose water.
- Pour the coconut milk/ cream and rose water mixture onto the chocolate and stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and you have a thick, shiny mixture.
- Place the bowl into the fridge until the truffle mix is firm enough to handle, about 2 hours.
- Place the cocoa powder into a bowl and line a tray with parchment paper.
Take spoonfuls of the truffle mix and roll into the cocoa. Place on the tray and repeat until you've used up the mix. Sprinkle rose powder over the tops. Store in the fridge and eat within a couple of hours.