Roses in the kitchen
Rose dishes and rose confections
Nova Gorica is a town of roses. Perhaps it's no coincidence that the youngest town in Slovenia – built only after WW2 – chose the elegant rose as its symbol. Roses are planted in every park and on every lawn of this border town, making for a beautiful urban garden design feature.
Kostanjevica, located on an elevation above the town, is also closely connected to roses. Again, this is no coincidence. The Franciscan Monastery in Kostanjevica is considered to be one of the greatest cultural sites in Nova Gorica, and is famous for the crypt of the Bourbon dynasty, holding the remains of the last King of France and his descendants. In this vein, the monastery garden features a remarkable collection of ancient Bourbon roses. This collection of the nearly extinct precursors of modern roses is among the biggest in the world.
However, roses are much more than just sheer decorative elements in Nova Gorica. The town is noted for its fine dining offer which draws some of its inspiration from the old-world glamour of roses.
In many cultures this magnificent bloom is said to hold mysterious powers and is imbued with rich symbolism. According to herbalists and healers it is a high vibration flower that heals body and soul. It can be used for decoration and inspiration, as a perfume, beauty preparation, medicine, tasty edible garnish and beneficial herb. For centuries the Arabs and French have been making famously fragrant rose syrups, tees, infusions, jams and much more. It makes sense then that roses also made their way to haute cuisine and rose dishes elevate the menus of local fine dining establishments. Roses add colour, fragrance and flavour to the plate. The most sought-after for culinary purposes are heirloom roses with the highest content of rose oil, most notably the Damask rose which is the precursor of the Bourbon rose. Even though the word rose brings to mind sweet dishes, roses as an ingredient or spice, fresh or dried, can be incorporated into a range of hearty dishes. *
Rose dishes are featured in the menus of many upscale restaurants and cosy inns in the region of Goriška. Especially during the Rose Festival in Nova Gorica, which delights visitors from the end of April until the end of May, there will be a remarkable repertoire of exquisite rose dishes available. Be surprised at the ease and skill of chefs as they combine local ingredients with delicate roses and come up with perfect pairings with the local wines from Vipava. Ravioli on a cream of roses, rose gnocchi, rose štruklji, rose ice cream etc. One should definitely taste the beauty of the rose.
A sweet highlight are the Bourbon rose pralines (burbončica) – a chocolate confection coated with dried rose petals for a sinful melt-in-your-mouth treat. The pralines are a gift to Nova Gorica on occasion of its 70th anniversary, and derive their name from the Bourbon roses that bloom in the rosary of the Kostanjevica monastery. The rose-coated chocolate pralines are available in the Tourist Information Centre Nova Gorica.
Inns and restaurants with an offering of rose dishes during the Rose Festival:
- Bar Rosa, Hotel Park
- Dolce Vita, Hotel Perla
- Gostilna pri hrastu
- Gostilna Termika
- Gostilna Winkler
- Hotel Sabotin
- Ošterija Branik
- Ošterija Žogica
- Vinoteka Solum
Information: TIC Nova Gorica
KOGEJ, Katja. 2018. Vrtnica – tokrat v kuhinji. (Article in Slovenian)