This is Highly Recommend, a column dedicated to what people in the food industry are obsessed with eating, drinking, and buying right now.
My bedtime routine starts with candy. Every night before I even change into my pajamas, I reach for a box of Rose Hibiscus Delights. The Turkish-delight-inspired gummies each have 10 milligrams of CBD (cannabidiol), and though they aren’t marketed as a sleep aid, the confections from Rose Los Angeles help me relax into a deep, peaceful slumber. As a light sleeper and a prior insomniac, I’ve tried many methods to lull myself to sleep, including melatonin, warm milk with honey, and even buying new pillows. None have been as effective as good ol’ CBD.
I first tried CBD-infused candy last summer, when a friend who was experimenting with homemade edibles gave me a few to try. I took one before bed with zero expectations and found myself sleeping a blissful 10 hours. Not even the traffic of New York City and the sirens from the fire station across the street woke me. When I heard about Rose Los Angeles on an episode of Gastropod, I knew I had to try the company’s products—and I haven’t looked back since.
Flavored with rosewater and hibiscus powder, the Rose Hibiscus Delights are floral and slightly tart, with bright, fruity notes reminiscent of pomegranate and cranberries—like a fun cocktail I’d drink during happy hour. Each pastel pink box is filled with 20 neatly cubed candies, all lightly dusted in tapioca starch and powdered sugar. While most edible companies use distilled THC or CBD to make their products, Rose makes its sweets with rosin from organically grown whole cannabis flowers that they extract in-house using a hydraulic press.
On the episode of Gastropod, Rose Los Angeles founder Nathan Cozzolino describes the conventional process—which involves rinsing cannabis flowers with ethanol or butane before it’s refined into a distillate—as one “that destroys a lot of the natural chemical compounds of the plant.” According to Rose’s site, their method of extracting flower rosin between two lightly heated plates helps to “preserve the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other beneficial chemical compounds natural to the plant.” They say that as a result their products provide a more dynamic and therapeutic experience.
Rose describes themselves as an ingredient-driven company; they source their raw materials directly from local farmers and their own farm in Penn Valley, California, and work closely with chefs to create seasonal edibles that are available for a limited time. Other products include the Apple Ume Ginger and Deep Sleep, a vanilla-scented gummy made with sweet, tart mulberries.
In the past the company has also collaborated with chefs Enrique Olvera, Natasha Pickowicz, and former Bon Appétit editor Andy Baraghani on limited-edition flavors. With ingredients like foraged mushrooms, Meyer lemons, and mezcal-poached pears, their products sound more like a farm-to-table menu and are as delicious as you’d expect them to be. One of my favorites, the Nünchi Boba Mixed Citrus Oolong Delights, is made in partnership with baker and artist Lexie Park and contains two kinds of gummies. The first is perfumed with bergamot and made with California oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, and the second is a sweet, earthy oolong. Eaten together, the two gummies evoke the experience of enjoying fruity bubble tea. But the tangy, floral Rose Hibiscus Delights are my favorite flavor and the edibles I keep returning to. The only thing more delicious than their gummies? The eight uninterrupted hours of sleep I get each night after my bedtime snack.