Fragrance, Food & Spring Joys : Perfume Talk


Our topic today is quite wide: feel free to talk about anything perfume or food related. What are your most anticipated seasonal foods? What fragrances bring you out of the slumber of winter? If you are celebrating Easter this weekend, what is on your menu?

As I type, I am trying not to get the almond and lemon scented batter of my Easter cakes all over the keyboard. I think that it shall be my perfume this weekend, though I already anticipate changing into Guerlain Chamade parfum later tonight.

I love spring for the scents that it brings–fresh grass, cherry and apple blossoms, magnolia, maple flowers (they smell sweet and sour, with a hint of melon) and earth after the rain. I cannot wait for the first asparagus, green peas, strawberries and ramps. I look forward to baking my grandmother’s rhubarb pastries and making my springtime lemon scented risotto with asparagus.

Image: antique Russian Easter postcard.



  • RH: For a while I really wanted to thank you for posting a Lagman recipe on your blog! It is one of the food from my childhood, and you would not know how happy and nostalgic it made me as its smell wafted through my kitchen. I did alter it to a vegetarian version, but it was still delicious. I loved your other recipes too- please post more of them!

    Spring to me is an olfactory mixture of washed linens, blinis, grass, dust, dandelions, and braided sweet breads with washes of eggs over them. Another version of spring would be a bagful of colorful produces and my very excited self enamored with salads and fruit soups for the next few days… April 23, 2011 at 5:55am Reply

  • Ann C: Spring has finally arrived in Maine. It will be a few weeks before the trees leaf out, but at least I can now see the buds forming and the first flowers beginning to bloom.

    My favorites scents of spring are similar to yours. My husband and I started our yard work, and the smell of damp, warming soil and old leaves is lovely and deep. Freshly mowed grass is another favorite smell from spring, and I can’t wait for my lilac bushes to bloom.

    I also can’t wait for the first strawberries of spring. Some grow wild on my lawn (which is not manicured into golf course perfection, lol) and the birds and my dog love them. Strawberry shortcake is one of my favorite spring desserts.

    Happy Easter! April 23, 2011 at 6:26am Reply

  • Pklagrange: I’m looking out the window to my backyard and all I can see are dogwood blossoms. I’m smelling JM’s Sakura Cherry Blossom that I just applied. Sublime. April 23, 2011 at 8:41am Reply

  • Suzanna: Spring here is dominated by first wisteria, then jasmine and orange blossom. I was surprised to learn that wisteria smells like a cross between lilac and jasmine, with a deep musky undertone. There is a moment when St. Augustine is a cloud of jasmine, which mixes for a brief moment with salty marine tang before disappearing under a mantle of stale humidity.

    Food-wise, I am looking for golden raspberries. They are no longer strictly a summer item. These will be turned into a glaze (with some berries left whole) for a ricotta cheesecake made in a skillet on top of the stove. April 23, 2011 at 8:45am Reply

  • bellydancer: Spring foods include fiddleheads for me– but Texas is in late Spring now, headed into early Summer. Fiddleheads are imported to our local gourmet grocery store. I’d love to try ramps one day. April 23, 2011 at 9:28am Reply

  • karin: Hi Ann! I’m in Maine, too. SoPo. Would suggest a Maine sniffage get-together at some point, but we all know there’s nothing in Maine. 😉 If you ever want to make the trek to Boston, though, I’m in! Or we could meet over at 2-Note in Portland. I’ve never been in there and have been curious about it forever! Happy Easter! (Now back to the regularly scheduled posts…thanks, V, for letting me hijack the thread for a moment – ha ha). April 23, 2011 at 10:29am Reply

  • Irina: Spring for me means no more warming food, like casseroles or clam chowder. As soon as I can turn heating off, I start to love cold breakfast – tomato salad, yogurt, or kasha, and my eggs mostly comes not with ham, but with rye bread or tomatoes.
    The same change happens with fragrances – I start to use more green and floral, because I need their cooling effect. No more warm powdery m=notes, no more sweet nocturnal smells like gardenias. April 23, 2011 at 9:25am Reply

  • karin: Ha! Good luck with that! 🙂 April 23, 2011 at 1:55pm Reply

  • karin: As to a wonderfully fun spring scent that’s bringing me out of this year’s winter (which seems to be hanging on up here) – Hilde Soliani’s Il Tuo Tulipano. Love it! April 23, 2011 at 1:56pm Reply

  • Skilletlicker: Spring arrives with blossoming ornamentals and jasmine. Food-wise, spring puts me in the mood for salmon, rubbed with spices, and grilled on a cedar plank – I also grill asparagus and organic spring onions, seasoned w/ sea salt and lemon. My friend’s plum tree starts fruiting in late may/early June and I make plum clafoutis for weeks. April 23, 2011 at 2:02pm Reply

  • Ann C: Hi Karin! Sounds like fun. You’re right, we have limited choices in B&M perfume shops in Maine. I remember a few years ago there was an interesting shop in Freeport, but I don’t think it’s there anymore. I was excited when we finally got an Ulta in my area! Thank goodness for the internet. April 23, 2011 at 4:00pm Reply

  • Victoria: Hijack anytime! 🙂 That’s what these threads are for.

    I am trying to figure out how to dye Easter eggs with turmeric. This year I am so poorly organized that I have no other dyes on hand at the moment. Let’s see if it works. So far, turmeric has dyed everything, my hands included, but not the eggs! April 23, 2011 at 12:09pm Reply

  • Victoria: I am so glad that that you liked it. It certainly lends itself to all sorts of adaptations and experiments.
    I will certainly post more recipes. I have not been cooking anything complex over the Lent period, but once it is over, I will get back into the swing of things. April 23, 2011 at 5:38pm Reply

  • Victoria: Spring in New England is just as gorgeous as the fall. I fell in love with it my very first year.

    In NJ/NY area, lilac is not that common for some reason. I miss it very much. My grandmother’s house is completely concealed by tall lilac bushes, and when it is blooming, the whole thing looks like a wave of lilac foam. April 23, 2011 at 5:40pm Reply

  • Victoria: I have to say that it was a big fiasco, so I had to make a trip to the grocery store for some dye. However, my nails are now tinted a lovely yellow shade thanks to turmeric! April 23, 2011 at 5:41pm Reply

  • Victoria: I smelled Sakura Cherry Blossom and I really enjoyed it. I usually assume that all Cherry Blossom fragrances, from BBW to Guerlain, are pretty much the same, but this one was different and very lovely. April 23, 2011 at 5:42pm Reply

  • Victoria: I find the same thing–wisteria has a strong sugared almond note that links it to lilac in my mind. I also love black locust trees when they bloom. Their melange of coconut, orange blossom and jasmine is simply ravishing. April 23, 2011 at 5:43pm Reply

  • Victoria: I have a friend who researches traditional Russian foods (trying to separate the authentic Russian cuisine from both the Soviet cafeteria and the French influences,) and he shared a very interesting summer breakfast dish with me: kefir mixed roasted and ground buckwheat. Sounds bizarre, but it tastes remarkably good and refreshing on a hot summer morning. A drizzle of honey also helps. April 23, 2011 at 5:45pm Reply

  • Victoria: I have not tried ramps until a couple of years ago, but now I completely understand the love for them in the US. Such a bright, clear flavor!
    Fiddleheads was also a recent discovery for me, and again, another one that I always look forward to in the spring. April 23, 2011 at 5:46pm Reply

  • Victoria: I have not tried Il Tuo Tulipano, but I’ve read the descriptions online, and it sounds wonderful.
    Yes, the winter just does not want to leave. At least, right now it is sunny for a change. April 23, 2011 at 5:47pm Reply

  • Victoria: Your menu sounds mouthwatering! I miss cooking outside with friends. Last year we really took advantage of a local park (they have grills, etc.) and spent many weekends this way. I cannot wait till it really warms up. April 23, 2011 at 5:48pm Reply

  • Musette: Ooooh! Lemon-scented risotto with asparagus! One of my spring favorites! yum!

    xoA April 23, 2011 at 9:14pm Reply

  • iodine: What a beautiful thread, I really just feel like talking and reading about that!
    After having delighted us with lilac and wisteria scents, now spring in Milan offers the gentle fragrance of robinia flowers: yesterday, walking back home through a small park I just followed the waft and discovered a huge tree full of white clusters giving the most heavenly scent (which made my girlfriend rebuke me “You know, there’s not only olfact, in life!”- there isn’t?! really?!). Then, the first jasmins have bloomed- the inner courtyard of my house is already filled with the deep, hypnotic, indolic smell… And linden blossoms are ripe, can’t wait for their scent to fill the air- which for me has always ment: school is ending!!
    Our Easter and 25 April (Italy’s liberation anniversary) menus will be composed on seasonal ingredients: lasagne with crescenza and spring vegetables (courgettes, asparagus), torta pasqualina (ricotta, spinach and eggs filling a thin pastry), meatballs with peas and fava beans, ricotta and strawberries pastry, chocolate soft heart cakes with strawberry sauce…
    The perfume I’m wearing today (it matches the cake I’ve just finished baking!) is Lorenzo Villoresi Dilmun, a gourmand orange flowers composition that succeed in satisfying my recent craving for orange blossoms fragrances.
    Happy Easter and happy spring to you and everybody! April 24, 2011 at 5:27am Reply

  • Mals86: (Funny, I made a lemon-almond cake last night! We already got into it, as my husband’s sister and her children were visiting and planning to leave today. It’s delicious.)

    Easter menu was ham, fresh rolls, scalloped potatoes, beets, and broccoli – I’d planned on asparagus, but the only asparagus I could find looked really tough. Yum.

    The lilacs are blooming, and they smell so wonderful. So are the dogwoods, redbuds, and cherry trees – all that white/purple/green is so beautiful.

    SOTD: Donna Karan Gold, a beautiful lily scent for Easter. A blessed Easter to everyone. April 24, 2011 at 2:47pm Reply

  • MJ: Gorgeous Easter Sunday in the suburbs of Chicago. Magnificent Magnolia blossoms on the tree in my front yard hung on long enough so they could grace my living room with a gorgeous scent in my teal glass vase. Don’t think I’d like to smell like Magnolia, but I would like to smell like they make me feel: serene, beautiful, alive again in their brief snowstrom of balling petals. April 24, 2011 at 8:33pm Reply

  • MJ: That’s “falling” petals. Funny slip that mu husband would love. April 24, 2011 at 8:37pm Reply

  • MJ: If he were not snoozing from all the ham, sweet potato/pecan caserole, spanakopita, cajun shrimp and rice (for the fish eaters) oreo chocolate cream layer cake, lamb cake, decorated butter cookies and three kinds of wine. Great multi-generational sit down dinner for 14. Lots of good animated politics especially from 84 year old grandmother. April 24, 2011 at 8:48pm Reply

  • Victoria: First of the season asparagus is such a treat! April 24, 2011 at 4:57pm Reply

  • Victoria: Your menu sounds amazing, and I would be glad to bear a long flight just to sample it! 🙂
    I also have been craving orange blossom fragrances lately. Today, however, I changed into Apres L’Ondee parfum, which is something I save for only very special occasions. I have so little of it. April 24, 2011 at 4:59pm Reply

  • Victoria: Donna Karan Gold is splendid! I love both the EDP and the EDT versions, which are slightly different. The EDP is more oriental, with a richer incense note.

    Another amazing Easter menu! Reading this thread is making me very hungry. 🙂 April 24, 2011 at 5:01pm Reply

  • Mapelina: I’m famished from reading all these wonderful posts about fabulous meals and recipes! I wish I could cook like this–what pleasure it must give you and your families/guests! We had tons of food at our Seder, but only the haroset was home-made. That comes in many different styles, with the Persian/Middle Eastern version having lots of dried fruits along with the nuts and wine, rather than primarily apples, as the Eastern European version has. But these foods don’t seem as “springy” as the lovely fresh fruits and especially veggies you are using, Victoria–warm fresh asparagus on toast with olive oil drizzled on it is my favorite spring appetizer!

    It’s early here (NY) for jasmine/wisteria–they seem more summery, but the heavenly scents of peonies and lilies of the valley should waft in in a week or two. Those give me a high–almost a state of euphoria! Can’t wait…although I live in the city, Riverside Park is so pretty and fragrant in May. I’ve been enjoying the Easter lilies at all the flower stands and Korean markets, and bought one for my daughter’s room. This evening I kept sniffing myself while we were watching a video in her room, wondering which fragrance smelled so delicious, and finally realized it wasn’t anything I was wearing but the Easter lily plant! My absolute best spring fragrance experience, though, was discovering orange blossoms in Israel and Seville in April–I’ve never smelled anything like it here, it was just everywhere, scenting the whole environment with that rich, sweet, engulfing, heady yet fresh and sparkling aroma! Which perfume best captures that feeling? April 25, 2011 at 4:48am Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: Spring hasn’t quite reached Los Angeles… it’s still kind of cool and windy here, but I cannot kvetch about it too much because LA’s version of chilly and windy is shorts and suntan oil weather for most other climates! It should warm up later this week, and I am looking forward to putting away the sweaters, but I am not looking forward to assessing the damage that a long winter of being covered up and fueld by pasta for comfort has done to my body composition. (Is 100% flab even possible?)

    My next door neighbor’s jasmine is blossoming and it is gorgeous in the early evenings. I think I will start wearing Lulu Guinness perfume- sweet pea, peonies, lilies- very heady and floral and consumately girly. I am apparently one of the few people who likes this scent, as it has vanished from Sephora and Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus, but I remain loyal. I met Lulu a few years ago, and I think she is brilliant.I am also a big fan of Kate Spade for the Spring, but once again, nobody seems to share that opinion. That’s cool- I don’t want to smell like everyone else!I hope everyone had a lovely Easter and is looking forward to a wonderful Spring. Thanks, Victoria for they lovely thoughts. Cheers! April 25, 2011 at 6:43pm Reply

  • Mapelina: Lynn, I’m jealous of the jasmine next door! I used to love visiting my grandparents in Florida when I was a kid, in part because of the night-blooming jasmine in the garden, and I still like visiting my former mother-in-law in Jerusalem for the same reason. I didn’t know Lulu Guinness had a perfume–I should have guessed–and I also am a big fan of her design talents, although I haven’t had the good fortune to meet her. The scent sounds lovely, and perfect for spring–I’ll see if LuckyScent has samples. Enjoy the California “cool and windy”, and don’t kvetch too much about it–it sounds great! April 25, 2011 at 7:03pm Reply

  • Victoria: Ah, I am coming to Chicago tomorrow, so I look forward to courting spring there! My mother is promising lots of magnolia and violet blossoms. April 25, 2011 at 9:15pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you for a smile. That made me chuckle too. April 25, 2011 at 9:16pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, what a gorgeous spread it must have been! I am now especially intrigued by oreo chocolate cream layer cake. 🙂 April 25, 2011 at 9:16pm Reply

  • Victoria: You know, I would love to find the same uplifting, heady and sparkling sensation in the bottle. It is such an elusive quest. Perhaps, only L’Artisan Fleur d’Oranger comes close, but even that is only an approximation. Maybe, L’Artisan’s La Chasse Aux Papillons? Or Annick Goutal Neroli? Nothing is like the real thing though.

    I love your version of haroset, and I would love a recipe, if possible. It sounds absolutely mouthwatering! April 25, 2011 at 9:18pm Reply

  • Victoria: I am with Mapelina, I am envious of your jasmines next door. What a paradise! April 25, 2011 at 9:19pm Reply

  • Victoria: Ha, me too, I went to Luckyscent right away to see if it has samples. We all inspire each other…. 🙂 April 25, 2011 at 9:19pm Reply

  • dDub: When I was in Germany the best part of Spring was the green garlic and white asparagus on every menu. As for scents, the linden trees were leaving layers yellow of pollen. I was too allergic to it smell anything :(. April 26, 2011 at 11:38am Reply

  • Victoria: I remember the same thing from my spring stay in Germany. White asparagus was on every menu, from a simple pub to a fancy restaurant. April 26, 2011 at 3:37pm Reply

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen: Thank you for this wonderful thread! It was so nice to read through all the light, happy, springtime replies 🙂

    I used a bit of information in my post about light fragrances and perfumes for summer and spring birthday gifts, and linked to you – I hope you don’t mind.

    All good things,
    Laurie April 28, 2011 at 11:27pm Reply

  • Olga Bodnar Talyn: I have been an American since I was three i still look forward to my Ukrainian Orthodox easter. I fill my house with the scent of pork,sausage roasting in the oven and unback the freshly baked Easter bread sent my by my mother April 29, 2011 at 1:03pm Reply

  • Olga Bodnar Talyn: Then the glorious melange of scents at church as I sing in the choir. lilies , carnations, incense blending with the various chords of perfumes from ladies dressed intheir esater finery. finally the scent of the night air blending with incense as we exit the church in the night in procession to have our easter baskets blessed. The true beginnig of Spring and it’s promise of hope and all things joyfull and new! April 29, 2011 at 1:09pm Reply

  • Olga Bodnar Talyn: Victoria and all, please excuse my spelling mistakes am am trying to type with injured fingers! April 29, 2011 at 1:12pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you, Laurie! I am so glad that you liked the thread. I so enjoyed the comments here. April 29, 2011 at 1:28pm Reply

  • Victoria: Hope that it will get better! Please do not worry about it!
    Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories. I immediately was taken back to the service. Ours smelled exactly the same way (plus, someone’s Coco Mademoiselle and my Chamade!) 🙂 April 29, 2011 at 1:29pm Reply

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