Monday, October 31, 2011

Clarimonde's Dream Pillow

Clarimonde Dream Pillow

If Halloween is the time when the veils are thin between reason and fantasy, between the conscious and unconscious, this story is a most timely one. Who hasn’t dreamt of bringing their loved one back – from the dead, or from the oblivion where most relationships find themselves once they are over? Clarimonde is one such story, in which love cannot be fulfilled because of the dramatic dichotomy and differences between the two lovers. Yet, somehow, they manage to reunite… Clarimonde returns from the place where non ever came back after her death which Romuald witnessed; and Romuald finds a way to be with Clarimonde in the safe world of his dreams, where everything is possible and no one can truly be held accountable for their actions.

I tend to shy away from vampire literature and cinema, finding them either too frightful for me (I’m just now, in my 13th year in Canada, finally getting used to the idea of skeletons and skulls and faux blood being OK and maybe even of some aesthetic interest…), and at best bring to mind the pathos of mail-order-bride spam from Russia that I receive on a daily basis.

Clarimonde Notes

However, when learning about the Clarimonde project that Lucy Raubertas of IndiePerfumes blog has initiated, I have first encountered a vampire story that was not frightening, but rather touching on a most personal level. Once completing the short story titled Clarimonde (by Theophile Gautier, which was published in 1836), I felt like it touched a nerve. It certainly helped that the vampire lady in it was not a blood-thirsty vixen, but rather a creature of light and beauty. There were no scary moments in the story to send chills down my spine either. And more important than what was not there that keeps me away from the vampire genre at large, was the depth of layers of meaning the story unfolded every time I read it again (and by now I read and listened to it 5 times…).

Clarimonde strongly resonated with me, thought at first I could not quite tell why or how, aside from its alarming resemblance to a virtual love affair, in which the subject of one’s love cannot quite be part of their everyday life; yet takes a bigger-then-life form in the internal world of the lovers. It is an intangible yet very real experience, which seems to become more and more prominent in our day and age and is something I have been exploring in my Virtual Lover project.

Clarimonde Sachets

To me, the story of Clarimonde is that of love and betrayal. It is a story of a woman’s love so strong and her beauty so powerful that it concurs a man’s most sacred values and aspirations and shakes him to his core. It is also a story of a woman’s sacrifice – her health, her life, her innate nature – only to make one man happy… And the man turns to be a very ungrateful one. It is a story of loss, spoiling of perfection (I do see the dual life that Romuald lived as a balanced and beautiful solution to his difficult position); ruining something that is precious and pure only because it does not fit with dogma.

Yet, despite of Clarimonde’s sacrifice and how she changes for him (instead of taking other lovers and sucking their blood as she pleases, she only takes a few drops of his while doing everything to not hurt him and heal his little tiny puncture of a wound); despite all that, Romuald refuses to stand up to dogma and see that her love is, indeed, as pure as God’s and it is that love that makes her not truly cast away from humanity or from the divine’s love. Just as he can’t find the power within himself to say no to the vows on the day of his ordination and change his path, he passively lets Abbe Serapion cast Clarimonde into oblivion…

It is also, as Mandy Aftel pointed out in the process of us creating and sharing the thoughts and feelings that the story brought forth, a story of extremes that seemingly do not reconcile. The man telling the story, a European monk, goes from the extreme of ugly, mundane and colourless life of suffering, service, sanctity and sacredness by day to that of love, beauty, pleasure, abundance, opulence, desire and rich hues by night. The only thing that connects these two worlds is his sleep. So I have decided to focus on that part and see how these two worlds connect through perfume.

Therefore, I have decided to create a dream pillow for this project, rather than a traditional perfume. Dream pillows are little flat pillows that are filled with a sachet of herbs that should invite a restful sleep. The pillow is tucked inside your real pillow, and while moving in your sleep, the herbs release their sweet scent and sweetens your dreams…

Clarimonde Herbs for Dream Pillow

It was a fine overcast day last Saturday, and I finally completed sewing 7 dream pillows inspired by Clarimonde... They are all filled with a sachet of dried herbs that should invoke a restful sleep: valerian roots, violet leaf, lavender buds, and some orris root, patchouli leaves and rose buds for their scent and evocative colour of blood and passion.

These herbs, however, are perfumed by what is my interpretation of the "Oriental perfume" that lingers in Clarimonde's death chamber in the 2nd physical encounter between the lovers, the only one that is fulfilled (the first one being his sight of her in his day of his ordination, in which he rejects her and chooses God; and the last one is at her tomb, which is very grim). In this one, his love and sadness for her loss brings her back to life even if just for a few moments, in which they kiss and embrace, and a bond is created that makes their life inseparable for as long as 3 years…

Tincturing Dragon's Blood

For the Clarimonde perfume, I decidedly chose essences that would build a classic and “typical” spicy-oriental; that which is heavy on the patchouli and eugenol (from cloves). But I also juxtaposed it with notes of flowers that are mentioned in the story: the blue violets in her hair, the red carnation of her lips, the white rose that symbolizes Clarimonde’s life at her chamber (it is not until the last petal falls that we know she is really, truly dead). These all took a life of their own as I read the story, with clear colours, textures and scents… The sensuality of Clarimonde is contrasted (and balanced) by the distance of her beauty and the coldness of her touch, which Raumald feels when she is alive at their first encounter at the church; and is no difference after her death. The story had very interesting palette of colours: mostly black and white, with splashes of colours on the appearance of Clarimonde, mostly of red and blue hues, and the blood is purple… There is only one thing that is yellow in the story: Clarimonde’s blond hair (or gold, as Romuald describes it).

Clarimonde Perfume Notes

So, I have chosen notes that are warm and spicy, such as vintage patchouli and vintage cloves, saffron and carnation to portray the warmth; and a violet accord to bring the cold, moist element to the perfume. Aside from violet leaf and cassie (both very wet and cold smelling essences), I have also used the velvety, candied-violet note of alpha ionone – and this is my first time to use a natural isolate in a perfume. I chose this note not only because I wanted the violets to have a dominant presence; but also because there is something very pure, clear and surreal about this note, which reminds me of Clarimonde’s voice as she speaks to Romuald for the first time in his dream.

Composing Clarimonde

I have included in my packages to the 6 writers covering the Clarimonde project, also a perfume that is unfinished and is what I used for scenting the Clarimonde dream pillow – except that it is in an alcohol form and with the addition of angelica, orris root and liatrix (which is present in the pillow, but not in the essences used to scent it). I’m debating if to add any lavender to the perfume; so far I like how bold and clear the perfume is, and how it’s such a strong characteristics oriental, but with the emphasis on violet, which normally is more prominent in prim floral bouquets and soft powdery concoctions.

To fully experience the power of this pillow, you must sleep on it, literally. Place it instide the pillowcase of the pillow you use while sleeping, and notice how it transforms your dreams making them more vivid and memorable.

Other Clarimonde posts from participating blogs:

The Clarimonde Project/& Sharif Give-Away

Clarimonde Part 2 - Vintage Perfumes and Heat for the Cold

Monica Miller's letter to Lucy about her Sangre perfume and perfumed lip stains

Perfume Pharmer Review of Clarimonde Dream Pillow

Lost Past Remembered – Deana Sidney: Recipe for a perfumed port with chocolate, ambergris and oud

Immortal Mine
Alexis Karl & Maria McElroy (Geisha M)

Scentless Sensibilities

Mandy Aftel's Oud Luban

Jade Dressler's blog

Scent Hive:
Part 1
Part 2 (Oud Luban, Immortal Mine)
Part 3 (Paradise Lost, Clarimonde Dream Pillow)

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Réglisse Noire by 1000Flowers

Confectionary Licorice Allsorts.jpg
Feathery caress of green fennel on the tongue, collected from the wild in the midst of Mediterranean winter. The initial leafiness is deceiving, as it is quickly replaced by the intense back-of-the-mouth sweetness of licorice roots, filling the entire mouth with a radiating warmth. And then a breath of fresh air makes a U-turn, bringing back an expansive ozone wind, rain-covered herbs in a garden. The wet foliage recedes slowly with a hide-and-seek that characterizes licorice notes (which I suspect is what makes them such a perfect culinary symbol for Halloween), revealing a brown soil of dusty patchouli and cocoa powder, moist vetiver rootlets and pure vanilla extract.

Réglisse Noire was created by Jessica Buchanan when she was studying perfumery at the G.I.P. (Grasse Institute of Perfumery). Licorice allsorts hold a sentimental spot for Jessica, as it was the only candy she was allowed as a kid when when visiting her grandmother, who always kept a crystal bowl of them in the living room. (Why do I get the feeling that her parents were health-freaks & tree huggers like mine? My mom would let me chew on plain dried licorice roots instead of giving me harmful sweets!) Their sweet taste remained in her mouth and in her memory, and is at the core of her first perfume that debuted her indie perfume house 1000Flowers in 2010.

In a perfume-tech-talk context, Réglisse Noire is an essay on the relationship between sweet vs. ozonic/green (anise, fennel, licorice, shiso leaf), and earthy notes (patchouli, vetiver, cocoa). It is a second cousin of Angel (also with dominant helional and patchouli notes), and an even closer relative to Lolita Lempicka. However, it is not nearly as linear as these are, and has more depth and complexity due to the higher proportion of natural raw materials. The vetiver truly cuts down the sweetness and mellows the artificial intensity of helional (a note similar to the scent of ozone, which one can detect around waterfall and reminded Jessica of some of the "greener" facets in licorice notes).

1000Flowers' mandate is to walk a balanced path between using naturals and synthetics that have less negative impact on the environment. For example: using only biodegradable musks that are naturally occurring (for example: she does not use galaxolide, which is what's in your Tide and most laundry detergents and dryer sheets, is NOT biodegradable), but she will use ambrettolide (naturally present in ambrette seeds, and which smells like "white musk"), or exaltolide (aka 15-pentadecalactone which is present in Angelica seeds).

Top notes:
White Pepper, Ozone, Mint, Shiso Leaf

Heart notes:
Star Anise, Ginger, Licorice, Cocoa

Base notes:
Patchouli, Vanilla, Vetiver, Musk

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Top Autumn Sensory Discoveries

Naked Ginger
This ties in nicely to my Autumn Aromas & Fall Flavours series of posts, but is actually part of a joint blog project for the season that Helg at Perfume Shrine has invited us to participate in. Visit the blogs at the bottom of this post to expand your sphere of sensations!

This year I have discovered the sense of touch. Not that I lived without it or wasn't aware of it before; but I feel that I have been re-acquainted with it, and after living my life through my nose for many years, I'm now connecting these sensations with the tactile world... Reading Diane Ackerman's A Natural History of the Senses certainly helped me to notice that and understand better the meaning that the sense of touch plays in my life. There is more to skin than appearance...

And this spills over to my creative efforts of perfumery in surprising ways that I could have not expected - particularly with Zangvil which is due to launch 20.11.2011, on which I will talk about at much length as its release date approaches... For now I'd like to touch upon a few new sensory delights I've discovered recently.

Touch: Wool & Cold Skin
Wool, as it turns out, is not always itchy and irritating... And in the Pacific Northwest it is our best friend, hairless creatures that we are... I stumbled upon a rare find - a 2-way stretch wool tights by Metalicus that I can spend the whole day in without feeling the urge to undress or scratch my thighs; and we all know how marvelous Cashmere wool feels, and how little of it is enough to keep us wrapped in warmth... And me and my woolen shorts (often paired with over-the-knee socks and colourful boots) are pretty much inseparable, regardless of how sunny or rainy these fall days may be. They also make me either look very happy or very ridiculous - eitehr way I don't care, because it sure garners smiles from passers by whichever way I go.

The other extreme of fall is that of the dropping temperatures. And while it can be sunny and beautiful out, the water temperatures drop significantly once October rolls in. Not that this stops me from the occasional ocean swim... I find it interesting that my friend Jolanta, who was the first lady that fell for my perfume Zangvil, likened its scent to the experience of swimming in a cold glacier lake up in the Rocky Mountains: An experience that was all about the extremes: bracing cold water contrasted by the dry hot mountain air int he middle of the summer. Perhaps it is that extreme sensation that I crave when I go for my ocean swims. The hot/cold confusion that makes the blood rush and circulate so much faster, making the cold air feel warm, and makes life feel tangible after every cell of my exterior wrap is punctured by an icy needle of ocean water below 15C.

Flavours: Black Cardamom & Star Anise
New spicy discoveries include, undoubtedly, black cardamom. But I'm also feeling an increased love for star anise - which has a mysterious yet very sweet and licorice-like taste, using it in both savoury and sweet treats. It's marvelous in Vij's recipe for black chickpeas in date & star anise masala, and it's phenomenal for poaching pears. I'll be posting more recipes using either or both black cardamom and star anise in the next few days (and I have a project on the horizon of a pomegranate & black cardamom chocolate torte).

Culinary Textures: Pear & Quince
Not that these are the only textures I enjoy with food, but they are certainly evocative of the season. The texture of cooked or baked quince is matched only by that of poached pears (which are more delicate - less grainy - though Bosc peras are quite similar). Because quinces are so tough to cut, I usually buy them only once a year. This time around, I'm planning to poach them in red wine, then bake them in a chocolate frangipane tart!

And speaking of pears, for a little taste of heaven, make yourself a a brie & pear sandwich on fresh croissant - begin with spreading a bit of cassis mustard, top with a slice of room-temperature brie cheese, and finish with ripe sliced red Bartlet pear.

Sight: Red
I've been avoiding wearing red for at least a couple of years now, for reasons unknown to me. It used to play a huge role in my wardrobe, especially with contrasting black and white... I've moved into the real of cool colours instead - teal, sea blue, kelly green and even electric blue! But fall (and Apothic Red...) is my pitfall for enjoying reds all over again - there is nothing quite as soothing to the eye as Japanese maple leaves at this time of year. A picture is worth a thousand words:

Japanese Maple Hands

Sound: Acoustic Guitar
About anything in my life goes back to skin, somehow... Which might explain why now of all times I'm drawn to guitar music (Flamenco, jazz, blues but especially flamenco). When played by master musicians that are more than just virtuoso, listening to a guitar is about as close as it gets to caressing the skin...

Oh, and I love listening to Rodrigo y Gabriela when I'm doing Pilates. It gets the heart pumping at the exact correct rate!

Scent: Dying Rosehips
There is nothing that I like better than start my day with a morning stroll in Coal Harbour as the sun rises. And thankfully, we can still see many sunrises in the autumn, even in Vancouver. There is something soothing about watching the aquaplanes coming in and out of the harbour, leaving a vanishing trail of whiteness in the water as their jet-fuel excrement mingles with intense saltiness of seaweed and clammy odours of sea barnacles drying on the rocks at low tide.

Tonight, as I strolled on the seawall in Coal Harbour and noticed a new scent as I passed by a rose bush, I noticed a new smell: decaying rosehips. Reminiscent of the forest floor's rotting fallen leaves mingled with wine-like fermenting sweetness.


Last But Not Least: Perfume
Fall is when I return to old friends such as Mitsouko, who await me patiently while I spend most of my year trying different scents that I'm working on at various stages...

I've been also returning to wearing Agent Provocatuer occasionally after a couple of years of hiatus, and really enjoying a lot its saffron facets and intense, bluntly sexual/animalic personality, saved only for the softness of rose.

And a comfort-scent to turn to is the gourmand Un Crime Exotique (poached pear, this is when you enter again...).

Aside from these three, I've been mostly wearing my own intense killer-tuberose which won't be launched till way later in 2012, and another narcissus perfume I'm working on with costus... Overall, I've been craving costus a lot lately, and I even included some in my creation for the Clarimonde project (you will read more about it over the weekend), which is another thing that is scenting my nightlife (you will see why very soon... Trust me!).

My other olfactory discoveries lies in non other than fine Japanese incense sticks (I'm yet to learn how to warm incense properly koh-doh style) - particularly the one that I'm burning tonight: Fuin Kyara stick that has just arrived in the mail after some major messing-up on behalf of Canada Post (I ordered it in August!) and I'm immensely enjoying its woody, sweet and slightly animalic aroma underlined with earthy, musty nuances and an overall sacredness that reminds me of the effect of burning frankincense - only with much less smoke. The incense keeps changing aromas as it progresses through the stick, which makes me think that it is designed that way...

I've also received a precious gift of hand-rolled Rose Nerikoh from Yuko of Phyto Perfume, and a loose incense blend from Ross Urrere. But these deserve their own post at another day.

Incense is one sure way to connect through our breath and the olfactory world into our subconscious mind and the depth of our heart... But that's already looking like the beginning of another post.

Discover more sensory delights over at:
Perfume Shrine
Katie Puckrik Smells
Scent Hive
The Non Blonde

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Black Cardamom & Pomegranates - Savoury Seduction

Babaghanush with Pomegranate & Black Cardamom
Nothing signifies the beginning of fall season more than that of cooked & baked spices filling the kitchen. After all the easy summer cooking (steamed vegetables, mostly), it's time again for making robust curries, soups and baking delicious aromatic cakes.

Black cardamom is a relatively new discovery of mine in the world of spices (you should see my spice rack! Its only rival is my perfumer's organ and my shoe collection). And I've been using it creatively to transform familiar recipes into something exotic and mysterious. Because this is what black cardamom smells like: smoky, spicy, pungent, warm and aromatic. It is similar to green cardamom with its eucalyptus-like camphoreous vapours that rise when pounding it in the mortar and pestle. But it has a personality all of its own - smoky, dark and earthy, not nearly as sweet as green cardamom. Therefore, it is perfect for savoury dishes that need a departure from the mundane.

And that's what I did to my babaghanoush recipe, along with some pomegranate molasses (!), both combined transported it from a familiar dip commonly eaten with flatbread or in sandwiches, into a delicious treat that I think won't shame a great chef in a fancy restaurant. Savour it!

Eggplants are a versatile vegetable that might seem intimidating to most North Americans, but in reality is quite easy to cook with, if you only know how to prepare it so its flavours really shine. The key with eggplants is not let its high water content overwhelm the recipe and take away from its flavour. This is why eggplants are best when roasted to the point of caramelization; or pre-salted to drain excess water before being sauteed, fried or baked. Eggplants are even used in Moroccan confections (I kid you not!). But now I want to share with you a recipe that is a spin on a most familiar and popular dip called babaghanush. Usually, eggplants are roasted on open fire If you have a gas stove, roast the eggplant directly on the gas flame; if not, simply prick with a fork 2 large eggplants and bake or grill in 450-500, rotating periodically, until it is blackened from all sides. Scoop the cooked flesh out with a spoon, and mash with a fork or a potato masher. Add the following:

1-2 Tbs tahini (raw white sesame paste)

Lemon juice from one whole lemon

2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated

2 Tbs pomegranate molasses (dark, almost black syrup from pomegranates - be sure it's one with no sugar additives - you can find these in most Persian or Middle Eastern grocery stores)

1/4 tsp cumin, ground

2 black cardamom pods, peeled and pounded with mortar and pestle

Salt to taste (might not be necessary - depending on the type of tahini you use; many of them already have sufficient amount of salt in them already)

Garnish with olive oil, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds, or with black olives.

Serve as a dip for vegetables, flatbread, or inside sandwiches. Personally, I just eat it with a spoon as is...

My next challenge is creating a dessert for this weekend featuring both pomegranate and black cardamom. I've used black cardamom in my Black Beauty Truffles with much success, and am curious to see how the tangy touch of pomegranate (not to mention their ruby red colours) will enhance a chocolate dessert. Wait and watch...

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Autumn Aromas & Fall Fragrances 2011

Every year, I like to observe the change of seasons, and watch what the new season brings along with it - some familiar scents and sights, and others are new and exciting.

This fall, I find myself strangely lured into the kitchen more than simply necessary - for baking and cooking experiments that create more food than necessary to feed my 2-person family. Thankfully, I have a brother in town who seems to be always starving, and our friends, as well as studio guests, help us clear the baking dishes for new experiments...

I'm more fascinated by cooking than I ever was before (I'm usually more excited about baking - both savoury and sweet pastries and breads, cooking has always been in my mind just a necessity, and I cook decent food but don't think of it as particularly creative or original...). And so this blog has turned into more of a food blog as of late... But that does not mean that I'm any less interested in perfume. I think what's happening is that the knowledge and experience of creating balanced perfumes is spilling into my flavouring world, and I just can't sit around when all these new recipe ideas pop into my head! Besides, while perfume formulas are not something that is advisable to share - recipes for food, desserts and libations are meant to be shared.

The following fall posts will be dedicated to autumn aromas, as I did last year, only with new fragrances, aromas and flavours. This time around, I would like to offer three posts: New aromas that I encounter this fall; Fall flavours (including a recipe or two...), and last but not least - a list of my favourite fall perfumes!

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Masquerade Secret Supper

Masquerade Secret Supper

Yesterday I attended a Samhain dinner party titled Masquerade Secret Supper hosted by my friend Charlotte and her roommate Ada. It was oh so lovely and delicious, and I hope you will find it as inspiring as I did!

It was a fundraiser dinner hosted at their home, and I could have not imagined that they would have transformed their living room into an intimate, restaurant-like dining room! It was so beautifully decorated - fall leaves and maple seed "helicopters" on the table, with tiny carved pumpkin lamps, a mobile of paper-cut houses with flickering candle within each; and a fabric collage of animal-shaped shadows spread on the wall (Charlotte is a textile artist among her many talents).

It was very dimly lit, so I could not take any photos whatsoever of the food (which is a shame, but also was a very nice break from taking photos of every piece of amazing food I experience, which can be not only tiresome, but also take away from the experience). So instead, I stole the hand-written menu from my table and you can use your vivid imagination to picture yourself how each course looked and tasted!

Hors D'euvres
- edible artichoke centrepiece with tappenades and fresh-baked bread

- Butternut squash soup with pear, blue cheese cream and red wine reduction drizzle

- Roasted root pie with herbed chevre a la mode
- Braised tender lamb in pomegranate sauce
- Massaged kale, beet and pumpkin seed salad with lemon-tahini dressing

- Chocolate pumpkin cheesecake
- Assorted choux a la creme (chai spice, chocolate hazelnut, rosemary salted caramel) with apple fennel croquettes

- Crisp Autumn Night: a purifying potion of rosemary, peppercorn and vanilla infused gin, with tonic and simple syrup poured over a caramelized pear.
- Red wine
- Virgin cocktails available

The appetizers were flavourful and appetizing, the soup of butternut squash and pear delicate, flavourful and something I definitely want to try at home (I got all the ingredients!) and by the time I finished the main course of harvest root pie and kale salad, I felt lucky the choux a la creme (cream puffs) were tiny and delicate - because I barely had any room left. These three tasted amazing, but my palate was even more tantalized by the little bites of fennel & apple croquettes (which were slices of fennel and apple atop buttery and soggy sable). My favourite of the three was the hazelnut & chocolate creme one. And I am glad I got a couple of bites of the pumpkin & chocolate cheesecake, which was more of a cream layer cake, with chocolate wafer base, pumpkin and creamy cheese filling, and a fudgy chocolate icing decorated with pomegranate seeds.

But my favourite of all was actually the "Crisp Autumn Night" cocktail - an imaginative brew that was accompanied by the instructions you see in the photograph. It was made of gin infused with vanilla, pepper and rosemary, served with tonic water, caramelized pear slice, and, lo and behold - two ice "stirring sticks" - one with a greenish hue (cucumber? rosemary??) and the other embedded with pomegranate seeds. It was such a treat and if the rest of my Celtic year is as complex and satisfying, I might just have to try to brew it myself next Halloween... If I can wait that long!

Crisp Autumn Night Cocktail
And if you can't view this image, here's what the little note said:
"In the Witches' wheel of the year, Samhain (pronounced "waawen"), which usually falls at the end of October, is the time when the veils between the world of the conscious and rational, and the unconscious and un-rational are thin. It is also the New Year - a timei to reflect on and let go of the old in order to make room for the burgeoning and new.
This potion was brewed with the magival intention to bring this symbolic reflection, release, and invitation into a drinkable form. This is a spell in a beverage. Its makers invite you to use it either as a delicious un-magical cocktail or as a cleansing and renewing elixir by following these steps:
1. Ground yourself by taking a deep breath.
2. Remember this previous year - from last Samhain up until now. Be gentle and forgiving in your review.
3. Recall the things you are ready to let go of, to do without, to interrupt, to be done with, and blow them into your drink. Literally.
4. The drink's magic is its ability to purify, cleanse, and transform your energies and offerings.
5. Now take a taste, and set your intention for the year to come - imagine abundance, friendship, self-love, dancing, brimming creativity, and the energy to see all your projects and ideas through.
Anything is possible when you start the New Year in the Enchanted Forest...

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011


My apologies for the stale state this blog has been in as of late. It is not nearly as attractive as stale madeleines, though I do assure you there is a lot to read here if you are not a regular here and visiting for the first time. There are wonderful articles about the building blocks of perfumery, fragrant recipes for sweet and savoury dishes and desserts that I have invented using aromatic herbs and sometimes also essential oils; there are perfume reviews, and journal entries that reveal some of my creative process of perfume design.

With that being said, I want to explain my relative quietness on SmellyBlog. Lack of posting could have many different reasons - but I can assure you it is neither lack of inspiration, shortage of topics to write about or materials to cover, or stories to tell. On the contrary. Life has taken over and my fall schedule has been filled with so many events I barely have time to catch my breath and have a chance to share it here with you. To make things short, I'll just say that since September, when I spent a whole week teaching perfumery to my students from all over the world (last serious post here), I'm back to school taking French classes, plus I've been busy cooking and baking up a storm for Monique's bridal showers, hosted a lovely Thanksgiving dinner (which took no less than 2 days to prepare...), attended Vancouver Eco Fashion Week, not to mention modeling in a fashion show for Two of Hearts clothing line and boutique on Main street. And there was the madness of Groupon, promoting the perfume making classes and workshops at my studio as well.

Last but not least, I'm working on the last details of my Zangvil perfume launch that will come out with a tea on 20.11.2011, during my Zangvil Tripe Launch Tea Party - so I can only be thankful that the only thing I need to do for the new chocolate bar is tasting it and making sure the graphic design is done on time, and lineup a photoshoot for the chocolate shortly after...

And as if this is not enough already - I'm working on a couple of private label perfume that I'm very excited about (and can't tell you about till 2012). But don't worry - there is also an unusual joint-blog-project that I will be able to tell you about next week. So you will get some more jus-y details on SmellyBlog very shortly!

Now, I have to go and sleep on a few things...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Monique's Bridal Tea Party

Monique & Me
On October 2nd 2011 I hosted a very special tea party at my studio - bridal showers for my friend and intern (graduate student of 3 years) Monique Trottier, who just got married to her new beau (of 15 years!) this Sunday... And what better excuse to celebrate and pull out some of the most luxurious fragrant recipes and ideas than a wedding celebration?

As you can guess by her name, Monique is French Canadian, so it was not difficult to go with a mostly-French menu. I decided on a theme of Violets & Leather - because I know Monique likes both notes. And the menu was just born out of that...

I don't have photos of all the savouries (yet) but here are some dessert photos I managed to snap with my iPhone before all the guests arrived...

And the guests, by the way, were the sweetest crowd imaginable, including Gwendoline from Patent and the Pantry, whose blog I followed for a while, and with whom I enjoyed exchanging baking tips and recipes with, and the gifted artist Rachael Ashe who took proper photos of all the baking which I hope to post here later.

Violet & Orris Truffles
The cherry on the top: Viola truffles (dark chocoalte with violet leaf absolute and orris butter) and Sahleb truffles (white chocolate with orris butter, coconut milk and a hint of rose).

Violet Shortbread Cookies
Violet shortbreads - true decadence! Perfectly flaky and flavoured with orris butter and alpha ionone natural isolate, decorated with crystalized violets, of course.

Pumpkin Scones
Pumpkin scones! Monique is a pumpkin lover, not surprising for someone who is obsessed with the Harry Potter septology... I almost left them out for black current scones, but these seemed perfect especially it being autumn.

Chipotle Brownies
Something spicy and smoky was in order!

Cream Earl Gray Madeleines
And of course - we had to have some madelienes! The are flavoured with honey, and Earl Grey Cream tea leaves.
Bridal Tea Party Menu:
The menu signs - all the menu items were revolving around the delicate tea-like violet and ionone aromas, and leather-like smoky accents.

Tea Sandwiches:
Brie + Pear Mini Croissants (with cassis mustard)
Smoked Cheddar + Honeycrisp Apple Tea Sandwiches on Rye Bread
Classic Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches
Chevre + Wine Jelly Baguette Open Sandwiches

Mini Mushroom Quiches

Pumpkin Scones, served with creme fraiche and local fig confiture

Sweets & Desserts:
Madeleines au The Earl Grey
Sables au Violette (violet shortbreads)
Chipotle Brownies (spicy and smoky!!!)

Chocolate Truffles:
Sahleb Truffles (white chocolate with coconut, orris and rose)
Viola Truffles (dark chocolate with violet leaf and rose)

Teas & Libations:
French Earl Grey
Osmanthus Oolong
Cream Earl Grey

Violets for my Furs
Violets for my Furs - the perfume that seemed the perfect match for this party, as it has both of the notes (violet and leather) that were the theme; and served as an example for various violet-like and leather-like notes, but most importantly - the aphrodisiac properties of perfume, which is what Monique wanted to be featured in the presentation part of the event. The ingredients in this perfume were what the presentation revolved around: the story of Napoleon and Josephine (she liked violets above all scents, and before his exile, Napoleon picked some of the violets on her grave, and kept them with him until his own death); violets' seductiveness with its ionones, which seduce and tease the nostrils by fading in and out of the olfactory bulb's perception... The connections were drawn between ionone-rich essences (violet, iris, boronia, cassie, osmanthus...) and leathery notes. Interestingly, ionone is present in teas. And so are tannins, which are important in curing leather (and are what give leather its "leathery" aroma in the curing process). Cassie, for example, is one of the plants that is used for curing leather and also has a very violet-like scent. Osmanthus, another ionone-rich absolute, has a scent reminiscent of apricots and... you guessed it! Leather!

Monique is a famous book worm, so it was only natural to end the presentation with spraying black lambskin leather bookmarks (courtesy of Jola V. Designs) with the Violets For My Furs perfume.

The intricate connections between botanicals and essences, their healing powers, folkloric and symbolic meanings are all fascinating and add another layer of understanding and appreciation of perfume that none of the guests would have expected. Not even the aunt who never wears perfume and never thought she would be in the least interested in it :-)

Monique, Ayala, Jolanta & Anita
From left to right: Monique, Ayala, Jolanta, Anita (who graduated with Monique as well) and in the very background - Tamya.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Perfume Workshops on Groupon for 48hrs Only!

Check out Groupon's Daily Deal in Vancouver starting at midnight (Wednesday, October 12th and running for 48 hours only). For those of you who've been always dreaming of coming to my studio for perfume making workshops - your moment has arrived!!!

The other part of this offer is my new series of interactive lectures under the general title "Introduction to Natural Perfumery" - each month, a special theme that is relevant to the season will be featured, and each one is a unique experience - some feature tea and chocolate tasting sessions, and others will answer many questions you've been too shy to ask, such as how to use perfume to attract a lover - or even how it can be used to communicate with spirits of the dead (especially useful for Halloween ;-), and will learn about the history of perfumes and the spice trade all the while sniffing the most prized perfumes and raw materials from around the world. For more details about each month's special featured lecture, look in our newly updated calendar for 2011/2012!

Vancouverites are not the only ones who should check out this feature - if you're from out of town and planning a trip to British Columbia in the next 12 months, you may want to take advantage of this unique opportunity!

If you're a Groupon member you probably know, a certain number of people must sign up for the deal to run so please help me make it happen! And also, the more referrals you bring in the better deal you get. And don't forget to tell all your friends about it

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Happy (Belated) Canadian Thanksgiving!!!

I've been up to my neck (in a good way!!!) celebrating Thanksgiving and although my greetings to you, my dear readers comes in late, I hope this post will be inspiring for those of you down to the south of the border so when your Thanksgiving rolls around you'll have more than sufficient ideas, inspirations and recipes for your celebration. Mainly, I want to get you excited about vegetarian recipes, because almost all across North America, this holiday is so strongly associated with eating a stuffed turkey. I've been vegetarian since birth (and only recently succumbed to eating creatures of the sea, as I feel my body needs just a little of extra boost of vitamin D to compensate for the year-around shortage of sunlight in Vancouver).

For a few years now, I had a fantasy of convincing some friends to celebrate Thanksgiving with me without the turkey (the vegetables "side dishes" are more than filling anyway, don't you think?).

Instead of stuffing a turkey, I cooked what I do best: Turkish-style stuffed vegetables. There is hardly any vegetables you can't stuff, and although many Arab recipes call for ground red meat in their stuffed vegetables, I used the same stuffing used in grapevine leaves to stuff all the other vegetabls I laid hands on (all avaialable from the farmer's market this season!): cabbage rolls, stuffed zucchinis, stuffed peppers (I used poblano peppers, which are more spicy and robust in flavour, especially after roasting them in olive olil... Mmm...), stuffed Roma tomatoes and red Spanish onions. It was all heavenly!

This year my dream Thanksgiving dinner finally came true. To me this was a meaningful moment: perhaps Vancouver really this is my home, at long last. I certainly have dear friends here who are happy to play along my vegetarian menu and try something different and beautiful that symbolizes abundance and supports local agriculture.

To make the rice filling:
Basmati Rice Stuffing
3 cups brown basmati rice (soaked for an hour or overnight, and drained well)
1 large diced onion (plus any of the interior of the onions you were going ot use for stuffing but weren’t able to separate into layers)
1 Tbs olive oil
Remainders of other vegetables for stuffing (i.e.: the flesh of zucchini, eggplant, etc.), minced
1-2 large carrots, grated
2 large bundles of baby dill, finely chopped
1 large bundle of spearmint leaves, finely chopped
1-2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp allspice, ground
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup or more pine nuts, toasted (you may substituted for blanched, chopped and toasted almonds)
A handful of raisins (optional)
4-6 cups of boiling water

Sautee the onions in the olive oil. Add the minced vegetables and grated carrots. Sautee and add the rice and keep stirring for about 2 minutes. Add boiled water (4 cups at first, and the rest only if necessary – i.e. if the rice does not cook well).

For the sauce:

Red sauce for stuffed vegetable
1 large onions
1 Tbs olive oil
3-6 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs. red wine
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 celery sticks, cut lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 carrots, grated
1 Can Pureed Tomatoes
4 whole clove buds or ½ tsp ground cloves
1 cinnamon stick or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp allspice, ground
2 bay leaves, whole
½ cup parsley
½ cup fresh dill
1 Tbs. raw cane sugar (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Sautee the onion till it is golden in colour. Add the celery and the pepper and sautee till they soften a bit (about 3 minutes), and lastly – the garlic. Add the carrots and any other minced vegetables cores that you got from preparing the stuffed vegetables. Add the wine and cook for 30 seconds or so. Add the canned tomato puree and spices, sugar if desired, and bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes. Add the dill and parsley at the very end.

To prepare the vegetables:
Begin with preparing the vegetables for stuffing – and remember to reserve the parts removed from the core of each vegetable (except for the pepper seeds…) for the stuffing or the sauce.

Choose peppers with thin "skin", such as Poblano (which are very dark green peppers also spicy when fresh, and piquant and robust once baked), or Cubanelle (pale green peppers and also very thin), or even sweet banana peppers. Cut off the tops. Leave the stems on to make nice little "lids" to cover the peppers once stuffed. Bake in the oven in 375F in olive oil pyrex pan for 45-60 minutes.
Stuffing Poblano Peppers

Mini summer squashes:
Cut a circle around the top as you would with a pumpkin, and reserve to create a "lid". Scoop out some of the flesh with a melon baller. Bake in the oven in 375F in olive oil pyrex pan for 30-45 minutes.

For stuffing purposes, I prefer the dark purple eggplants rather than the Japanese eggplants (whose skin is too tough and waxy). Select small ones, which you can cut into two and scoop out the flesh with a melon baller. If you can only find large eggplants, slice into very thick slices, and remove some of the flesh to create an indentation for the stuffing. Bake in the oven in 375F in olive oil pyrex pan for 45-60 minutes.
Stuffing Zucchinis
Choose small zucchinis, which are just long enough for a potato peeler to be inserted into them to carve out the core. Arrange the zucchinis laying down in the pan when using small ones. If you can only find long zucchinis, cut into halves (or more pieces as needed) and do the same, keeping a bottom piece undamaged so it can keep the stuffing in. You can make them all have a flat bottom, and arrange them standing upright in a bread-pan. Bake in the oven in 375F in olive oil pyrex pan for 30-45 minutes.

Cut the top and hollow with a melon baller. Place in a deep pan immersed about halfway through in olive oil. Bake in the oven in 375F in olive oil pyrex pan for 30-45 minutes.
Stuffing Roma Tomatoes

Cut into halves lengthwise, and carefully separate into its layers. The very core can be used for the sauce or the stuffing. Bake in the oven in 375F in olive oil pyrex pan for 20-30 minutes.

Stuffing Onions

Cabbage Leaves:
Cabbage leaves require softening before you can roll them around the stuffing. Salt water will do the trick! Boil a large and deep pot of water with 1 Tbs sea salt. Cut around the base of a whole savoy cabbage (their leaves are easier to separate). Insert a fork into the base (aka stem) of the cabbage so it's easier to turn it around in the boiling water as you remove the leaves. Stuff them by placing a couple of tablespoon or more of the rice filling and roll around. You can either arrange in layers inside a pot, or in a pan (I like to layer mine with olive oil, the tomato sauce, than put the cabbage rolls and cover with tomato sauce). Bake covered with aluminum foil for 30-45 minutes. You may want to remove the foil at the end of the baking time for 10 minutes for getting a slightly caramelizing effect on the sauce - which is simply delicious!

Cabbage Rolls

And this is how they come out of the oven (well, that's really left overs because there was not enough light the night of the dinner party...):

Stuffed Tomatoes & Zucchinis

Served with hot tomato sauce poured on top, and some yoghurt drizzled around the plate or in small side dishes. It's the best harvest dinner I can think of - for both Sukkot and Thankskgiving.

Stuffed Peppers & Cabbage Rolls

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Thursday, October 06, 2011

Chypre Week 2011

Stephanie @ The Organ

The past few week were consumed entirely by big projects such as the week long Chypre course (September 19-23) at the studio (and a few other events and projects about which I will tell you in my next posts). I like to start my week with a nature walk, so that students have a direct connection to plants, their aroma, and the many inspirations that come from the rich and beautiful natural world and how they impact all the senses - visual, tactile, olfactory and even the sounds of nature are a strong part of my creative process and I like to pass that passion on to them. Besides, it's always been the students' favourite part of my classes - going out to nature and seeking inspiration, using the techniques they learned int he lab to find, assess, evaluate and analyze scents in real life.

We walked down Robson street towards Stanley Park, where we stumbled upon a rockrose bush, and noticed the smell of it, reminiscent of the cistus oil and labdanum absolutes we encountered in the class (it's probably a different species though, and not as fragrant as the ones growing in the Mediterranean region...).

Purple Shiso & Heliotrope @ The Rose Garden
When we arrived at the Rose Garden in Stanley Park, we were surprised by the beautiful pairing of purplse shiso and heliotrope flowers next to each other. Both are visually appealing with their purples and deep red, and have amazing smells: purple shiso smells practically like a perfume all of its own - very fragrant, floral more than herbaceous, and with a very fruity-aldehydic top notes. Heliotrope smells like piperonal (heliotropin) - which most of us associate with either marzipan or playdoh!

Purple Shiso & Heliotrope @ The Rose Garden

Purple Shiso & Heliotrope @ The Rose Garden

Then, with our noses up in the air, we proceeded to the South Creek trail in Stanley Park (which connects the Rose Garden to Beaver Lake, amidst the rain forest) - in search for the naturally-occuring sweet Chypre smell of forest undergrowth in fall... Its' a challenge to find that scent in the air, and even more so to pin point its source, but it is there, awaiting those who listen with their noses. It was an exercise in focus, refreshing our olfactory bulb, being open to new and unfamiliar smells in a rather moist and cold environment (aka: not ideal for discerning smells too readily). At some point, we had to close our eyes and go through the path to find that sweet smell of fallen fir needles, red cedar, moss, lichen and rainforest floor...

Chypre Walk @ Stanley Park

Chypre Bird
Our first session in the lab was dedicated to trying to make Oyselets d e Chypre. I searched in vein for an authentic formula or recipe, so I thought I'll use the opportunity to teach my students how to try to make their own experiments based on the recipe I had for incense cones, but using a different gum to bind them (Gum Arabic, rather than the very costly Makko powder - as we had no intention of using these for incense burning, but rather as sculpted potpourri).
We all ended up with sticky hands, fragrant with sage, cassia and labdanum... And with results that were even stickier and had to be left alone to dry for at least a week. Once the water evaporated, these ended up smelling very Chypre-like, in a most authentic meaning of the word - smelling of labdanum and Mediterranean herbs. Warm and lovely.

Libby @ the organ
In the next lab session was dedicated to creating a chypre accord solid perfume. And in the last two days we created chypres in alcohol base, first from a given formula, and than manipulating it into different sub categories from the Chypre families inspired by the forest walk (i.e.: a coniferous chypre or green chypre) or by classic perfumes that the students analyzed in class (i.e.: a fruity chypre inspired by Femme, woody chypre like Mitsouko, etc. ).

Chypre Week Lab Session

Throughout the week, students were given lectures about the history of Chypres, learned about the many subcategories of the Chypre fragrance families with examples both from classic perfumes as well as all-natural perfumes from Ayala Moriel's line to demonstrate how this family can be represented using only natural fragrances. And every morning began with blind-scent-ID-games and studying the raw materials (olfaction and characteristics of each note and a bit of history of the plant as well as the main chemical constituents).

Perfumer's Organ

The next intensive week in Ayala Moriel's Foundation of Natural Perfumery course will take place in January 16-20, 2012, and will focus on the Fougere fragrance family. We have limited number of spaces for new students, who will be required to send in a CV with a coverletter to get accepted to the program, as well as enroll in the Perfumery Lab 101 a 2 day lab prep course prior to that week - scheduled for January 11 & 12th (9:00am-3:30pm) and January 13th (9:00am-1:00pm). To apply please email your CV and cover letter to ayala (at)

Stephanie & Stacey @ The Rose Garden

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Wednesday, October 05, 2011



The best desserts are made of three layers. And frangipane tarts definitely fit this category. I've been craving pears really badly recently (which is not a problem, really, considering that they are in season), and so I've decided to finally challenge this desserts, which is not only difficult to come by in North American pastry shops, but also seems very intimidating to master even for an enthusiastic baker like me.

I can't decide which layer I like the best - the almond cream or the fruit. For the sake of simplicity, let's begin with poaching the pears...

Poaching Pears for Frangipane Tart
To poach the pear, take 3 ripe yet firm pears, peel them and cut into halves. Scoop out the core with a melon scoop. Cook in a wine and sugar and spice syrup.
I used:
4 red (Anjou or Bartlett) pears
2 cups red wine
4 cups water
1 cup sugar (which I honestly think should have been reduced by half)
Rind and the juice of one Meyer lemon
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 whole star anise (which I think could have been reduced to only one)
- Bring the syrup to a boil and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the pears and reduce the heat. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Cool the pears while being immersed in the syrup. They can be served in any temperature in my opinion (room temperature, warm or cold), on their own, or with a dollop of whipped cream.
But if you want to turn this into a decadent and elegant pastry like pear & almond frangipane tart, proceed to making the crust... Which is reserved for the next post.
By the way - you will only need 2 pears for the tart; but it's good to have extra ones, in case a pear gets broken or mushy. Besides, the poached pears are so delicious that I guarantee you'll want to eat them on their own and 2 won't be enough!

Best served with an osmanthus oolong or a milky oolong.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Pear and Almond Frangipane Tart

Pear & Almond Frangipane Tart
Frangipane tart was in my dreams for longer than I can remember... Maybe it's the name, which reminds me of a beautifully scented tropical flower that brings fond memories of summers in Tel Aviv. But most likely, it's the seductive, velvety appearance of the dessert's middle layer, partly concealing the fruit in the most seductive of ways...

When passing by a bakery in Paris (May 2009) that had a similar apple tart in their window, I promised myself to get a slice when I return to the apartment where I was staying... By than it was closed, of course. And the next mornings, I passed by it too early in the day before it opened. So there was my chance to have a frangipane tart Parisienne... It's actually a specialty of the region of Bretton, where it is traditionally baked with apples. The variations on this theme are countless - usually almonds, but sometimes other nuts (pistachio, hazelnut...) and most commonly the fruit is from the rosacea family (apple, pear, apricot, plum, cherry...).

Fortunately, I found a great recipe with a crust that is super easy to make - Dessert First' adaptation of Dorie Greenspan's recipe. So, I got myself a tart pan with a removable bottom for the first time in my whole life. From this point, there was no return. Unlike many other frangipane tarts, you don't need to roll out the dough (which is the single most intimidating part about tarts: the dough is always full of butter, which must remain cold and not be over worked for the pastry to turn out flaky and light). It's difficult to roll cold butter (try it!) and I find it quite frustrating. Besides, you end up with a counter covered in sticky dough and flour...

The other think I love about this recipe is its efficiency in using up all the materials. The dough requires one yolk. There is nothing I like less than wasting half eggs after working so hard to separate them... So I was excited to discover that in this recipe, since the frangipane part (aka the almond cream) requires one whole egg and one egg white, the extra egg white remaining from the crust will not go to waste. Phew...

Begin by poaching the pears (previous recipe). 

The Making of Frangipane Tart
Pâte Sablée

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

9 tablespoon very cold salted butter*, cut into small pieces

1 egg yolk

Mix the flour and powdered sugar.
Cut the butter in and blend with a manual pastry blender until tiny crumbs form.
Add the egg yolk and knead as little as possible - just until it can form a ball of dough.
Press the dough into a 9" tart pan (with a removable bottom). Excess dough will be used later to patch up the crust after the 1st round of baking...
Freeze for 30 minutes or until the almond cream is ready and you're ready to bake the tart!
When you are ready, preheat the oven to 375F. Cover the tart dough tightly with a sheet of buttered aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes, until the crust becomes dry and slightly golden.
Take out of the oven, remove the buttered aluminum foil, and let cool completely before adding the frangipane cream filling...

And while the crust is chilling in the freezer or out of the oven - make the almond cream (which is the Frangipane itself!). This is actually the easiest part of the whole thing (aside from eating the tart...). By the way, it is named after the Italian marquis Frangipani, after whom the flower is named as well (the reason for that being, that the Frangipanis worn the first scented gloves of that particular combination - containing a large amount of orris, by the way... When the flower (Plumeria alba) was found, it reminded its discoverers of that same Frangipani perfume, and named the flower after it... Frangipani in Italian means "Breadbreakers". So... If you can't find bread, eat frangipane!

(Almond Cream Filling)

6 tablespoons salted butter*, at room temperature

2/3 cup raw cane sugar

100gr ground blanched almonds (which, fortunately, is the entire bag of blanched ground almonds you get in most grocery stores).

2 teaspoons flour

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 large egg

1 egg white
(remaining from making the crust!)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons pure almond extract

Blend all ingredient with a mixer. Fill the partly baked crust only after its cooled down completely to room temperature. If the crust needs any patching with more dough - now is the time to do it.
Fill with the almond cream (it should be a little on the firmer side, but still easily spreadable evenly within the tart shell. Slice the poached pears into 3/8 thick slices. Place on a flat spatula and transfer 4 halves of pear in total onto the frangipane filling. Press a little so that the slices separate nicely atop the tart.

Bake the whole tart until the almond cream filling is golden and puffy. Watch your oven closely, and listen to your nose to check the tart before your timer goes off! Mine took only 30 minutes to bake, instead of the 40-45 minutes the recipe anticipated it would take. You may want to garnish it with powdered sugar, or brush with a light coloured jam (i.e.: peach or apricot) but I find either unnecessary. This tart is sheer perfection just the way it is!

Serve the frangnipane tart in room temperature (if you don't think you'll finish it within 2-3 days, store on the fridge, but you MUST bring it back to room temperature before serving. It's also delicious while still warm and fresh from the oven, which is how I enjoyed it for the first time around 9pm on September 28th... It's not really that complicated, but it does have quite a few stages and a fair amount of waiting and cooling - and since I was doing other things that day, it took me the entire day to complete this dessert. At the end of the day, I found it to be more satisfying than other layer cakes I've baked in the past (Gianduja, Tiramisu, Black Forest Cake...). Certainly a day to remember!

* A little note about the butter: most recipes for pastries and sweets call for unsalted butter. Which is really clever, except that they always add more salt in the end... If only unsalted butter was not twice as much as the salted, I'd say go for it. But since the recipe asks for salt anyway in the end, why not save the time of measuring and save a few dollars, and opt for the salted butter... That's what I keep on hand anyway for miscellaneous butter uses.

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Interview for The Green Prophet

Here is more media that I did not upload in time, but is still as relevant as it was back in March 2011: Interview for The Green Prophet titled ‘Scentual’ Natural Perfumes That Won’t Turn You a Puckish Shade of Green.

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Brickell Magazine: Top 20 Professionals Under Forty

Ayala Moriel Parfums was chosen among 20 professionals under 40 in the Eco Biz category by Brickell Magazine.

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