Saturday, December 18, 2010

Persian Delights

Pariya, a modern day Persian confectioner from down-under, breathes new life into a centuries old tradition
If you’ve ever attended a Persian wedding or a Norouz celebration, commemorating the Persian New Year, then you’ve most likely come across a sweet confectionary tradition dating back centuries. Yet despite this long history, much of Iran’s sweets and pastries have remained relatively unknown to the rest of the world. That may soon change if Pariya has its way.

The Persian confectioner has been one of Iran’s best kept secrets for over four generations, before the family emigrated to Australia in 1987. Today its mouthwatering creations can be found at New York’s haute gourmet temples such as Dean & DeLuca, Zabar, Eli's Manhattan and Bazzini.

Not content with its current success, Pariya is using its global reach to expose a new generation of chefs and consumers to a tantalizing selection of Iranian sweets. It’s offerings include rose buds from Isfahan, sumac and lime-roasted pistachios and hazelnuts, rose and orange blossom water, unusual berries used in cooking, as well as a careful selection of dried fruits and hand-made toffees. These Persian confections come in elegant, simple clear containers that radiate with Easter-egg colors.

Pashmak: This feather-light Persian cotton candy isn’t just for kids. Made from hand-spun sugar, sesame paste and flavorings such as pistachio, rose, vanilla, chocolate and saffron; its rich, soft and delicate texture has been showing up on the dessert menus of top restaurants around the world; often used to garnish cakes and petit fours.

Given the trend amongst chefs at the finest restaurants to serve tufts of house-made flavored cotton candies with their dessert plates, you too can be au courant and impress your own guests by transforming home-made deserts with a few strands or as a garnish on dessert plates.

Persian Nougat: Don’t expect the hard brittle variety when perusing Pariya’s selection of mouthwatering nougats fit for a modern day sultan. In flavors such as pistachio, sour cherry or saffron, these soft chewy nougats glow like pastel-colored gems in their minimalist clear boxes.

Raahat: There are many legends surrounding the creation of Raahat. An Anatolian confectioner arrives in Constantinople with a secret sweetmeat recipe that fast becomes a favorite of Sultan Abdulhamid I and his fashionable ladies, who present the treat to each other in special lace handkerchiefs. Yet whichever romantic vision dances in your head, Turkish Delight or Raahat is a treat that also made its way to Persia and produced a distinct variation.

Pariya has perfected the raahat technique: Cooked too long, raahat becomes too hard; undercooked, it won’t hold its shape when cooled. Yet Pariya’s raahat is an ethereal pairing of corn flour and sugar cooked precisely to yield raahat’s signature silky soft texture; variously flavored with rose petals, citron, coconut, sour cherry, hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios. Its hand-cut cubes are then coated in dried, unsweetened coconut or confectioner’s sugar.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow sounds absolutely delicious!