Friday, 2 October 2015

EXPO 2016 Antalya... Isparta's Roses ! #10

Isparta ... and Roses ...

Here following the familiarization trip to Expo 2016 Antalya and everything related to the interests of this beautiful part of the Turkish Riviera. After to have discovered the Expo site, discussed in detail at the first event day, official visits on the second day, it's time to explore one of the treasures of this region, the flowers, especially roses, those that make the happiness of the greatest perfumers of Grasse, and of course, their clients. Departure early morning to the region of Isparta, 1h30 north of Antalya.

To enter directly into the heart of the subject, our first step will be a field of production of the famous roses, in the mountains. We are fortunate to arrive in full harvest, where operates a family, which explains their method of harvesting. Impressive and fragrant, in a beautiful landscape, really appreciated. Day without school, children of the family are also there to give a helping hand to their parents in a hardworking and friendly atmosphere.

Then we hit the road, towards a cooperative treatment petals of roses harvested. Luck is on our side, it's the festival of the Rose in the city and in Gülbirlik, one of the largest producers and exporters of rose oil in the world (6 cooperatives 8000 rose growers, 4 production sites rose oil, 2 solide production sites).

We are welcomed for a fascinating guided tour of this distillery. We begin by exploring the museum part of this cooperative, which still has an old boiler the last century and old equipment, which have of course been replaced over the years by equipment at the top. But in principle, little has changed, and the extraction of rose oil this always takes place in a traditional and manual way.

Rose Oil.
Rose oil, which is one of the most important and costly raw materials of the perfume and cosmetics industry, is produced by boiling pink roses using the vapor distillation method.
Rose oil of world standard quality is obtained from roses grown in Isparta and its outlying regions located at an altitude of 1050m above sea level and higher. The production season for rose oil commences in May and ends in June when the roses are picked and taken into immediate processing.

Rose Oil Production.
Rose flowers, which are collected evey day in the early morning hours are prepared for processing in 500 kg bundles. Each bundle is then place in boilers filled with 500 litres of water. The covers of the boilers are closes and steam dictillation with a pressure of 2-3 atmosphères is initiated. The condensed oily water is distillated through a thermostat for 70-80 minutes at a temperature of 30-35 degrees. This process is called the first distillation.

We leave Gülbirlik towards another distillery ... but on the way, we stop for a meal in the yurt of a nomadic family, turned into a restaurant. This stop is really appreciated by all, and we can enjoy many traditional dishes, each more delicious than each other, with a homely feeling, but warm and friendly. Everyone agrees that this is one of the best meals of our trip, thanks to its authenticity.


It's time continuing our visits, in a distillery, this time in full operation, allowing us to see these modern materials, where premium stainless steel. The men are at work, we see filling the boiler with pink, a very physical operation under high heat. We are attentive spectators of the slow extraction of the oil of pink, yellow like gold. It's with great pride that we receive explanations for this particular job, and the production of Rose Oil.

This distillery was the last stop of the day, we take the road towards Antalya ... and our hotel.
To be continued…

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