Along with fig trees and tufts of lemon verbena, roses were once a constant on Genoa’s balconies and in its gardens. The rose petals would be carefully harvested and steeped to produce a syrup, which was offered to guests in tiny crystal glasses, little bigger than a thimble. Those who did not own rose plants would pick the flowers inland, in the Scrivia Valley, or buy them loose from grocers or florists. A few shops in Genoa still sell them to the handful of Genoese who have continued to make the rose syrup at home, and during the month of May you can still see baskets of red and pink petals for sale next to crates of artichokes and bunches of asparagus.
The best roses are the antique varieties, almost all selected between the end of the 18th and 19th centuries, those voluptuous blooms seen in the lavish floral arrangements of Victorian paintings. It is not clear why this tradition of turning the rose petals in syrup, as well as sweets and preserves, developed specifically in Genoa.
Already Gian Domenico Peri’s 1683 text Il negoziante mentions “the jams and sugar preserves made in Genoa, as good as the best prepared in any other part of the world,” but sadly few individuals and businesses have continued the tradition, with the historic Confetteria Romanengo a notable exception.
The roses for syrup are picked between the middle of May and the first days of June, when the petals are fully open. The recipe is simple: the petals are immersed with a little lemon in water that has previously been brought to the boil. The heat is switched off and the petals are left to macerate for around 24 hours. The water is then strained, with the mass of petals pressed to extract the last few drops, and sugar is added. The liquid is brought to the boil for around 10 minutes, then poured into small bottles.
The product is available all year.
Artemisia, di Emanuela Annetta, Montoggio (Ge), Località Carpi Superiore, 6, tel. +39 347 0579001, firstname.lastname@example.org
Autra, di Alfredo Bagnasco, Savignone (Ge), Via Autra, 2, tel. +39 010 9690992, cell. +39 340 5278201, email@example.com
Antonia Dufour, Gavi (Al), Località Vallegge, 15, tel. +39 010 9861000 – 339 4747093, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bruna di Cinzia Moscerini, Montoggio (Ge), Località Caiasca 1, tel. +39 010 938094, email@example.com
Camporotondo, di Maria Angela Valente, Savignone (Ge), Località Gualdrà, tel. +39 010 9761053, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vivianne Crosa, Savignone (Ge), Piazza della Chiesa 4, tel. 339 5837572, email@example.com
Il Roseto di Francesco Bertuccio, Ronco Scrivia (Ge), Località Malvasi 29, tel. +39 010 9651075 – 349 4705325, firstname.lastname@example.org
Maria Giulia Scolaro, Savignone (Ge), Via Ronchetto 9 a, tel. +39 349 8699372, email@example.com
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Dalpian Il Sottobosco, di Luca Dalpian, Tiglieto (Ge), località Acquabuona, Via Bolla 7, tel. +39 010 929298-347 8481507, email@example.com
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