Fragrant Waters: Rosewater and Orange-Flower Water

One beverage that was introduced by the Arabs to Morocco centuries ago is water perfumed with fragrant fumes. Moroccans use rosewater and orange-flower water to flavour beverages, sweets, certain tagines and salads. Both are sold in Middle Eastern markets and large supermarkets.

Rosewater, called ma ward, is distilled from the intensely fragrant rosebuds collected in the pre-Saharan oasis of el Kalaa-M’Gouna in the Valley of Dades. In Morocco, it is sold in the souks by the kilo from enormous baskets. Outside of Morocco, rosewater is available in specialty shops, supermarkets and sometimes in pharmacies.

Orange-flower water, also known as orange-blossom-water, is called zhaar in Morocco. It is usually distilled from the flagrant blossoms of the Bergamot orange tree. In the UK, orange-flower water is sold in Middle-Eastern and specialty food shops as well as some supermarkets and liquor stores.