The Muslim world today begins the lunar month of Ramadan, which many of us know for its fasting: no food or drink, tobacco, sex or gossip, from sun up to sun down. The idea is to stop focusing on worldly things, to focus on helping others, to have empathy for those without, and to practice self-discipline and kindness. And it lasts a month.
Ramadan is festive all over the world, with late hours, night markets, special foods, and a general conviviality and feeling of celebration. The world comes alive every night after sunset, and it’s an aromatic and gustatory pleasure—and treats like Gazelle Horn Pastries from Morocco—with almonds, orange flower water and cinnamon are found everywhere (even in Brooklyn.) Rosewater is a popular, exquisite taste all over this part of the world, often made into a sugar syrup and drizzled over delicacies like kunafa (hot and oozing fried cheese held in birds nest pastry and fried.) This actually exists, if you’ve never had it.
Other spices and aromatic wonders can be found all over the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, with open air souks wafting great clouds of aroma from the spice markets inside. Anise, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, irises, saffron, mace, turmeric, dried limes, dried roses, fresh chamomile, fresh lavender, chilies, and of course don’t forget agarwood, whose smoke you will pass through, and catch whiffs from peoples garments as they pass. There’s also frankincense, myrrh, and various incense blends and mixes.
We might not have an open air spice market in Manhattan, but we have the next best thing…….essential oils and hydrosol, distilled from these same herbs and spices, and our aromatic tester board will guide your senses by the nose, to a faraway land or all the way home.