Bringing the Taste of Tehran to Irvine: Saffron & Rose Ice Cream

Minnah Tanzeen, Staff Writer

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From classic vanilla to rich chocolate and the advent of more modern American favorites like mint chocolate chip and Oreo, ice cream endures as a constant in the long cycle of dessert fads in America. Saffron & Rose, a local Persian ice-cream store, thrives in the diverse dessert culture of Irvine.

The ice cream store offers a unique and authentically Persian range of flavors in three categories: floral, fruity and chocolate and nutty. It expanded from its first location in Westwood, Los Angeles to a storefront on 4523 Campus Dr. near the University of California, Irvine

“Mostly [the store] was just popular in a community of people in Little Armenia,” employee Marilyn Araujo said. “It’s a mom-and-pop shop, and I think the flavors are very unique, and they’re made with all natural ingredients. That’s what sets the store apart from others.”

From the flavors, I selected saffron and pistachio, the store’s most popular flavor, as well as white rose, orange blossom and watermelon. Other unconventional flavors include ginger, jasmine and the Persian classic, faloodeh, which is made of vermicelli noodles in a frozen sugar syrup.

The bright yellow saffron and pistachio flavor was by far the best. The creaminess of the ice-cream flavored with the rich saffron that tasted like honey was delightful, and the salty nuttiness of the pistachio complemented it perfectly. Surprisingly, neither the saffron nor pistachio flavors overpowered each other but instead combined to make a flavor of ice-cream as delicious as it is exotic.

I was pleasantly surprised by Saffron & Rose’s rendition of rose ice cream. The ice cream had a creamy, gelato-like texture, which I learned is more common in their floral-flavored ice creams. The fragrant rose smelled somewhat like perfume and captured the flavor perfectly.

Contrastingly, I found the watermelon flavor to be much too sweet, erasing the refreshing flavor associated with the fruit. But the orange blossom flavor certainly changed that because its slightly bitter aftertaste was new to me, but it was refreshing nevertheless.

Saffron & Rose managed to perfectly capture the authenticity of Persian flavors in a delicious frozen treat . And with prices at $6 for three large scoops, Saffron & Rose’s affordability makes it a must-try for anyone in Orange County.