Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cooking with your nose

My father is very annoyed about the fact that one of my Balzaquian* sisters still smells her food before tasting, "like a little child sticking her nose in the food, even in public places like restaurants!" he says. It is known for a fact that 60% of taste is in reality aroma, and my sister does not eat if it does not smell good. Smelling the food before eating was a survival tool since the early ages of mankind. Today, some people succeed to do it in a stylish way, some just don't care about what others think like my sis. But fact is, that we all smell the food before tasting it.

[* Balzaquian is a Brazilian slang to women at the age of her late 30's, as referring to La Femme de trinte ans by French novelist Honeré de Balzac  - from the collection La comedie humaine]

Cooking with your Nose

Exploring fragrances beyond perfume bottles has been one of my favorite things. I would never be interested in just making perfume reviews. I love to explore this relationship between the senses, and how a specialist in one sense can adventure himself, and explore other ways to develop this interaction.

It is very exciting to me is when perfumers leave their fragrance projects on the side, and engage in different projects, such as joining the arts of Gastronomy and International Perfumery, by creating a group to produce a cook book with recipes that will tempt the reader's nose, and excite their taste buds. 

La Cuisine des Nez - Flavor & Scent in 46 recipes

La Cuisine des Nez is a compilation of 46 different recipes created by some of the most famous perfumers of the world, and written by both beauty and gourmet editor -  Sabine Chabbert. 
Artichoke salad with bitter orange 

I previewed the book in a French site, and all I can say is that it is magnificent, and it is already on its way to Brazil. CLICK HERE to preview it too. From the book: Carlos Benaim, is described by Sabine as a researcher for new molecules, an explorer of perfumes, and amateur of oriental savors. His shared recipe is a artichoke salad with bitter orange. 

Heston Blumenthal's Drink Me potion  & Glass vial

If you have been watching Heston Blumenthal's Feasts videos at BBC, you saw that the chef is a true master of the interaction of the senses. In the Victorian Feast episode he has developed a special device for his guests, to smell and taste at the same time a cocktail called "Drink Me", that was inspired by the potion served in Alice in Wonderland, with 05 incongruent flavors, with layers of toffee, hot buttered toast, cherry tart, custard and turkey meat (???). (The potion was drank by Alice to shrink and be able to cross the tiny door). His gastronomy & alchemy skills everybody knows already, but this time he created this crazy vial so guests would have a complete taste & smell experience. Needless to say, genius! I simply love Heston's dinners!

Mandy Aftel book & Essential oils for cuisine

One of the most famous natural perfumers of all times, Mandy Aftel, has also explored her skills in the kitchen, by writing a book with chef Daniel Patterson and introducing the use of essential oils in cooking. Cuisine became more fragrant for those who tried their recipes. Have you ever thought that bass goes well with rose? Well, according to these masters, yes it does! 
The name of the book is AROMA - The Magic of Essential Oils in Food & Fragrances.
The good news is that you can also purchase the essential oils from her. The Chef's Essence collection is a project developed by Mandy and sold at her website store, so everyone can have access to high quality essential oils and absolutes, that are 100% safe to be added in food recipes.

Jordi Roca & his version of Trésor by Lancôme

In May 5, 2011 I posted in my facebook the Gastronomy & Perfumery projects of chef Jordi Roca, one of the owners of Spanish restaurant El Celler de Can Roca. The pastry chef who loves to look for fragrances at the nearest Sephora store, goes back to the kitchen and reproduces these scents in form of desserts. One of these famous dishes is his interpretation of the famous Trésor by Lancôme with Japanese loquats, warm peach cream, apricot sorbet with notes of rose, vanilla and honey. He has already recreated Calvin Klein, Dior, Mugler and Hermés.
It all started while Jordi was reading the book Perfume the story of a murder, and one day a box of bergamots arrived at the restaurant. The fragrance coming from the box reminded him of a perfume by Calvin Klein, wore by his brother. The interest for scents awaken by the book, and the aroma of the fruits, gave him the idea of bringing the basic elements(notes) of these fragrances that he loves to the table, in the form of a dessert. Since that day he has already created 18 of these desserts.

The perfume

After the client savors the dessert of choice, Jordi presents the original perfumes in a paper cone infused with the fragrance. 
The restaurant belonging to the Roca family (Jordi, Joan and Josep) is considered one of the most advanced and specialized in olfaction experiences.

Angel 2011 version

As I mentioned already, (click here to read the article)Thierry Mugler was the first perfumer to create in 1992, we call GOURMET FRAGRANCES. Since than we have seen many fragrances with notes of chocolates, marshmallows, cotton candy, truffles, etc... But if you really want to take one step beyond and experience a real gastronomical fragrance, you need to try Serge Luten's Jeux de Peau and Mandy Aftel's Cepes & Tuberose.

Croissants aux amendes 

Jeux de Peau is no exception for Julia Child's theory. After all, according to her "With enough butter, anything is good!". So this fragrance has at least 1/4 of quality butter that is smoothly blended with honey and spices. Than you have the croissant note evoking French boulangeries. Warm and mouth watering, this perfume is a complete brunch experience on the skin. It might sound strange, and I know some of you are at this very moment wondering "who the hell wants to smell like food?"...but I can assure you that the perfume is not just a concept, it is perfectly wearable. 
With notes of roasted bread, licorice, immortelle, spices, apricot, sandalwood, amber, woody notes, incense and osmanthus, you will perceive the spiciness of a blend of spices, followed by the sweeten note of butter and roasted almond coated croissant, and a beautiful flower bouquet, that changes this fragrance from unisex to momentarily feminine. The touch of skin, the sensuality, the smell of French treats, triggers the natural human drive for high energy foods (the butter and croissant) and once you start to smell your arm, it will be very hard to move the nose into another direction. The first time I wore this perfume, I constantly sniffed my arm like a dog sniffing a place where other animals left their odors. It was crazy, even awkward at some point, but very pleasant.
You will find Serge Lutens fragrances at my favorite online shop Essenza Nobile by clicking on his name.

Italian Porcini mushrooms

Another Gastronomic (and here I will not call it gourmet, but gastronomic instead) is Cepes & Tuberose EDP by Aftelier Perfumes (Mandy Aftel). It is one of the most exquisites fougère fragrances that I have ever tried in my life. Specially because I have never thought that mushrooms can be blended with tuberoses, and surprisingly it results in a scent that I have known all my childhood - the smell of humid sauna wood benches! Well, each person has his own fragrant memories! Yes, as funny as it may sound, since I was little I used to lie down inside the sauna. Belly touching the warm wood, arms crossed in front of my body, head facing down, and nose almost touching the wood, I kept smelling the bench inside the sauna, till my dad would tell me it is time to go outside. That would last less than a minute, but as I grew older I could stay in the sauna more, and appreciate this smell for longer periods. We would go to the sauna during the summer and jump into the pool, or during the winter and jump into our pajamas, just before bed time. Cepes & Tuberose contains resins that make me plunge into my childhood in such a way that I have never experienced before in my life, as fragrances are concerned. You will find all Mandy Aftel's fragrances in her website by clicking HERE, or just Cepes & Tuberose by clicking on the link above provided. 

Cepes & Tuberose EDP Spray

But back to the fragrance, you will experience a delicious note of wild porcini mushrooms, with an meaty - earthy - nutty quality that I promise you will never forget! Whiffs of tuberose will bloom from your skin. Sometimes it will standout, sometimes it will become more mentholated and blend in the mushrrom-y notes. To my delight I finally found a tuberose note that I don't relate to the scent of fabric softeners (as I usually do when tuberoses are pronounced in fragrances). There is no waxy-rubbery undertones in Mandy's composition, just a rich sensual tuberose.
The luxurious fragrance of the Moroccan roses are also there. Its petals will unfurl slowly and intensely, bringing a sophisticated aura to the fragrance. But the uniqueness of this perfume is the humid sauna wood bench sub-note. Also very curious is the fact that this fragrant experience is never the same. Sometimes I can perceive the woody soil-like notes more intensely; sometimes the rose and the tuberose are more pronounced. Needless to say that I enjoy both of them equally. The fragrance is striking beautiful. A must have to all perfume passionates. A master piece of liquid art. 

Now I bring you 02 Gastronomy & Perfumery Recipes that will bring you a joyful sensorial experience:

Mango Chutney with cardamom oil

The combination of mango with cardamom gives off an exotic flavor that is very appreciated. This sweet and spiciness blend gives a twist to your starters, main courses and will make your senses travel to exotic lands.
This chutney goes wonderfully with white meat and shellfish. For a more sophisticated touch, try adding a touch of chutney on a piece of foie gras on toast and serve warm bread ... A real treat!


700 g of mango
150 ml boiling water
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
125 g golden raisins
150 ml of fruit vinegar
250 g brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 drop Cardamom Essential Oil
Preparation: 60 minutes
Peel mangoes and cut the flesh into small cubes.
In a saucepan, place the mango, water and other ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes, or until mixture is fairly thick and syrupy. Remove from heat, add 1 drop of Cardamom Essential Oil and mix well.
Preserve in pre - sterilized jars (4 months storage/15 days after opening)

Clafoutis d'Abricots with Vanille Bourbon et Petitgrain

The Petitgrain Essential Oil blends perfectly with all yellow-orange fruits, giving them a reminiscent touch of the floral scent of orange blossom. This dessert can also be served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
500 g sliced ripe apricots (fresh or frozen)
3 eggs
60 g fine powdered sugar 
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour BIO
1 vanilla pod split BIO
20 ml milk
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 tablespoon honey
1 pinch salt
3 drops Petitgrain Essential Oil
Preparation: 15 minutes (baking time 50 minutes)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Boil the milk with the vanilla pod. Meanwhile, mix together eggs, sugar, salt and flour. Mix the drops of essential oil of Petitgrain in the tablespoon of honey and add to mixture. Finally pour the milk into the mixture by removing the split vanilla pod, then add the sliced almonds. Place the apricots in layers round baking tray or tart pan, then pour the mixture on top. Bake for 50 minutes. Serve warm!

Question is...what do you love the most: recipes inspired in fragrances or fragrances inspired in gourmet treats?


Ane* Walsh - biocosméticos said...


mandy said...

Simone, I am honored that you loved my unusual pairing of cepes and tuberose in my perfume, and I relished reading about the fond memories you found in its fragrance. Thank you for including me in your wonderful feature on cooking with the nose - I love to see the creative ways that the essences can be used in food and drinks.
- Mandy Aftel

+ Q Perfume Blog said...

Dear Shelley - Thank you dear! You are a fantastic ladies yourself. XX

+ Q Perfume Blog said...

Dear Mandy,
you are the reference to Perfumery!
You are a true artist that knows how to explore the sense of smell lato sensu.
Cepes and Tuberose is so complex, so rich, so unbelievable beautiful that I can't only say that I was speechless because I did succeed to write about it :-)

cheap perfume said...

Perfume are not just popular in our time. The ancients also use perfume to attract the opposite sex and to increase their confidence.

Dimi3 said...

I love that post! Thank you.

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