Rose Water Series: Rose Water In The Arab World
In our final installment of this series, we wanted to explore more deeply, the uses and popularity of rose water in many parts of the Arab world. This includes places like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. Our rose water specifically is made and imported from Saudi Arabia. Just outside Mecca in the city of Taif, there are valleys and mountains with blooming roses fit for the production of rose water.
Taif produces the rose water and sends it around the world for consumption. However most importantly, the City of Roses, as Taif is known, sends their rose water to be used for the cleansing of the Kaba doors and the area of the haram. This is becoming more common in recent years as Taif refines and increases its production of rose water.
Much like Turkey and Iran, rose water has more common and daily uses in the Arab world too. It’s a large part of many cuisines like in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Egypt where it is commonly used on desserts like baklava, katayif, kunafa and awamat. In the Arabian Gulf, traditional dishes like balaleet will also have rose water in it. It is a popular breakfast dish, which consists of vermicelli sweetened with sugar, cardamom, rose water and saffron, and served over an egg omelette. It’s also common to see balaleet served during holidays.
As part of the Arab hospitality tradition it is common in certain Arab cultures to spray some rose water in the palms of guests visiting your home as they enter as a way to welcome them, especially in Ramadan and Eid. Guests can also use rose water on their hands after eating to get rid of the smell of food. Also in Ramadan, people break their fast by sipping rosewater at sunset. It is also served as a gourmet drink in high end Arab restaurants in many countries. You can also see it served with ice cold hibiscus drinks, especially in the summer. Many Arab households that use water coolers instead of tap and store bought water will also add a few drops of rose water to the cooler to add a refreshing, floral taste to the water.
As you may have already read in our Turkey blog about rose water, you’ll notice that similar to Turkish women, Arab women have also used it as part of a skin or beautification routine. This has been done for centuries. At times, women will dab their face with rose water soaked cotton after washing their face to keep their skin healthy and fresh.
Taif Rose Festival 2019
Rose water is produced in several Arab countries like Egypt and Lebanon in addition to Saudi Arabia. However, Taif’s roses are special in their own way. Many of the roses used in Taif today were brought over from Balkan countries and Turkey in the mid-14th century by people who wanted to grow roses within the proximity of Mecca. Today, many visitors from around the Arab world, specifically nearby countries like the UAE, will bring back this rose water as a gift for family and friends back home.
But if you are unable to go there, these days especially, you can always purchase our rose water right here on our website. Just one click away and you can have some of the world’s best rose water right at your fingertips!