Friday, February 13, 2009

Lovely & Lively Valentine's Day Celebration Ideas

Dear Fragrant Friends,

Valentine’s Day is just a day away, and if you haven’t figured out how to make this day special for you and your loved ones, here are some ideas for last minute declaration of love. Not that I think that celebrating love and expressing it should be limited to one day a year – there is no need for excuses to give and receive love any other day of the year. Valentine’s Day is just a day where more extravagant displays of emotions that otherwise may seem over-the-top, perhaps even unbelievable, suddenly become socially acceptable, even in the sober and unromantic period where we live in.

As always, I believe it’s the time together and those shared moments that matters more than how much money was spent on gifts. Below are a few ideas of how to make the special people in your life feel loved and cared for, including you!

In this newsletter:

The Art of Giving

"Birthday" by Marc Chagall

Gifts are interesting. They are three fold: the giver, the receiver and their relationship. More than anything else, gifts are indicative of the relationship between two people. When you choose a gift, your decision is affected by all these three factors. On one hand, we tend to select something that also somehow appeals to us or would represent us to the receiver. On the other hand, the gift must be of some use or significance to the person receiving it. At the same time, a gift may indicate to them how we feel about them, thus re-defining your relationship in the future - or assert your existing relationship.

When it comes to perfume – the same rules apply. Scent being a socially accepted gift for a romantic partner can commonly imply such intentions, just as a bouquet of flowers would. And if you are selecting a scent for your partner – this will be a gift that you will both enjoy because the scent lingers in the air in the space you share.

There is much to be said about how to pick a scent for someone. This is an art on its own, even more complex than picking gifts already is in general. Like a genie in a bottle, it can potentially be anything to the person receiving it: beautiful, discussing, sexy, haunting, disturbing, painful or just plain boring.

Which is why I suggest, when it comes to scent to leave it to the experts. And why not have fun yourself while you’re at it? If you know your significant other likes perfume, why not go on a little sniffing expedition together? You will get to know each other better that way, and even have a few laughs. Alternatively, you can schedule an Olfactory Journey for Two, where you can both come to my studio and explore the magical essences from which all my perfumes are made, and be an active participant in creating a scent that represents both of you in harmony.

Red Roses Bath & Massage Oil

Enjoy a bath for two or a sensual massage with a nourishing oil that you’ve scented yourself. This can be simply done, and does not need to be a very complex blend. Just something that you can both enjoy. For an extra touch, light a Roses et Chocolat candle in the bedroom.

Red Roses Bath & Massage Oil

Roses with just a tinge of aphrodisiac nutmeg oil and sensual ylang ylang.

20 gtts Rose Otto
15 gtts Rose Absolute
20 gtts Rose Geranium
5 gtts Ylang Ylang Absolute or Essential Oil (Extra grade)
2 gtts Nutmeg Essential Oil
100ml carrier oil of your choice
2 capsules of Vitamin E

Fill a clean glass bottle with the carrier oil of your choice (i.e.: fast-absorbing fractioned coconut oil, camellia oil, almond oil or jojoba, etc.), or Turkey Red Oil if you intend to use this in the bath only, as it disperses in water.

Add the essences drop by drop using an eye dropper. Stir with a bamboo skewer. Cap and swirl from side to side to let all the essences blend together.

Let the oils age for a week (unless you are in a real hurry!).

For other bath oils ideas check out SmellyBlog DIY Love topics.

Love for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

The following are a few ideas for sensual feasts, large and small, featuring some of the aphrodisiacs mentioned in the previous newsletter.

From time immortal, preparing food for a lover was a form of seduction. And it still is. Even the easiest meals require thought and taking the effort to do so for your loved one is really touching. And of course – if you both like cooking, you can prepare the food together and enjoy each other’s company while you do so; which can take away from the stress of needing to get things ready before your lover arrives.

But before you begin preparing, keep in mind a few things that can make your meal more sensual, seductive and pleasurable: The soft light of candles will allow you to focus on the other senses – smell, touch and taste – and not only savour every bite but also become more aware of your emotions and the connection between you. Light the candles and turn on soft, relaxing music when you are still preparing the last details of the meal. Wear comfortable and sexy clothes that will make you feel beautiful and special.

Immortelle l’Amour Brunch

What a better way to start the day than a delicious breakfast? This
brunch idea includes several aphrodisiacs - caramelized bananas, cut
lengthwise to maintain their suggestive shape, and cinnamon and
cardamom to spice up your love. You can use your own recipes or click on the links that will lead you to one.


Cinnamon Waffles (or French Toast) served with Maple Syrup and Caramelized Bananas Broiled Grapefruit with Cardamom & Honey
Immortelle l’Amour tea served with Maple Syrup

Roses et Chocolat Tea Time

An afternoon tea is a treat for all the people involved: it requires very little preparations (except for the scones and sandwiches, many of the items can be prepared in advance or bought at the store or bakery). Which means that unlike a dinner party, you can actually get to spend time with your guests. The following menu is designed to accompany Roses et Chocolat tea, but any tea you like can be appropriate for a Valentine’s Day afternoon tea. As a tea lover, this is a wonderful way for me to share my love and treat friends and loved ones to really special treats. And of course – the presentation plays a huge role in making a tea party memorable and enjoyable to all the senses. A flower arrangement with red roses will be perfect for this occasion, and you can even spread rose petals on the serving plates or tiered tea trays. This is the time where you can pull out your heart-shaped cookie cutters and use them for making heart-shaped tea sandwiches or shortbread. You can even cut the scones into hearts.

The aphrodisiac components in this tea time don't stop at the rose and chocolate. Cucumbers, for the phallic shape are considered aphrodisiacs; tomatoes are considered aphrodisiacs for their red, full and volputuous shape, and mint and basil awaken the passion with their fresh, spicy aroma.

Tea Served: Roses et Chocolat

1st Tier

2nd Tier:

  • Plain scones

  • Devonshire Cream

  • Rose petal jam (handmade or purchased - this can be also found in many Middle Eastern or Balkan sepcialty shops)

  • Raspberry or Strawberry Jam

3rd Tier:

  • Chocolate-dipped strawberries

  • Blood Truffles

    Korova cookies (Paris Sweets, p. 6)

  • Strawberry marshmallows or Guimauve (homemade strawberry-rose marshmallows)- recipe can be found on page 133 of Paris Sweets

  • Basboosa, Rahat Loukum (Turkish Delight), baklava or other rosewater flavoured Middle Eastern pasty

  • Dried Figs (the fresh ones are sadly out of season in February, but you can always have them another tea time!)

For the sandwiches:

Tomato-Basil sandwiches (cut slices of whole wheat bread with a
round cooki cutter, top with a slice of chevre cheese, a slice of
tomato and garnish with a basil leaf)

Cucumber-Mint sandwiches, triangle-shaped (peel and thinly slice
cucumbers, salt them and let drain; pat dry with a towel; butter both
slices of white or whole wheat bread and trim off the crusts; cover
with cucumber slices and other slice of bread and cut into two-bite
size triangles).

Heart-Shaped Salmon, capers & cream cheese sandwiches (cut the
whole wheat or rye bread into hearts and spread with cream cheese on
all “slices”; cut hearts of smoked salmon with the cookie cutter; top
the sandwiches with salmon and sprinkle with capers; cover with other

Sandwiches can be kept refrigerated up to 5 hours before serving.

For the scones:

2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking power
3 Tbs. butter or margarine, room temperature
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk

Sift dry ingredients together. Cut butter into the flour and work with fingers into small crumbles. Whisk the egg with buttermilk. Add to the flour mixture and knead until smooth (do not over knead). Spread on a floured surface, and cut with a biscuit or cookie cutter (you could use a heart-shaped one too!).

Bake in an oven preheated to 400F for 15-20 mintues (depending on how large the scones are) – or until golden brown.

Aphrodisiac Dinner Menu

Artichoke image courtesy of Wikipedia

There is much to be said about eating with bare fingers, sans utensils. The obvious pitfall is that they will get dirty. But that’s a small price to pay for the sensual delight of fully experiencing your food through your tactile sense. Eating with fingers gives more pleasure out of food. You can feel the texture of the food, which complements its shape, colour and flavour. I find that I eat more slowly and am able to savour the food when I use my fingers only. It helps us pace ourselves, which makes for a more sensible eating experience – avoiding the unpleasant results of over-eating (which can be painful, even if the food is really good).

And so for a romantic aphrodisiac dinner I’ve chosen mostly items that can be experienced using your fingers and reveal themselves gradually as the meal progresses. Artichoke, asparagus, pears, roasted beets, figs and pomegranates are prime examples. Unfortunately, the last two are no longer in season but you can try working them into the menu another time!



Main Course:

Couscous with Ras el Hanut spice


Blood Truffles or Guilt Truffles, Basboosa, or Banana Sheera and a Dessert Wine or Liquor of your choice

For the Artichoke & Vinnigraite Dip + How To Eat and Artichoke

1 Artichoke per person, steamed and drained, with the bottom stem cut about 1" off the base. Some prefer to cut off the prickly tip of the leaf, but I don't think this is necessary.

2 Tbs. Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

4 Tbs. Olive Oil

2-4 Cloves of Garlic

Salt to taste

Using a small whisk or a fork, whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl until the oil and lemon juice are uniformly blended (like a very liquid mayonnaise). Serve the artichoke whole on a plate and peel off one artichoke leaf at a time to eat - dipping the tip in the vinnigraite as desired. Only eat the soft part, which has a mild licorice flavour. Do not eat the upper part of the leaf or the "choke" (the hairy part just above the artichoke's heart). The leaves will become softer as you get closer to the heart though, so you will be able to enjoy an increasinly larger part of each leaf as you peel the layers away.

Artichoke makes an excellent aperitif OR dessert. If you sip a little cold water after you finished the artichoke, the anisic, licorice flavour will intensify, which is quite magical!

For the Steamed Asparagus:

Use the freshest quality asparagus (the younger and thinner - the better), and cut off the bottom of the stems. Steam in a steaming basket or blanch in boiling water for several minutes. Asparagus should be bright green and still crunchy (it should easily snap when you try to break a stem).

Remove from the heat, drizzle with olive oil and add Fleur de Sel (French rock salt from the marshes in Normandy) and pepper to taste, and serve warm or cold as an appetizer, or as a side-dish.

For the Baked Beets:

Use the smallest beets, as they are the sweetest and will have the best texutre when prepared that way.Bunched beets are usually the best for this purpose.

Twist off the stems and leaves.

Rinse beets and remove any dirt using a potato brush.

Cut each beets into to half - the top half, with some of the stem still on, the bottom with the root still intact.

Place on an olive-oil greased pan, and brush each beet with olive oil (using a pastry brush). Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until tender. Best served with baked goat cheese or baked brie as an appetizer.

First Love: Know Thyself

“Know Thyself!” was inscribed on the gate to the temple of Apolo in Delphi. It is still unknown who was the sage who said it; but it was Aristotle who said that in order for us to love somebody, we must first know him or her. This is true also for ourselves too – we must know ourselves to love who we are. It is my belief that without loving oneself, one cannot find true love; and that relationships work best when both partners benefit from it and are able to become better, happier and healthier individuals simply by being allowed to be themselves within the relationship.

If you are single, Valentine’s Day can be just about the most obnoxious day of the year. But who said the only meaningful and true love in the world is romantic love? Don’t let the Valentine’s craze get to you. Instead, why not take this opportunity of a love-centered day to appreciate the love you do have in your life: friends, siblings, parents, grandparents, daughters, sons, coworkers, customers, business parteners, teachers, students, not to mention animals and plants and nature! Love is around us all the time, taking many shapes and forms and it is only up to us to notice, acknowledge and accept it, knowing that we deserve that love.

This might be a good day to gather a couple of close friends for an afternoon tea – either host it yourself or indulge in one served for you in a tea parlour and just enjoy each other’s company; or a day to take a long meditative walk and find out something new about yourself.The point is – no matter what your relationship status, there is one person you’ll always have to be with – and you better become good friends with. And that’s you.

Quick Reference Guide to Aphrodisiac Perfumes

The following is a list of aromatic aphrodisiacs and perfumes from my collection that use a respectable amount of each:

Ambrette Seed – Sahleb, Tamya, Cabaret

Aniseed – Indigo, Black Licorice

Basil - ArbitRary

Black Pepper - Schizm, InCarnation, Vetiver Racinettes

Cacao - Roses et Chocolat, Guilt, Film Noir

Cardamom – Épice Sauvage, Finjan

Cassie – Le Nuages de Joie Jaune, Yasmin

Cedarwood Atlas – Épice Sauvage, Tamya

Cinnamon – Bois d’Hiver, Immortelle l’Amour, Palas Atena

Clary Sage – Ayalitta, Bois d’Hiver

Clove – Autumn, Ayala, InCarnation

Coriander – Tamya, Finjan

Cumin – Autumn, Rebellius

Galbanum – Ayalitta, Grin, Rainforest

Gardenia – Gigi, Tamya

Ginger – l’Herbe Rouge, Ginger & Amber

Jasmine – ArbitRary, Charisma, Megumi, Tamya, Yasmin

Juniper – Bois d’Hiver, Democracry, l’Herbe Rouge

Labdanum – Autumn, Ayalitta, Democracy, Song of Songs

Lavender - Lovender, Gaucho

Mint & Peppermint - Charisma

Neroli & Orange Blossom– Zohar, Guilt

Nutmeg – Fête d'Hiver, InCarnation, Vetiver Racinettes

Patchouli – Film Noir, Palas Atena

Sage – Autumn, Ayalitta

Tuberose - Schizm, White Potion

Rose – Rosebud, Cabaret, Fête d'Hiver, Megumi, Roses et Chocolat, Song of Songs

Rosewood - Sutul

Rosemary – Bois d’Hiver, Gaucho

Saffron - Razala, Song of Songs

Sandalwood – Bon Zai, Gigi, White Potion, Sutul

Vanilla - Immortelle l'Amour, Espionage

Ylang Ylang – Coralle, Tamya

More Romantic Gift Ideas

For more gift ideas for Valentine's Day, visit our Gifts Page or Ayala's Etsy Shop for rare finds (poison rings and other collectibles) and one-of-a-kind perfumes ready to be adopted as your signature scent!

And of course call us anytime so we can help you find the perfect gift and personalize it for your loved ones!

Love & Luck,


Ayala Moriel Parfums
My SmellyBlog:
Tel.: (778) 863-0806
Address: 1230 Haro Street, Buzz #295,Vancouver, BC
Hours: Mon-Thu 8:00am-4:00pm; Sundays & evenings by appointment only
Address: PO Box 93589 Nelson Park, Vancouver, BC, V6E 4L7

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