Victoria: 2571 posts

Syrnyky, Ukrainian Fried Cheesecakes Recipe

Syrnyky is a dish I order anytime I see it on the menu. Traveling around Ukraine, I ate these small fried cheesecakes at canteens in Odesa, diners in Kherson or fancy restaurants in Lviv and they have always been satisfying. In Kyiv, a restaurant chain called Puzata Hata, “pot-bellied hut,” has a wonderful oven-baked version of this popular treat. Syrnyky can be a great breakfast option or a luscious dessert, depending on what toppings you choose. Whatever way they are served, this dish is the ultimate comfort food.

Syrnyky are made from a fresh cheese called syr in Ukrainian. It’s a type of farmer’s cheese, with small, fairly dry curds and a sour flavor reminiscent of yogurt. The closest substitute is any soft white cheese, like tvorog, twaróg, quark, or even well-drained cottage cheese. Since the flavor of syrnyky is dominated by cheese, with flour being used merely as a binder, pick your favorite variety.  

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Japanese Incense Class, Jasmine, Tuberose and Vintage Perfumes

The Bois de Jasmin new class schedule includes new classes on Vetiver, Balsamic Notes, Musk and Japanese Incense. We will decode these fundamental perfume materials and analyze fragrances that use them. We will also learn about Jasmine, Tuberose and Incense.

In the Art and Culture of Japanese Incense we will explore the rich history and cultural significance of Japanese incense. We will delve into the traditional art of “Kōdō” (the Way of Incense), learning about its origins, rituals, and the various types of incense used in Japanese culture. We will study the most important ingredients used in Japanese incense and their combinations. Students will receive a brochure detailing the most popular Japanese brands and their offerings, with suggestions on where to purchase different types of incense.

Those who will visit me in my Brussels studio will have a chance to smell through the iconic fragrances of the 20th century in their original compositions. This session also includes a class on Rose–we will smell legendary rose perfumes, rose materials that I have sourced from all over the world and learn to make a rose accord.

The class size is small to ensure that everyone gets attention and a chance to interact. The class is run as a lecture interspersed with guided smelling exercises. My style of teaching is personal and interactive. You will have a chance to ask questions throughout the class and there will also be an allotted time at the end for your questions on any fragrance-related topics. These classes are for students of all levels of interest in perfumery.

To register for the online courses, please go to the Online Perfume Classes page or take a look below:

Perfume Seminar Online: The Art and Culture of Japanese Incense

A seminar that delves deep into the fascinating story of Japanese incense. I will also share my favorite brands of Japanese incense and links to the online stores where they can be purchased.

Location: Online, Zoom
Date: July 14th, Sunday 12:00pm-1:30pm EST/6:00pm-7:30pm CET
Price: €55 Book Now / $60 Book Now

Perfume Fundamentals Online: Jasmine
Location: Online, Zoom
Date: June 22nd, Saturday 12:00pm-1:30pm EST/6:00pm-7:30pm CET
Price: €55 Book Now / $60 Book Now

Perfume Fundamentals Online: Tuberose
Location: Online, Zoom
Date: June 23rd, Sunday 12:00pm-1:30pm EST/6:00pm-7:30pm CET
Price: €55 Book Now / $60 Book Now

Perfume Fundamentals Online: Incense
Location: Online, Zoom
Date: June 29th, Saturday 12:00pm-1:30pm EST/6:00pm-7:30pm CET
Price: €55 Book Now / $60 Book Now

3-Class Package: Jasmine, Tuberose, Incense
Price: €155 Book Now / $168 Book Now

Perfume Fundamentals Online: Vetiver
Location: Online, Zoom
Date: July 6th, Saturday 12:00pm-1:30pm EST/6:00pm-7:30pm CET
Price: €55 Book Now / $60 Book Now only one space remains

Perfume Fundamentals Online: Balsamic Notes
Location: Online, Zoom
Date: July 10th, Wednesday 12:00pm-1:30pm EST/6:00pm-7:30pm CET
Price: €55 Book Now / $60 Book Now

Perfume Fundamentals Online: Musk
Location: Online, Zoom
Date: July 13th, Saturday, 12:00pm-1:30pm EST/6:00pm-7:30pm CET
Price: €55 Book Now / $60 Book Now

3-Class Package: Vetiver, Balsams, Musk
Price: €155 Book Now / $168 Book Now

Brussels Studio Classes

We will explore perfume materials, rare fragrances, talk about history and legendary creators who made our favorite perfumes. Together we will learn the evolution of perfume history by studying some of the most iconic examples of the perfumery art in their original formulations. You will also perform exercises to sharpen your sense of smell. Some of the workshops include creating your own perfume accord.

Perfume Workshop (Brussels Studio): Vintage Perfumes and Stories

Journey into the captivating world of rare vintage perfumes. Uncover the history and artistry behind some of the most sought-after fragrances from past eras. Participants will learn to identify and appreciate the unique characteristics of vintage scents, explore the evolution of perfume-making, and gain insights into the cultural contexts that shaped these timeless creations. Hands-on sessions will include sampling rare perfumes and understanding their complex compositions. Perfect for fragrance enthusiasts and collectors alike, this class offers a rare opportunity to experience the magic of vintage perfumery. Students will have access to my perfume collection and try iconic fragrances from Caron, Guerlain, Coty and Chanel.

Class location: Brussels
Class duration: 2.5 hours
200€/per person   (50€ to be paid as a reservation deposit, the rest is payable in person on the day of the class)

Date: June 16th, Sunday, 12-2:30pm SOLD OUT

Date: June 23rd, Sunday, 12-2:30pm Reserve Now

Date: July 7th, Sunday, 12-2:30pm Reserve Now

Perfume Workshop (Brussels Studio): Rose
We will smell natural and synthetic rose materials, vintage and modern fragrances that use rose. I will then show you how a classical rose accord is constructed. You will have a chance to create your own rose composition.

Class location: Brussels
Class duration: 2.5 hours
200€/per person   (50€ to be paid as a reservation deposit, the rest is payable in person on the day of the class)

Date: June 30th, Sunday, 12-2:30pm Reserve Now

Date: July 14th, Sunday, 12-2:30pm SOLD OUT

To request another date, please  email me.

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Coffee and Flowers

One of the most intriguing aromas, that of roasted coffee beans, can be elusive. Anyone who has swooned over the perfume of freshly ground coffee– sweet, bitter, spicy, floral, toasted, with hints of blackcurrants, chocolate or hazelnuts—knows the frustration of capturing all of those beautiful nuances in an infusion. Coffee aficionados have challenges in brewing a perfect cup, but the task of perfumers to bottle the fragrance of Arabica is not easier.  A coffee note is capricious, and while the natural essence, coffee absolute, has an addictive aroma on paper, on skin it can resemble roasted meat and damp wood.

The solution is to approach coffee notes creatively. Instead of mimicking nature, a perfumer instead might fashion a blend that hints at coffee’s pleasing bitterness and heady richness. Such is Arquiste’s Nanban. The composition uses a plush backdrop of woods to frame the smoky, spicy notes of myrrh and incense, with an accent of coffee to lend the composition a dark, delicious twist. It teases with its smoky, nutty warmth, but it keeps its presence mellow behind layers of sandalwood and leather.

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What is a Rushnyk?

‘This is a tree of life.’ Pani Olga’s fingers traced the embroidery on a rushnyk depicting a fantastical plant. From its branches sprouted opulent blossoms. ‘It means that the embroiderer dreamed of a long life and a big family.’

‘This is Beregynya, a safe keeper.’ Pani Olga drew my attention to a figure, ample of hip and bosom, holding branches laden with grapes and flowers. ‘It was embroidered by someone to protect a loved one from harm.’ The image had none of the Orthodox sobriety and harkened back to the old animistic religion of the Slavs, who worshipped the spirits of plants, animals, birds and rocks.

From The Rooster House

A simple piece of cloth can hold a wealth of meaning. Rushnyk (plural: rushnyky) is a traditional Ukrainian ritual cloth, intricately adorned with symbolic patterns and motifs. Although at its most basic, a rushnyk is a hand towel, the word evokes much more to a Ukrainian. These cloths hold significant cultural and spiritual value in Ukrainian heritage, representing a blend of art, tradition, and identity. During much of Ukraine’s history, when expressing thoughts freely had dangerous consequences, a rushnyk served as a repository of encoded messages. It could be a declaration of love, celebration of freedom or of a yearning for escape.

Reading these secret messages in the embroideries on rushnyky became my obsession during my trips to Ukraine. I had a wonderful teacher and a partner on this quest, a lady I met at our local church in Poltava. Pani Olga plays an important role in my book The Rooster House, especially because of her knowledge about rushnyky and traditional arts. Thread by thread I unraveled the family mystery and became an avid lover of rushnyky embroideries.

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One Summer Day in Our Ukrainian Village

Russian rockets struck our village the other day. It was a beautiful early summer day in June and people were outside working in their gardens. Our village in the Poltava region of central Ukraine has been unscathed so far. The rocket sounded like an airplane, and by the time everyone released what it really was, it was too late. The sound deepened, shrill and terrifying. Then came the blast.

The house that we always called “the house beyond the river” was hit and our neighbor who lived there was killed. She didn’t have time to escape before the roof collapsed on her. Her family was weeding the garden, while she was cooking. She was in her forties and was working as a nurse in our small clinic.

My grandmother’s house was not touched, but the windows cracked because of the force of the blast. My cousin is safe.

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