Insta-Living Vol. 15: Café Blanc


It has been some time since my last Insta-Living post and given the transition in seasons, late-summer foodie memories came to mind. As a little girl, I could always smell something good cooking or baking in the kitchen. The initial aromas themselves were ones that would pleasantly wake any child out of bed, or smells that would seem to even bring smiles to the neighbours' faces miles away. 

The aroma of fresh baked bread was a regular note-worthy fume travelling through the hallways. Although it wasn't until I was about ten that I could distinguish just by the smell exactly the kind of bread my mother was baking or what herbs were being used before it was ready. On occasions when the succulent baked goods weren't for clients, my siblings and I would rejoice to partake in the culinary experience together.   

In the spring, hand pies with seasonal fruit or savoury pasties were a favourite because they could be divulged on-the-go during family day excursions. Come summertime, my mum would make various fruit-infused drinks for us. When I got older to do travelling on my own, there was one drink that stuck with me and reminded me of warm summers in the countryside. It was hot sips of orange blossom water (’white coffee’) or as the French would call, "café blanc," sweetened with a touch of honey.  

Orange blossom water has neroli essence oil, created by water distillation of blossoms from the bitter orange tree, Citrus aurantiumUse this aromatic water in desserts, savoury dishes, puddings and more. I often use a bit in plain yoghurt to add extra flavour. 

I've made a Turkish tea before with rose water but wanted to do something with the orange blossom water that I haddecided to make several treats: a tea cake, cinnamon rolls, and this 'white coffee' which actually has no caffeine in it at all—a tad misnomer indeed. This is typically served hot simply with splashes of orange blossom (orange flower) water. To say the least, this drink is one to render a couple of smileor three on a warm day. I personally enjoy it after a meal or when I fancy something other than chamomile tea at night, and I like it with a dash of milk. 

If you want to savour those fond memories of summer, this tea is ideal! It's powerful enough to tingle your senses yet not benumbing in any way. I find it to be the perfect palate cleansing substance as it's mild, refreshing and comforts your taste buds with a light and lingering perfumed aftertaste of citrus with a hint of spice. It's ideal for people who aren't coffee drinkers and this is served instead. 

I put my own spin on this traditionally Lebanese drink (ahwah baidaby making it iced, then I added fresh herbs and zest of two different oranges as well. The drink is also generally delighted in various parts of the Middle East. I typically like to drink this hot however, I have been drinking it cold lately, and it's especially good if yearning for a chilled (alcoholic-freerefresher. It's also quite good as a finisher for serving at dinner parties, by the way!  

Have you had white coffee before? Get my recipe for this rosemary version. 

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