Some time ago, Dr. Tom Jasper discovered Walla and his fondness for meringues. He would show up religiously every Saturday and carefully choose his favourite flavours. Then he would explain to us the unique eating technique that he developed in order to maximize the total savoring experience: ‘The trick,’ he said, ‘is to gently break the fluffy cloud over a bowl, in order not to lose even the smallest crumb – and then, you’re good to go!’ Sharon and I would exchange glances that said – ‘O.M.G, our dentist has developed a sugar addiction!’ Luckily, it looks like Tom is in full control of his cravings, otherwise I would find him knocking on the bakery door long before opening hours.
Being a master rose gardener, with every weekly visit to Walla Tom would bring a beautiful bouquet of fragrant and colorful roses that Sharon would proudly display in a little vase on the counter. By the end of each week the roses would naturally die and I would collect the petals in a basket and allow them to dry. At some point I mentioned this to Tom, saying that eventually I would like to prepare some rose petal jam, the way it was done in my family for generations. He rose (no pun intended) to the challenge, and started to collect the petals from his garden and to store them in freezer bags which he then began to faithfully bring me (he mentioned that his roses are never sprayed with chemicals and can therefore be considered ‘organic’). As Valentine’s Day approached, I began to combine chocolate and roses and to honor these precious, colorful creations from Tom’s garden. The result was a unique flourless chocolate heart with a layer of white chocolate and rose petal ganache, topped with a candied rose petal; and also jars of rose petal jam made with organic sugar and pectin.
Now, after 50 years, I am reminded of my childhood in Romania and my grandmother’s rose petal jam that tasted ‘like a rose garden in your mouth.’ The jam is a complete sensory celebration, involving a vibrant, deep-red color, an intoxicating floral aroma, and the flavour. . . .well, it can’t be said any better: ‘like a rose garden in your mouth.’