As a lover of 1) Persian food and 2) ice cream, I was delighted by the prospect of sampling Persian ice cream for the first time. I had heard that it was altogether unlike American ice cream or gelato and was curious to experience the difference for myself.
Located on Westwood Boulevard--home to many Persian restaurants and stores--Saffron & Rose Ice Cream is a small shop that offers around 15 flavors of home-made Persian ice cream. Working from a generations-old family recipe, manager Michael Kash and his father use saffron as the ice cream's key ingredient and, to this, add hormone-free milk and fresh ingredients such as fruit and nuts.
When it comes to visiting ethnic restaurants, I am of the mind that, the less written in English and the less I understand, the better--both because the food is more likely to be more authentic and because I love being thrown out of my comfort zone and learning about other cultures. I particularly liked that Saffron and Rose's neon signs and much of the signage in the restaurant were in Farsi.
Saffron and Rose offers several different sizes-- small (one scoop, $2.50), medium (two scoops, $4.00), large (three scoops, $5.25) and XL (four scoops, didn't get this price). You can order your ice cream in a cup, a cone or as an ice cream sandwich with two thin wafers.
These are only two of the three ice cream cases. There is a wonderful mix of exotic and more traditional flavors, and they are very accommodating about giving generous samples of all the flavors you'd like. No one will criticize you as a "sample abuser" here.
After trying the mixed berry, passionfruit, guava and white rose, I ordered a scoop of the white rose. All I can say is, "Oh. My. God." I don't remember the last time something I ate for the first time made me this happy! The saffron lends an incredible, sweet, lavender-y taste to the ice cream that is, in fact, unlike any type of other ice cream. The texture is also different than that of other ice creams--uniquely thick and somewhat sticky. The rose flavor was perfect--not too overpowering like I found the rose macaron at Jin Patisserie to be.
My face must have said it all because a woman in the shop who was clearly a regular joked, "You must be half Persian!" She also suggested that I try the saffron and pistachio, which is the most traditional flavor and a favorite among Persians.
After I finished my scoop, I almost bought another one, and I am not joking!
Saffron & Rose also sells its ice cream to-go. I will definitely be back to grab a container (or two) soon.
The only thing I regret about my trip to Saffron & Rose Ice Cream is that I was too full from dinner to order two scoops because the guava was also absolutely fantastic. I have found my new (complete and utter) obsession and am already plotting my return...as in as soon as possible.
Saffron & Rose Ice Cream
1387 Westwood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 477- 5533