In May and June, roses permeate the air in the kitchens at Romanengo. Roses coming from the gardens in the countryside surrounding Genoa, from convents, small holders and private gardens.The Three varieties of Roses used are: Gallica, Muscosa, and Rugosa and must be grown without the use of pesticides. Genoise “zucchero Rosato” as this product was once known, dates back to the year 600. Prized as a medicinal concoction by ancient Arab doctors, it was said to be refreshing and astringent, useful in treatment for various stomach, throat and gut ailments; qualities that it is still recognized for to this day.
The recipe used at Romanengo hasn’t changed in all that time:
For every 1kg of rose petals, 2.5 kg of sugar is added, the juice of 6 lemons and 1.5 Litres of water. This mixture is crushed and more sugar and water is added, as well as the addition of glucose syrup and then the whole mixture is cooked at 108 degrees.
The resulting product cannot technically be named either a preserve or a ‘pasta di frutta’. It can be eaten as it is or as an aromatic sweetener like honey.