Rose flower water is produced by water distillation from rose flowers. Rose water's delicate floral notes are perfect additions to Middle eastern, Indian and Greek foods and are wonderful accents to delicate French pastry glazes and creams.
First developed in ancient times with damask roses native to Persia [Iran] and Bulgaria, rose flower water has long held sacred importance in religious ceremonies of both the Muslim and Hindu religions. Rose flower water was used by European and American bakers to flavor cakes and cookies until the nineteenth century, when vanilla flavoring became popularly available.
Rose flower water appears today in many Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Indian dessert dishes. In Iranian cuisine, rose water is used in loukoum ["turkish delight" or "Cyprus delight"], in tea, ice cream, cookies and other sweets. In the Arab world and in India, rose water flavors milky dishes like rice pudding and the mango yogurt drink lassi. In Western Europe, rose water (as well as orange flower water) flavors both marzipan and madeleines.
Rose flower water is delicious in creamy tapioca or rice puddings, marries well with most ricotta cheese desserts and Italian sponge cakes and cookies. Baklava wit rose water instead of honey is heavenly! Use rose water as a halal substitute for red wine and other alcohols in cooking.