When Chefs Follow Their Nose

French pastry chef Pierre Hermé and Rochas in-house perfumer Jean-Michel Duriez are collaborating on a book that explores the relationship between perfume and food. Hermé is often called “The Picasso of Pastry” for his unconventional flavor combinations. He has been using fragrances such as Guerlain Shalimar and Rochas Eau Sensuelle as inspirations for his desserts. More recently, he created a “Rose and Jasmine” cake inspired by Jean Patou Joy and a “Peach, Rose and Cumin” tart suggested by Rochas Femme.

“For the edible version, Hermé began with a sweet biscuit pastry, garnished with an almond cream infused with rose petals, and fresh yellow peaches dusted with cumin-flavoured sugar for the right balance of fruit, flower and spice.” The book will be released in October 2012. Read more about the collaborations between a chef and a perfumer in Edible perfume, when chefs follow their nose.

Now I would love to taste the Femme inspired tart!



  • Lucas: Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? July 23, 2012 at 7:54am Reply

    • Victoria: It does! Peaches, cumin and rose…. Now, I’m not sure if I’m craving the cake or Femme itself. July 23, 2012 at 9:43am Reply

  • Suzanna: Knowing you, I suspect you could attempt this at home! July 23, 2012 at 8:19am Reply

    • Victoria: Attempt, yes! To have it result in something edible–that part remains to be seen. 🙂 July 23, 2012 at 9:43am Reply

  • Nicola: Maybe the lovely Herme (please forgive lack of accent) might be persuaded to create a “vintage” Femme tart – with prunes and armagnac! Though it is obvious I know.

    I failed to comment recently in relation to your current situation, settling down in a new country. I cannot offer anything more than what other people so eloquently wrote so won’t even try but just to say, I hope you feel more at ease in your new surroundings soon. You sound as if you are a sensitive and resourceful person so I’m sure you will! July 23, 2012 at 9:07am Reply

    • Victoria: Nicola, your vintage Femme idea sounds even better! Violet scented prunes, cinnamon, armagnac, rose.

      Thank you for your kind words and your encouragement. As I mentioned before, this means a lot to me. July 23, 2012 at 9:46am Reply

    • Alyssa: Seconding this idea for vintage femme! And think I will give it a try myself once prune plums are in the market… July 23, 2012 at 11:51am Reply

      • Victoria: Yes, please try it! I don’t have an oven, but I could come up with a mousse like dessert. Wouldn’t it be fun to try and exchange our ideas? July 23, 2012 at 12:13pm Reply

  • Nikki: That is a great idea! Lucky you, being so close to Paris, you may even start giving seminars once you are back in the USA. Maybe a little pastry class would be amusing for you? The ingredients are just so good in those parts of the world, thick creme, yellow butter, the finest flour, eggs with indian yellow yolks…I went to an ex-pat meeting the other day and everybody, including Americans who had lived in Europe, were dreaming about the food and especialy mentioned the quality of bread, butter and eggs…
    I would love to eat the Shalimar dessert! July 23, 2012 at 10:14am Reply

    • Victoria: The food here almost makes up for the bad weather and crazy bureaucracy. I once had a cookbook called “Everybody Eats Well in Belgium.” And these days I can see that this is certainly true. 🙂

      Shalimar inspired dessert sounds wonderful too. All of that vanilla and bergamot… July 23, 2012 at 11:06am Reply

  • Awfulknitter: Paris and Brussels are just a train ride apart- you could totally go for a day trip! If that Femme-inspired tart is any good, I bet it will be on sale soon.

    (I do love Pierre Hermé pastries! I have to go every time I’m in Paris, which is not really often enough…) July 23, 2012 at 12:04pm Reply

    • Victoria: Me too! I love his pastries too, and especially his macarons. Violette cassis is one of my favorites. Also, his licorice flavored macarons are beyond addictive.
      I think that he usually features his experimental pastries at the shop as a seasonal flavor. I will check. July 23, 2012 at 12:21pm Reply

  • Daisy: That sounds amazing and right up my alley!

    The heavenly marriage of the craft of the pâtissier and the parfumeur!

    Bookmarking and google alerting for book release . . .

    Thank you so much for posting this. I love how much I am learning from you and your blog 🙂 July 23, 2012 at 12:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: And I ended up ordering Hélène Darroze’s book based on your recommendation. Thank you. Let’s hope that it arrives. 🙂

      When I saw these news last night, I immediately thought that you might enjoy them. Can’t wait for the book myself. I have other books by Herme, and all of them are excellent. I just realized that several of his recipes are among my dessert staples: hot chocolate, caramelized banana and chocolate tart, chocolate rice pudding, apricot and ginger cake. July 23, 2012 at 12:26pm Reply

      • Daisy: Yay!!! I don’t think that you will be disappointed at all. It is a beautiful book. There should be a smaller insert (just a warning because I almost lost mine in the excitement of opening the box) with just the recipes included with the book. Mine was tucked into the backflap. Definitely useful! I would rather muck up a small insert than a big beautiful book in the kitchen! There is also a beautiful little section where Darroze talks about her family’s armagnacs. Very good book.

        Am looking forward to the release of this book too! So many ideas and so much to make and eat 🙂 July 23, 2012 at 12:34pm Reply

        • Victoria: I know! Sometimes I have so many ideas on what I would like to try that it’s hard to make a decision. 🙂

          Actually, if you have other recommendations on interesting food writing in French, I would love to learn more. July 23, 2012 at 2:51pm Reply

          • Daisy: Definitely! I actually adore Alain Passard’s books. They, like Darroze’s, are really unconventional, but unbelievably charming.

            His first cookbook was actually a children’s book, but it was so cute. About gardens and food.


            One of his most famous soups is in it: buttered corn soup topped with caramel popcorn. He uses canned corn. Can you believe it?

            As I pull together my bibliography, I’ll send along some more good one! July 23, 2012 at 7:26pm Reply

            • Victoria: Oh, thanks! I’m going to explore some of his writing.

              Your comment about canned corn reminded how I tried to replicate my grandmother’s brioche recipe. The taste simply wouldn’t come out right. When I visited her, I realized that while I’m using some fancy vanilla beans, she uses vanillin! In Ukraine, real vanilla wasn’t even available until recently to the home cooks. But do you think that it was even easy to find fake vanilla at the stores in NYC? No! You can, of course, find vanilla sugar, but it is often too weak by the time it gets sold. I finally just requested some food grade vanillin from the flavor division at work. And got the correct taste for my favorite childhood treat. 🙂 July 24, 2012 at 3:58am Reply

              • Daisy: Wow. Even at a crappy supermarket no vanillin? American supermarkets have certainly changed.

                My mom makes this amazing spaghetti sauce. Her secret? Some horrible fake mushroom spice mix sold in a paper packet for 25 cents! July 24, 2012 at 3:29pm Reply

                • Victoria: I went to a bunch of different supermarkets and then to the small corner grocery stores. I finally found some vanillin at a Greek grocery store on the 42nd Street, but when I got home I realized that it was almost scentless. It was too old.

                  I bet that your mom is a fabulous cook either way. 🙂 July 24, 2012 at 6:07pm Reply

  • Naheed: This sounds like a perfect marriage of taste and smell. I would love to eat a pastry that smells like BS Fantasy. July 23, 2012 at 12:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: Fantasy would make a terrific dessert! Imagine all of those caramelized and candied fruit notes in a cake or ice cream. It could almost be exotic in a pastry form. July 23, 2012 at 12:22pm Reply

  • Barbara: Sounds mouthwatering! V, I second Suzanna, give it a try and share it with us. 🙂 July 23, 2012 at 4:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s a deal, Barbara! It’s a peach season, after all. 🙂 July 23, 2012 at 4:46pm Reply

  • Undina: I wouldn’t mind trying some of “Fifteen to 20 little dishes, one of them a poultry casserole with straw and tangerine” created for Terre d’Hermes 🙂 July 23, 2012 at 9:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: Gosh, sign me up for that! 🙂 July 24, 2012 at 3:48am Reply

  • Cristina: I read this before but that picture keeps making me come back. I wonder why… July 24, 2012 at 8:23am Reply

    • Victoria: Because it looks so mouthwatering? 🙂 Laduree pastries really are like jewels. July 24, 2012 at 9:01am Reply

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