Best Culinary Fragrances: Most sensual place to perfume your food
Middle East Market
2054 San Pablo Ave.
On the shelves at the back of this market is a long row of flower waters that chefs throughout the Middle East use to flavor sweets and drinks. Think rosewater, heady or cloying depending on its strength, or orangeflower water, whose ability to summon up a summer garden in the evening is positively hallucinogenic. But have you heard of sweetbriar water? How about chicory endive, or the truly compelling "fumitory water"? At prices somewhere between $2 and $4 a pop, you can collect a bouquet of smells to perfume sugar syrups that you brush on flaky phyllo pastries, add to ice tea, or freeze into exotic granitas. Or just dab a little behind your ears and see what honeybees you attract.